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25 May 2005

Strawberries and champagne

Another leisurely paddle last night, to Temple Steps this week. On the way back we stopped off next to the Golden Hinde to celebrate Alison's birthday with a picnic of strawberries and champagne on the river bank.

18 May 2005

Greenwich cruise

MS Deutschland (click to enlarge)I enjoyed a gentle outing to Greenwich last night. The neap tide meant that it was easy paddling on relatively smooth water and the eight of us who made the trip from THCC enjoyed a beautiful clear and sunny spring evening on the river.

On our way to Greenwich we passed two tugs towing the enormous white hulk of the cruise liner, MS Deutschland, up river. It is amazing to be on the water so close to such a massive vessel and the low light reflecting off the hull made it a magnificent backdrop for our brightly coloured kayaks. It would have made a great photo had someone had a camera to hand.

11 May 2005

Sea kayaking skills course

View from Vauxhaul looking down river towards Westminster (click to enlarge)
I did a sea kayaking skills course at the weekend with Shadwell Basin through THCC.

We spent Saturday morning on the basin learning some skills and strokes specific to sea kayaking before a classroom session over lunch introducing some navigational and trip planning considerations. We then spent the afternoon getting wet and practicing rescues.

On Sunday we kitted out our boats and headed up the river from Shadwell Basin to Vauxhall, stopping to practice some backwards ferry gliding in the strong current under London Bridge. On the way back we tried some towing (hard work against the tide). We finished with an all-in rescue practice back at Wapping and then a wet exit, swimming the boats in to the steps as the high spring tide meant there was no beach to land on.

The course has made me realise that my paddling skills, learned on white water twenty years ago, need more updating than I realised and it has given me several areas to work on. On the plus, side I felt I had really got the hang of edging by the end of the weekend and was able to use this technique very effectively to make minor course adjustments without the need for corrective strokes.