Freesteel Blog » First weekend back home from America

First weekend back home from America

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 at 10:30 am Written by:

There’s a handy canoe club down at the docks about a quarter of a mile from home, which we have never yet joined. Becka booked us into an introduction to canoeing course there to get us started — somehow able to convince herself that even after 10 years of kayak diving she’s a beginner. The instructors made the fatal mistake of not asking anyone how much they already know, so after a long lecture about which end of the paddle was which it was too late to break it to them, and we had to play along. One of the tangible disadvantages is that beginner canoeists don’t get spraydecks.

Becka selected the sea kayak from the rack, because that’s what she is most familiar with. I selected the smallest fun boat I could fit into, because that’s what I am most unfamiliar with. It didn’t take her long to realize that I had got it right, and we swapped over. We should be ready for a white water river trip at this rate.

Whenever the students were asked to raft up for a lecture about a new stroke, the wind blew us into the wall facing away from the instructor and they kept trying to tow us around. At the end of the session we were discouraged (“you don’t have to do it, I wouldn’t do it myself”) from doing one of those nasty capsizing drills required for the introductory certificate. So Becka and I capsized for the piece of paper (we were wearing our wetsuits), and two others without wetsuits also swam. Then we went home, had tea and cake, dug for a few hours in the allotment, and visited Francis’s housewarming party.

Sunday was taken up by a North Wales Cave Rescue Organization practice. This was in Cabin Mine. It rained buckets. Although we were there at 9:30am, it took till 2pm before the victim was ready to be put into the stretcher and hauled. I sat with the underground hayphone some distance back from the front, phoning to the surface every 10 minutes to report that nothing was happening so far as I could tell. I should have brought a magazine.

The rescue got only halfway back to the entrance before time ran out and everyone packed up and waited to form one big crowd before all at once trooping to the entrance where there was a predictable 2 hour long traffic jam to get people up the entrance pitch without even a spare rigged rope to speed things up. (That would be a good idea at the major bottleneck, wouldn’t it?)

Not too impressed with the (aptly named) deads stacked up above the passage on rotting timbers. I think I’ll avoid this place in future.

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