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 Justine's Journal

CackleTV Productions


New Zealand technology
Friday, December 28, 2007

This is a test!! Barry and I are working with for our NZ trip. We hope to be able to regularly upload our actual GPS track onto their website, and to my blog to show anyone interested the exact route we paddle and give information about our speed etc. It's quite exciting new technology and we're testing it right now. Hopefully below here will be a test track ( a route that we made up!). Please bear with us..... we need to make sure it all works! Thanks a lot to Paul at for sponsoring the trip with an Iridium satellite phone and paying for our calls so that we can bring regular updates. Thanks also to Garmin who are providing us with 2 GPS units with removable memory sticks so that we can save our tracks without overwriting them.

Click here for track

Embedded track

another test for flickr
Haida Gwaii 1

Winter Magic
Monday, December 17, 2007

On Saturday, the wind dropped and the sun came out allowing a visit to Penrhyn Mawr, my favourite tidal race! Despite the low wind, the swell and big tides made it fairly sporty! I haven't been to the Anglesey races for a couple of months and it was great to get back out there and get covered in sea spray. There was one area of the race that was best avoided as every few minutes a powerful wave would build and break vertically with ear-splitting power. Inevitably I found myself underneath this force at one point and I really thought I was in big trouble. I got away with a sore neck and shoulder, one side of my spray deck slightly dislodged and the feather on my paddle changed from the usual 60 degrees to 30 degrees!

We also went to South Stack and when the tide started ebbing the swell created some almost vertical 2 metre breaking waves. On the way home, we spotted a razor bill swimming slowly in the water. when the bird saw us, it swam straight for Barry's kayak and looked like it was trying to climb on the deck. Barry lifted him onto the kayak and the razor bill sat there for a minute or so. We tried to find some rocks that the swell wasn't breaking over too much to try to get the bird onto the rocks but everywhere was pretty rough. Eventually the razor bill jumped off the kayak and tried to clamber onto some rocks but he kept getting swept off them. We really felt for the poor little thing but there wasn't much we could do. He didn't seem to want to come back on the kayaks so we turned for Porthdafarch and left him to fend for himself.

On Sunday, Barry, Gemma and I went to Bardsey island which was a real treat in December. It was another goregous day at home and we expected an easy passage on calm seas to the island. When we reached Abardaron, a cold winter wind was howling up the beach and we could see alarming whitecaps between us and Bardsey. So much for a nice easy day! In fact the sea wasn't that big, but the wind was a pain! We didn't make it to the usual landing spots because that would have meant battling into a strong wind, and fighting the tide for an extra mile. instead, we landed at a little rocky sheltered crevice that I'd spotted on previous trips to Bardsey. It was perfect, we landed quickly, and were offered a cup of tea by the one family who live on the island in the winter! What a lovely day!

Rhosneiger surfing
Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Last weekend was another windy one which kept us away from the tidal races again :-(. On Sunday I went with Barry to Rhos Neiger beach with our seakayaks and my surf kayak. We figured it would be a good idea to get stuck into some surf in the seakayaks since we're expecting quite a bit of the frothy white stuff in New Zealand. It started off around 3-5 foot and reasonably powerful then dropped off a bit as the tide went out. It was fun, and not often scary with the weather alternating from sunny to rain that hurts. It was really good to practice in the surf although I'm still not sure what the appropriate stroke is when a wave breaks on top of you! I saw the water rearing up right behind me on one wave and turned side on to it, I raised my paddle into a high brace, but the wave broke on top of the blade and pushed it down into the water, which didn't really help me in staying upright! I somehow managed to extract the paddle and get it on top of the sea again and with a bit of a weight shift (I think I just threw all my weight into the wave) I stayed where I could breathe air. Still, I was left with the feeling that that tactic probably won't work in bigger more powerful surf in NZ! Besides just avoiding being in that nasty place where waves land on top of you, I'm not sure what I could do differently!

Thanks to Barry for being brave enough to get into the water in December to take some photos!

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