14.30 to 19 h
I consider this is test. A test for my condition of my health, and a test for the new lovely “Lettmann Speedliner” kayak I have got. I may paddle around Ireland if my elbows and sore finger allows, I may not.
It is also a test for my motivation to do another trip, smaller like this or larger like…? Being the first person having just successfully paddled around South America and with this my second continent – what can top this? I am not getting younger either…
Never Start Stopping – Never Stop Starting…when I came across this saying, I guessed this is for me. Who does like to sit at home and to do the day by day’s stuff when having explored the world?
Last winter, besides giving a bunch of talks about my trip, I emphasized on completely breaking down my two Janny’s ice cream cafés in Husum I do own for thirty years now – to rebuild them from the scratch, being ready to compete for another thirty years. I invested once more a huge amount of money, and took a big risk, instead of relaxing on me thank goodness being since some years free of owing money to the bank. Crazy! I could say, I never have ever messed up my “calm” secure life so much than with this risk. Paddling around some continents was really nothing compared to this business job…
But this is done now, the first months have passed and both shops are running smoothly again, with by now seven trustworthy, faithful leading employees having the responsibility for the daily business with about 50 employees. Thanks to all of them supporting me to be “free” again for my third business! Yes, “third”, my x-mas shop also has to be rebuilt for the winter month, matching the new interior of my first café at the Market place of Husum.
But I think my shops took revenge I forced them down to raise like phoenix out of the ashes again – as I had quite some pleasure to literally tear myself walls down with a huge hammer, loading shitloads of rocks into a container.
This resulted in two very painful “golf elbows” I have never had in my life before – it is a stress on the inner elbows not really getting better since December. Additionally, I managed to get a “tennis” arm on my left forearm on carrying some other heavy crab around, which is way more common to have amongst paddlers. As I am not really a doctor’s fan and rather like to listen to my body, I went test paddling with my new Speedliner Jochen Lettmann was so nice to provide me this summer. My contract with Point 65 regularly ran out by May, as they decided to finish producing all of their layup kayak range and only stick to plastic kayaks and backpacks.
The three single-day test paddling of about 50 km each on the Baltic sea on my doorstep were feeling successfully all right, not much pain on paddling, and the days after it was slightly better, but how will it be on the long run, on some day by day’s paddling? With my good paddling technique, I do not use my elbows at all and for the golf issue, my theory is my arm muscles will rather be strengthened around to heal. For the tennis issue I feel the same, though this may not be as obvious for a paddler. Stretching, acupressure, opening my hands on every stroke – and – body rotation for every stroke like a race paddler getting the power out of your large back muscle (latissimus dorsi), no “pushing and pulling” arm paddling like most sea kayakers unfortunately still do. Actually, this is how I managed to survive healthily all my huge trips! NO try to work around a bad style with some stupid cranked paddling shaft…does a race paddler use a cranked shaft???
The booking of the ferry to Ireland was still somehow spontaneous done – now or never…I even postponed it by two days when I saw some good weather coming up next week. Ireland’s weather is, especially on the West Coast, due to very much changing by the days. Most likely, earlier of the year in May/ June is better weather, but this is not when I felt I could already go.
This time, with my elbow issues plus a painful sore right middle finger joint, I am not aiming for any records, also I feel I do not need that any more… The Irish coast is way too beautiful to miss out so many bays and coves by going too fast from headland to headland! It is naturally nicer to hug the coast, at least to a degree. There will be enough crossings to be done on the rugged West Coast!
Mick O’Meara, the current record holder with 23 days, was so nice to look after my car. The ferry arrived at eleven, and after driving out to him for about 1,5 hrs, I launched from his doorstep beach close to Tramore. Unfortunately, he was not available himself, but sent out two friends arriving just on the last second to wave me good bye and to take over my car. Thanks!
Packing my new kayak felt strange, as for years I have been living with my own comfortable “Travelling Ferrari” Freya 18 kayak. The Lettmann Speedliner is more like a real “Race Ferrari”, the cockpit is a bit shorter and the kayak is more narrow, but the whole thing is more than 20 cm longer, which goes mostly to the stern section. There is naturally also plenty of space, but the inner compartment shape is somehow different. Additionally, I do now pack for rather chilly weather resulting in an additionally fat sleeping bag, solid shoes, rain gear and more warm clothing than I was used to pack all the last years!
But as always, it did all fit! Even six 4-liter bags of water, a huge amount of fresh fruits and food for two to three weeks.
I decided against even carrying my trustworthy Kokatat Expedition dry suit, hey, this is July! But over the day, I thought it may not have been too much of a bad idea, the water is around 15 degrees, and the wind blowing chilly into my face, though sunny. I was fine with my Kokatat Tec Tour Jacket and Surfskin pants, and for additional warmth I can still put on my Ronin PFD, but at night, when I had a small shower and drying my wet legs and feet, I tried to remember how nice it was jumping out of a dry suit almost dry and clean…? Last time I paddled in my dry suit was arriving in Valparaiso/ Chile in May 2012…
It was relatively calm weather today, despite paddling against 12-15 knots wind, low waves and the sun, I could easily paddle until 9 or 10 pm having launched so late at 2.30 pm. It was really a pleasure to be back on the water on some choppy conditions I never had on the Baltic Sea! The loaded new kayak felt so different, but good, just as I am used to paddle! A lovely landscape of cliffs and rocks passed by, I could even paddle already through some “Lucky Arch” and inside many small rocky islands which I always thing is more of a pleasure than giving those areas a wide safety berth. But as usual, “if in doubt, stay out”!
I just had one issue to solve – I noticed I could not see anything of the coastline on my GPS chart! Later in the tent, I found out that this special map chip with this special GPS model showed from zoom level 5 km up the “shaded relief” version of the chart which is impossible to see in sunny weather and I unfortunately could not switch this mode off! My second, older GPS with another map chip is fine in this way, tomorrow I will have to use that one. I cannot swap chips, neither of the chips are working in the other model…strange! Things you notice only once “in action” …The waypoints I previously made were fine to aim for, but it is also nice to see the shape of the coast!
When I checked possible landings, I had the option to stop already at the friendly and somehow remote looking and therefor very lurking shallow river outflow of Stradbally Cove, or to continue 5-7 km to the more populated area of Clonea Bay or even Dungarvan Harbor. As I will have already a day off tomorrow and to camp on the beach, I decided this would be the place to go in! My body also said “stop”, as my sleep last night was not the greatest on the ferry deck. I happily surfed over the low waves of the shallow sandy river bank into the luckily at high tide flooded cove.
I was not alone though, one family with a car and a huge tent has made themselves also at home there, plus a bunch of dog walkers and another car camping couple arriving later. All good! I had just to wait for some privacy for my regular shower…