Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Early season paddling - very cool!

Water temperature along Dutch coast is around 8 degrees Celsius at this time of the year. Pretty cold for a swim, but no excuse for a good training session. I invited a group of seakayakers for a paddle in the Voordelta and explained that dealing with the cold-water would be the central theme. Wet sessions included.
As I told the participants about the programme - not only a wet session in the last five minutes of the paddle, but direct from the start - as they phoned me a week before the the training session, I noticed some hesitation. Not everybody was enthusiast about the idea of a swim, two kayakers resigned. Most people however found it a challenging idea. Only a few had experimented before with rolling and rescues and swimming in cold water.
The conditions were perfect: wind SW 3-4 Bft, air temp. 10 degrees Celsius, a bit clouded, but mainly dry. After a warming up at the beach, we paddled 2o minutes against the wind before we did a rolling session and eskimo-rescues (bow rescue and paddle rescue) for those who couldn't roll. After this intermezzo we paddled with a following wind 1,5 hour out at sea before we set course to the beach of Goeree. The next part was an incident management-session - the group had to deal (2 km out of the coast) with 3 seasick and potentially hypothermic kayakers that needed support and had to be brought back to land and treated against hypothermia - 2o minutes of towing, landing at the beach and building a shelter followed. After the lunch on the way back to the starting point we looked for some vivid water above the sand, did a competition with x-rescues (stopwatch- which team does the fastest recovery ?) and finished with rolling and bracing the harbour.
Respect for the commitment of this group: everybody participated in all the wet sessions - most of them dressed in neoprene - which offers adequate protection but isn't by near as comfortable as a drysuit. It is all very well for me to talk - dressed in the high tech Kokatat drysuit!

Distance paddled: 18 km.

Webalbum with more (unsorted) pictures of this trip by me, Patrick and Willem:
tkbn Voordeltatocht
Click here for the pictures of Jan R.

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