I feel like I should write something… it is not something I have been doing much of recently. Not because there has been nothing going on other than the book projects mentioned below, quite the contrary in fact.. it’s just that I cleverly managed to destroy my waterproof camera a few weeks ago by not locking the battery compartment and hence filling it up with sea water.. so I could have written about kayaking through giant swells off Lands End or or some dawn surf-kayaking sessions out on the Lizard.. not to mention some decent cycling days out but without pictures it would all be a little dry I think and not particularly interesting for you, my dear reader…. I have other photographs but for the time being, given I am not on the road, I have reprised my luddite tendencies and returned to shooting film (mostly) so those will have to wait a little. I will have to find the ££ to replace that camera I think or else risk missing an entire summer of memories.
For the first time in what feels like weeks I pulled my winter bike out of a lonely corner of the garage .. the fine weather finally broke with the arrival of heavy rain and galeforce winds.. but it wasn’t cold so riding in it was still fun. I do a lot of thinking while riding… mostly about riding I want to do in future. I have already decided to return to the Indian Himalayas as soon as practical.. I would like it to be this year but my friend in Kullu tells me that after an unusually wet and cold winter the snow on the Rohtang La, just up the road from Manali, is 50 feet deep at present and the authorities are not expecting it to melt back this summer.. so conditions in the area could be a little soggy for enjoyable cycling. I shall wait and see, the optimum time to go would be August into September so I have time. On the bright side some 2000 glaciers in the region that were receding have received much needed replenishment. I also have some friends in Slovenia and Croatia that I want to go and visit.. flights are not so cheap to that neck of the euro woods any more so the obvious solution would be to cycle there… this could be an opportunity to make a fixed wheel tour. It is something I have wanted to get around to doing for a while.. gear down a little, say 48×19 and avoid the bigger cols… hmm. I should just go. Now…. but there are things on my mind I feel the need to get out of the way first, I cannot help it ;-)
On a completely unrelated topic.. that carbon Greenland paddle I made last fall. At the time I only put a cheap finish on it rather than spend any more time, energy and ££ until I knew if the shape was going to work out ok and that I liked using it. It did and I do so finally I got around to refinishing it properly with a hard high-gloss clearcoat. It looks superb and matches my boat even better than before. I shall get around to making another one shortly. Invariably non-kayaking folk find it hard to believe that such a slender blade can have any purchase in the water at all.. but of course the Inuit weren’t stupid so it does.. and I can cruise just as quickly with this as with a regular euro-style blade, and arguably with less effort. Down on the quayside a couple of weeks ago there were a bunch of kids of around 13-14yrs diving into the harbour. I was preparing to launch when one of them came over with his mates to look at the kayak.. and the paddle. He told me in no uncertain terms that “you won’t be going very far with that paddle, it’s rubbish“. No respect…. trouble is you can’t give a cheeky little bugger a clip around the ear anymore…
If you do want something good to read then check out fellow kayaker and friend Jeff Allen’s blog, he & Harry Whelan are kayaking a circumnavigation of Ireland as fast as possible.They’re pinned down today by the same gale force winds that filled my ears with sand down at the beach earlier. His blog his here: http://roundireland2011.blogspot.com/and if you can spare a £ or two for the long, difficult days on the water then please sponsor him also – it is for a good cause, the link is on his blog.