Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What's in a name?

Choosing a name for a kayaking trip in the first place is somewhat difficult - but we find that it matters because, in many aspects, the name is the first thing people see or hear about the trip.
For this trip, the name "Sea of Flames" came from the website of Axel Schoevers from the Netherlands, who posted a great trip report of a trip around the Faroe Islands. In our opinion, the name illustrates both the great experiences that are waiting, and the amount of respect and careful planning needed to paddle around the Faroe Islands. Thanks, Axel, for the inspiration!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dry suit testing and maintenance

This weekend, Jesper and I recieved two brand-new Kokatat Expedition drysuits for the trip, and had the first chance to try them out in the surf. The overall impression is really good, the quality and the attention to detail that went into them are amazing. One thing we discovered was the importance of greasing up the metal zippers - without some sort of lubrication, they simply get stuck which (as Jesper can probably testify) isn't ideal when you're wearing the suit and need to get it off.

Judging from this weekend's experiences, my guess is that the zippers need maintenance at least once or twice week when the suit is used on a daily basis. I went to the local diver's store and bought a stick of zipper grease, which seems to work really well. But what if you're stranded somewhere without that sort of stuff? What else works, and are there some substances to be avoided?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Difficult landings

A complete circumnavigation of the Faroe Islands is approximately 450 kilometres of paddling - not a overwhelming distance if it was to be paddled on flat, protected water. But we expect that the paddling will be anything but that. Rough seas, swell and wind is going to be on the agenda, so we'd better be prepared for it.

So, how do we go around training for the trip? Well, as the saying "train as you fight" proposes, it makes good sense to paddle in conditions similar to what we can expect to meet, and get familiar with that. The danish west coast provide the rough seas, swell and wind, but the difficult landing spots are harder to find.

On today's trip, i found one though. It is a section of the coast south of Hirtshals in Northern Jutland, Denmark. After paddling out of the large harbour, the outer part of the harbour produces massive chop and reflecting waves for around 1km, followed by a section of the coast with car-sized boulders in the midst of the surf zone.

After scanning the coastline for a few kilometres, we spotted a few places with some safe surf, and had a great time playing in the waves. And at the end of the trip, just as we approached the entry to the harbour, the ferry from Norway arrived, kicking up the waves reflecting off the harbour.

So, to wrap it up, making the most of the following weeks and months of paddling is important to get physically ready for the trip. What are the possible approaches? Probably a mixture of:
  • Paddling in "realistic" conditions (rough seas, wind, surf).
  • Paddling long distances (50+ km/day for several days).
  • Training long crossings, navigation and getting acquainted with all the gear.
  • Physical exercises "in the backyard" to gain body strength.
  • Eating properly, getting enough sleep.
Now, i'll make an attemt for the last bullet on the list. Goodnight!