Paddlers: Hugh, Geoff plus Steve W, Gavin and Sean
Weather: Dry and bright; occasional sun, wind F2. Occasional squall F4 with hail
Report: Part 1 of the day was the outdoor safety test; the conclusion of Sea Kayak Expedition Training. The first exercise involved rescue of an upturned paddler and was accomplished with some expertise in extremely cold water (<8 degrees).
The second task was a solo rescue using a paddle float, the most reliable method. Again a success, albeit after a few capsizes as the body twisted into the seat.
The third task involved getting warm, lunching and preparing and ready for the Trip
The trip out of some 8km was something of a slog for all of us. Nobody wanted to try their hand at climbing on the sugar boat and after a rather cursory visit we were off heading for Rosneath Point and Green Island.
We landed at the good beach at the Green Island signalling/degaussing station for a coffee, stretch and chance to relax in the sun.
After the 15 minute break we headed off across the bay towards the mouth of the Gareloch. On the rocky promontory were a colony of seals but in the north-east could be seen some pretty rough weather which hit us just a few minutes after departure. The wind rose to a strong F4 and the shallow nature of the bay induced a sizeable swell that Gavin and Sean were completely unfamiliar with. Unable to turn Sean was toppled into the sea and Gavin ran for the beach. Although the rescue was achieved without problem the accompanying heavy hail was less than pleasant. With Gavin relaunched, Sean’s boat pumped out and suitable head-wear found, we were off on an uneventful 4km trip back to our start place at the RNCYC.
As ever it was a good trip with the additional benefit that it taught the Beginners a great deal and showed to all of us why we carry out this safety training. As some of us had previously experienced on Loch Etive the weather can change from calm and pleasant to maelstrom in a matter of minutes.