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21 September 2005

In at the deep end

I skipped my regular river paddle yesterday to do some coaching on Shadwell Basin. As it was my first time I anticipated tagging along with an experienced coach and offering a bit of support.

I ended up on my own with a group of novices who were trying to master the art of paddling in a straight line. It is a long time since I had to think about how to do that and I struggled to figure out how to help them but by running through a few simple drills and taking a couple of minutes with each of them one to one we made progress. I am not sure how much of it was down to my coaching but it was certainly a satisfying feeling!

Then we joined up with another group and had some fun and games playing bulldogs and polo. I can see that learning some more drills, games and coaching tricks is going to be essential in the coming months as I train for my BCU Level 2 Coach qualification. I start off this weekend with the Level 2 training course and I am really looking forward to it.

(coaching hours: 2)

14 September 2005

Dark river

I paddled to Greenwich and back last night. By the time we got there it was fully dark (at least to the extent that it gets dark in London). The river seems very different at night and I enjoyed the change of scenery but no doubt the novelty will wear off once the temeprature dops.

11 September 2005

Canoe Safety Test

The BCU's Canoe Safety Test is a prerequisite for doing a training course to become a (Level 2) coach. I had some practical difficulties in getting a test organised but was very pleased with the guys at Southwater Watersports who were able to run one for me at very short notice.

Doing the course one on one meant we were able to zip through the training, much of which was quite familiar, and get on to the assessment which involved a few rescues and dealing with an 'emergency' (rescuing a kayaker with a dislocated shoulder).

Despite the familiarity of most of the material I did learn a bit more about safety equipment including the, sometimes tricky, art of using a throwline.

3 September 2005

Mud and shopping trolleys

A gentle paddle in the sunshine today from Wapping to Greenwich with a detour up Deptford Creek.

The creek is said to be only navigable a short way up and then only a couple of hours either side of high tide, of course kayaks can probably get in on anything but a spring low tide. Having done it once though I would not rush back. The tide was low and the creek was half mud, half stagnant oily water dotted with navigational hazards like shopping trolleys and abandoned bicycles poking out of the mud.

When we got back out on to the Thames the river felt positively clean by comparison!