Today was a perfect example of a Golden Day. I spent most of it at Calshot Spit with my family playing on the beach and watching the huge array of different water craft making the most of the glorious Bank Holiday weather.
In particular my daughter (age 5) expressed here first real interest in having a go in Daddy’s kayak leading to an impromtu lesson. Whilst the sea kayak and paddle were hugely oversized for her, we spent a fabulous 40 minutes or so with her paddling up and down the shore front whilst I waded along next to her. I kept the boat and my daughter between me and the shoreline and used a line clipped to the rear of the boat to help keep it running straight without her feeling that Daddy was holding the boat and doing the steering.
By the end of the session she had got to grips with the the basic idea of forward and backward paddling and turning the kayak using repeated strokes on one side of the kayak. She also picked up some of the ‘technical jargon’ and proudly told her mum all about the blade and shaft of the paddle as well as the bow and stern of the kayak. Although her strokes were obviously very timid and lacking in any sort of good technique seeing her sense of pride and enjoyment at being able to make the kayak go forward and backwards as well as the giggling that followed the kayak bouncing in very small swell from passing boats was a wonderful thing to share.
I also managed to squeeze in 45 minutes or so of rolling and self rescue practice much to the amusement of my children who found the sight of Daddy throwing himself out of his kayak and clambering back in hysterical. I spent quite a bit of time really thinking through the most effective method for my straddle re-entry, breaking the technique down into steps and seeing the effect of subtle change (hand holding a different section of the cockpit coaming, section of the stern to climb onto etc) until I had it down to a repeatably swift stepped process. I’ll outline this in detail in a future post.
In the evening, I shot back down to Calshot to head out for a sunset paddle. I headed out to the furthest channel marker by Calshot to wave to family I knew were on the 7:30 Red Funnel Ferry after a day on the Island before turning back face Calshot and try to capture a few shots of the Sunset. After a hard paced paddle down to Stansmore Point and back I finished up with some stroke practice just off my launch point.
All in all, a truly Golden Day in every sense!