I had great intentions this weekend and frankly, failed miserably in achieving any of them. I didn’t manage to sit in my surf boat once, despite having just received a new spraydeck for it.
After communication with Mackayak from my bed on Sunday morning, it was finally agreed that we would meet at Scapa at 11. I rolled out accordingly and pulled on my many layers. I must now have more sets of thermals than most people have pairs of pants, but finally I have a set that I really like and which actually seem to fit really well. This annoys me as they happen to be North Face ones and I always like to make fun of certain people for having everything North Face….. Anyway, they are really good and really warm and really comfy. Just ideal if you’re short in the body and long in the leg like me!
When Mackayak arrived she had one question, “Why?”.
Because I want to practice outside. In my 9 layers of clothing and in cold water. 4* assessment is not done in a swimming pool! And boy was it cold! My body was fine, but my hands were numb in seconds and my face was frozen! I may have wanted to practice, but I didn’t look particularly happy about it once I had!
I’m not sure what to do about this. My gloves are knackered but I can’t find my new pair and am too skint to buy anymore. I also don’t want muckle gloves because I still need to be able to use my hands. Perhaps you can get uber thick palmless mitts? May be I could buy these and cut holes in them?
Anyway, I can put on endless layers under my drysuit but I don’t see how to make my hands and face warmer while maintaining the ability to see and to move my fingers. Answers on a postcard please!
After maybe an hour of practice, having managed to do everything I wanted to do in cold water to a reasonable standard, it was time to go home. In fact, it was time to go and eat cake. Or at least to watch someone else eat cake!
The cold water was still too cold to practice they way I wanted to, I wasn’t learning and I was involuntarily desperate to get out of the water, whatever I did. I needed a new methodology…. so I went to the pool in my drysuit.
I re-entered and rolled and had the same odd stuck on my side issue. But in the warm water I could think better about this and counteract it. So now, when I am back out in the sea, I know what I have to do. Outside, I’d clearly had too much air in my suit, but floating about letting it out wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. In the pool it was plainly obvious. I let so much air out when I was inside, I turned into a vacuum pack. It chaffed.
My right side rolling was still rubbish but improved with a bit of practice and some helpful comments from Mackayak and Hairyaker. I worked out how to get myself properly upside down for the re-enter and roll and did a few self-rescues (boring I know, but practice makes perfect [or not in my case!]). We also tried a few other things.
On reflection, perhaps I did achieve something yesterday after all…..