Thursday, October 20, 2011

"I'm the Navigator....I Have The Right To Know Where I'm Going"

I love that line from an episode of From The Earth to The Moon, when Apollo 7 Commander Wally Schirra quotes Command Module Pilot Donn Eisele being the person responsible of navigating the spacecraft..... so do we when we are paddling our kayaks!

So last night Robyn and I took the Introductory Navigation and Marine Weather course presented by Ocean River Sports. It was a small class of just us three students, myself, Robyn and Trish who has been kayaking for about five years but her husband does all the navigation so she decided that she wanted to learn how to do it herself. Our instructor for the session was Gary Allen who was also one of our instructors at the Introduction to Kayaking Skills course a few weeks back. It great to see him again.

Having my pleasure craft operators license I felt that understanding basic navigation skills, weather, tides and currents in relation to being in a kayak was so important in comparison to a powered pleasure craft. I have to admit that I take the conditions that I will be in while kayaking way more seriously and I want to know when, who, why and how come before heading out. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that you are on your own in terms of staying out of the water and don't have all the fancy safety amenities that are found on many power boats. Nothing like having a little bit of nerves, anxiety or what ever you want to call it to nudge you to plan properly for the conditions you might be going out in.

Although you can't learn all the navigation and marine weather skills in one evening we found the course to be very informative. We both took away from the course a number of useful topics such as reading tide and current tables and how they relate to each other especially in a kayak. It was Robyn's first experience of really looking at a marine chart and she liked how to determine the time it would take to transit to a particular position using known distance and paddling speed.

Anyway.... the course was a good start in how to properly plan a safe paddle and the things to watch out for. The waters around Victoria are amazing but so are some of the other factors like wind, tides, currents etc. that can really mess up your day. Time now to do a little bit more research to expand our navigation skills and get out there practicing but we need kayaks first!   BIG SMILE......... guess what's arriving next week :-)

Next Up: We Are Expecting

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