Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Rescue Practice

We were out tonight for some rolling and rescue practice.  Wind was a 'realistic' F5 against the incoming tide.  Being responsible, we let the coastguard know of our plans, as it was most definitely going to be a wet session with people in the water.  Good thing we done so, as  a concerned member of the public called in to report kayakers in difficulty.  So a potential emergency averted.  But many thanks to the member of the public for their concern, and to the Coastguard for maintaining a watchful eye, but not jumping the gun. 

Not the Forth, but taken after a similar session ....

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Seal Injuries - Part Three

Anyone that reads this blog ( who are you ? ) may remember this entry about injuries to seals in the Firth of Forth.  This was subsequently followed up with this second entry

Researchers have now concluded that the source of the injuries is propellor blades from ships. The report below is from the BBC News site ...

Boats caused 'corkscrew' seal deaths, say researchers The team's initial findings have ruled out sharks being responsible for the seals' injuries Scientists probing a mysterious spate of fatal "corkscrew" injuries to seals in the UK believe boats were to blame.

Experts at the University of St Andrews have ruled out claims that sharks were responsible for spiral-shaped cuts found on about 50 seals washed up along the UK's coast in August.  They said the injuries were most likely caused by the ducted propeller systems on ships operating in shallow waters.  Many of the seals were found in the Tay and Forth estuaries and north Norfolk.

Researchers at St Andrews' Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) worked with the RSPCA and the Scottish Agricultural College to try to establish the cause of their deaths.  Their initial findings have eliminated most possibilities - including the effects of fisheries, deliberate mutilation, the effects of illegal traps and attacks by killer whales or sharks.  The team studied more than 30 carcasses of grey and harbour seals washed up with a single, smooth-edged cut starting at the head and spiralling around the body.

The researcher leading the investigation, Dr David Thompson, said: "Investigations have revealed a number of features that show the injuries are entirely consistent with the animals being sucked through large ducted propellers."  He said the team used scaled simulations with models to establish how the spiral injuries could be created.  They also examined the injuries and concluded that the lacerations were made by the seals rotating against a smooth-edged blade while at the same time being dragged past the blade by a powerful force.

"Most diagnostic of all has been the imprint on some animals of the serrated 'rope cutter' that is present on most of these types of ducted propellers to stop ropes getting entangled in the propellers," he added.

However, the team said it had yet to understand why the seals would place themselves at risk of being sucked into these propellers in the first place.  Dr Thompson said: "There has been a lot of confusion as a result of a television documentary screened recently that claimed to show that Greenland sharks were responsible for similar types of injuries to seals in Canada.  "We are certain that this is not the cause of the injuries here and are also of a view that many of the cases from Canada are unlikely to be caused by sharks."  Professor Ian Boyd, director of SMRU and the Scottish Oceans Institute, said he hoped the current cases were isolated, "reflecting very specific circumstances that, once understood, can be avoided in future through simple changes to the operational procedures of the vessels involved".


Monday, 25 October 2010


After the Grey Dogs, the 'Corry' beckoned.  Against all sage advice, we were doing on Springs, East to West,  on the flood.    Would we survive.  Demons danced in our heads.  Perhaps we should leave it.  We decided to 'go for a look', which any outdoor person will tell you really means going to do it ....  So what was it like .....

As we approached ....

We then turned the corner, expecting the worst .....

So, feeling 'cheated', we'll have to return another day ....  A good 21Nm paddle from Cuan though.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Grey Dogs

Were more of a whimper than a growl ....

Perhaps I should invest in Photoshop   :-)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Rollercoaster ...

A few weeks ago five of us set off to paddle from Anstruther to St.Andrews.  There was a good southerly 2/3 metre swell running, backed up by a fairly solid F4+ wind.  After a degree of the "will we / won't we" type of debate, we decided to "go for a look".  People that engage in such pursuits will know that to " go for a look" is synonymous with deciding to do it.

Once outside the harbour wall, and once we paddled out beyond the clapotis, heading east with a quartering sea wasn't too bad.  It was a relaxed paddle, but it wasn't all white knuckle stuff either.  You just had to concentrate a bit and watch the waves.

Finding a spot for lunch took a few attempts.  The swell translated into dumping surf of the bone breaking variety, and we were fortunate to find possibly the only reasonable spot on the coast to land.  Chocolate cake was the order of the day.

Landing at St.Andrews was met with a degree of trepidation, but we managed in between the wavesets.  Filled with a new sense of confidence, we then tried to "play" in the waves, and got suitably trashed in the process. 

A good 30Km ....