Monday, October 16, 2006

Paddle, peel and warming things.

1. Learning the ways of kyaking. When I first start, I turn round in circles. But our instructors explain the secret ways and quite soon I am darting around in a straight line, turning when I want to turn and not bumping into the others. I really liked the way he corrected a bad paddling technique. 'You're moving your hands with each stroke, which is good because it gives you more leverage, but it's better to keep them still so you've got a grip on your paddle.' I enjoyed the manoeuvrability -- it was great being able to get into the water so easily; and to paddle into a sea cave or right up against the cliffs. Kim reports that it's a wonderful way to get close to wildlife, because they don't hear you coming. 'I've made friends with moorhens.'

2. The gear you wear for outdoor pursuits -- specially if it's borrowed -- can be smelly and uncomfortable. One of life's great pleasures is taking it off.

3. Hot chocolate after a couple of hours on the water. And back at the lodge, a lunch of warming soup full of potatoes and lentils and vegetables with doorsteps of bread and butter.