Saturday, 1 September 2007

Day One Hundred and Sixteen...

Today I was awoken by the sound of my shower radio detaching itself from the wall int he bathroom and smashing into a million tiny pieces in the bath. Not the greatest start to the day. I got up to investigate and went back to bed for a couple of hours kip before getting ready for the trip to Brighton.

I had most of my gear ready and all we had to do was load the kayak on the car and go. On the way we had to pick up a work friend of the missus. She said we'd get along since we shared a lot of the same interests and she was right. He's been interested in getting a kayak for a while, and I think I've pushed him over the edge.

On arrival in Brighton we parked near the marina where the boat trip sailed from and I got the kayak ready. This time I took my camera and handed it, and my longest lens to the missus to take one or two photos for this post. I also, for the first time, took my fishing rod. My previous trips were just getting to know the 'yak and I wasn't brave enough to risk taking a rod.

To be honest, when I saw the seas, I wondered if I was being wise. It was far choppier than I'd been out in before and the swell on the shore was significant. This didn't look easy. However, I'd come this far and I wasn't scared of getting wet.

So, after checking everything twice I decided to launch. The first attempt wasn't a success and I ended upside down in the sea. The second attempt was a lot better and I paddled as fast as I could out of the surf zone.

The waves were quite big, and some crashed over the boat. You can see it covered below. You can also see my rod attached to the side and my carry wheels in the back.

Then I was away and in clear water.

The more observant of you will notice I'm wearing socks. I forgot to bring the trainers I'd been using in the kayak. This would prove to be a right pain later.

Here's a shot of me looking back at the camera. I'm sure this is the first picture of me on here. According to the scales I am just over 17.5 stones.

I paddled for a solid twenty minutes and then got the rod ready. There was a much higher swell than I was used to, and I was quite nervous as I started my first cast. I needn't have been stressed as it proved to be quite simple to cast and keep the boat in line at the same time. There was a bit of rod and paddle juggling, but it all went fine. After a couple of casts I felt a familiar tug as I hooked a mackerel. I wound it in to the side of the boat, looked at it for a second or two and released it back to the sea.

I was delighted. Although it was only a mackerel, a fish I have caught countless hundreds of in the past, it meant such a lot to me. I would never have been out in the yak unless the last 116 days had been a success and I had lost the weight.

I few minutes, and a few fish later, one of the charter boats the missus hired for her fishing trip arrived on the scene. I paddled over to say hi and promptly caught a load more fish. About fifteen minutes later the second boat arrived to the same spot, this one carrying the missus. I paddled to within 30 yards or so and said hi. After an hour or so of good fishing and around 30 or so mackerel released I decided to paddle back to shore.

At this point I realised that I was quite far from the shore, and had drifted to around a mile west of my starting point. I had to paddle against the receding tide on the return. It wasn't too arduous a task, but it took a good half hour. Also the tide kept turning the kayak in odd directions, so I found I had to correct my course the whole time. It was a great learning experience.

As I came in to land I aimed straight for beach and at the last moment hopped out. Then a large wave lifted the boat past me and hammered it onto the stones. The tide then tried to take it away from me but I had a firm grip. I then tried to tow the boat up the steep stones in my sock clad feet. It really hurt and I wish I hadn't forgotten my old trainers.

As soon as I had the kayak safely up the beach I got out my wet clothes and got dry and dressed. About 20 minutes later the boat trips arrived back with their mackeral and BBQs. I gutted around 80 or so fish whilst someone else cooked them. I love mackerel, especially when it's fresh, but I didn't feel like I was missing anything by not having any. I'd had my lemon bar whilst waiting for them and felt great.

Around half past six it got a bit chilly so we packed up all our rubbish, loaded the car and drove back to London. Tomorrow I'll have to clean the 'yak and the car, as well as my fishing gear, but it will be worth it.

Today was magical.

1 comment:

Lesley said...

What a trip! It sounds really daunting - I've been thinking about kayaking for a while but think, if I do have a go, I'll start slow and do courses on nice quiet lakes etc The sea looked a bit, erm... challenging shall we say.

BTW, nice to finally "meet" you!! The pictures are great - really evocative. Glad you had a good day and glad you're seeing the effects of LL and massive doses of willpower in action. Great isn't it?

Lesley x