Monday, 5 March 2012

Cold water!

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!

IMGP0342 Insert expletives as required

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?

image  and would this keep my head any warmer? image

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.

IMGP0361 Rolling (new Rockpools in the background)

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.

IMGP0369 Scoop rescuing Hairyaker

IMGP0381 How to repair a boat with a hole in the bottom….

On reflection, perhaps I did achieve something yesterday after all…..


  1. No way you were going to scoop rescue me in that cold water...

    1. Ha ha. The tinterweb reckons it is 11 degrees at the moment, but it felt much colder than that. I don't usually scream like a girl when I get wet!

  2. I find the best way to keep for face and hands warm rolling this time of year is to make noises like EEEEEEEe ahhhhhhhhh ffuuuuuu...well you get the point.

    We are sitting about 0ish now and it is brutally cold.

    I keep an eye on the temps VIA:

    Not a bad day after all!

    1. It's very strange, I roll in the same sea in anger in my surf kayak and it's not cold, but in my sea boat it's blooming freezing!

  3. Sea boat sounds too relaxing compared to surf yak! Maybe label it storm catcher and it will be warmer!