Sunday, 12 February 2017

Training: 5 months to go...

Planning and preparing for an expedition takes time, effort and commitment. Through the winter it has been useful to use our time asking for sponsorships, planning and organising. But now spring is closing in it is time to hit the gym and get the boat on the water.

There are lots of elements to consider; strength, endurance, paddle fitness.. The list is endless, there is always something to work on. And it is hard to get expedition fit before the expedition starts but hopefully the more hours we put in now the better our bodies will adjust when we set off from Dublin.

Yesterday Vibeke and I decided to use the weekend to get some km under our belt. We are aiming to be paddling around eight hours a day on our trip so as part of our training it will be beneficial to stretch the days out.. Loads the boats and set off for the day.

As our first long distance trip of the year we decided to give Øygarden a go. 60km round trip, gentle Northerly breeze, air temperature around -2℃. Almost perfect. Starting at Vik going anti clockwise. Dress and ready to hop on the water at 8. Knowing in the back of our minds there is a rugby match to get to by 1750.

So just as I put my boat on the water I see something floating on the water.. Mmm.. took a few seconds to recognise it was my compass which I hadn’t tied on yet.. Ops what to do? Reach it with the hand.. Not quite.. Bit more and you are in the water. Just when you remembered you went for the pants and jacket option today. So yes I was flapping around in the water and I did rescue the compass. Luckily the kokatat bibs small men's are made for someone slightly taller that me. So it benefited me this time that the bibs come up to my armpits and keeping the cold water our. After we both stopped laughing we set off.
As we are paddling along I thought to myself how beautiful is this. Clear sky, sun coming up, how about a picture. So I reach for the camera and try to turn it on. Nothing.. Sometimes it helps to take the battery out of things and put it back maybe it will work. As I open the camera out pours the water. Usually I'm pretty good at fixing things in the field but this problem nothing much to do.

It is brilliant on long distance trip how such small things make you happy. Just being able to stand up, stretch your back and have a toilet break. These are all things we are looking forward to. Lunch spot ahead. We scramble up the slipway and have a stretch.. Breathe in the fresh sea air.. What is that smell. Oh yes it is a box full of rotten fish just up wind. Lovely. That made it a quick break and back on the water.

The sun in Bergen doesn't often come out but this weekend has been gorgeous. Coming around the northerly tip of Øygarden the sun is beaming in you face. Sunglasses? Yes they would have been useful. The sun being very low this time of year became quite problematic. It made it very hard to see where we were going.. Luckily I did save the compass so following a bearing became almost essential to navigate through the cluster of islands. Often sun can cause sea sickness and heat stroke but this trip we discovered sunburn. We notice when our skin is getting burnt, but it was a first for eye burns. After an hour or two paddling into the sun Vibeke had been quite affected by her eyes being exposed too much to the sun. Red eyes, painful and itchy. Always a scare when it is to do with the eyes.

So we changed our course to the nearest exit but it was still an hour before getting on land. Vibeke managed to shade her eyes from the sun and paddle in pain for a little bit longer before we could call it a day.  

Every trip we go on there is always something to take from it. This trip we definitely learnt sunglasses are a big must have in the kayak. Sun cream even if it is -2 in February. Tie your compass onto your kayak before putting it on the water and making sure everything is working before you set off.

Vebeke is making a speedy recovery and hopefully next weekend we will be ready to try again.


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