The story of a remarkable expedition to retrace the route taken by Ernest Shackleton as he escaped from Elephant Island and crossed to South Georgia.
It was undertaken by Trevor Potts, and while it's not a
Check out Trevor's other pordcast, the first western sea kayak expedition to cross the Bering Strait.
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Whereas Mark Sundin of Expedition Kayaks in Queensland Australia is getting ready for a long drive to their big symposium this weekend in 40 degree heat. We exchanged emails before iIleft at 5am. Mark says he'd welcome rain! I mention this because the DVD will be shown at
that Symposium and Mark is doing a great job selling down under.
What's more, in Sept 2012 I updated it with long-term observations.
It looks like the perfect sea kayaker’s vehicle.
A great base for several days away from home, with no B&Bs to pay and the freedom to come and go as you please. The reality is slightly different.
Family owned, Simon Poole has been superb to deal with, and deal with him we have had to do.
Because as this tale (especially the next episode) will reveal, we have had more than our share of problems. Poor Simon, he now dreads opening e-mails from me.
Some VW side windows leak. It’s a known fault, and ours was no different. But who should fix it under warranty?
In theory, it should be able to be fixed by any VW Van Specialist under warranty. But Howco in Inverness simply did not want to know.
So I had to drive it to Edinburgh Van Centre, the company which supplied the van to Jerba and between whom there is a long standing relationship. Simple enough, but that’s a six hour return trip.
But living in the Scottish Highlands, where a trip to the nearest supermarket is 50+ miles, we quickly realised this was not an economic option.
[edit: we didn't use Nelly at all one very a cold winter and the battery went flat. There is a battery health indicator console, so it's worth monitoring this and occasionally taking the van for a spin]
However, the van comes into its own on 'sporting' occasions; when we’re heading out kayaking or road biking and need a base to work from.
Once again, it was a superb base. I thought we’d eat out, but we ended up eating in the van almost every night. [edit - amazingly this also happened when in France and Italy. Eating in the van is so convenient].
Sometimes we stayed in campsites, other times we camped wild. It was summer, so the wet kit easily dried outside before we went to bed.
As far as I can see, for two people the main advantage of the awning is that it reserves your spot on a campsite.
If you've paid for a couple of nights, but head off kayaking during the day, it's not great to discover someone has nipped into 'your' spot while you were away.
Carrying the awning take up a lot of luggage space, but it is useful in that regard. It also serves as an 'air-lock' for midges! Keep a coil burning in here and they won't get near the van.
Hinged at the rear, the raised roof has a window in the front and midge netting on the sides. With the roof down, we’ve a snug space.
With the roof up, two people can easily stand and move around, and with the netting uncovered, a cooling breeze can blow through the van.
by MikeB on 13 Nov 2009 21:24
In fact, you'll learn a lot about handling a sea kayak - and you'll learn it against the backdrop of realalistic, real-life conditions where you get to see just what the boat does, what you (your body) is doing and what the paddle is doing (boat / body / blade).
Simon's photography and film making skills, combined with Gordon's clear and straightforward teaching style, bring a rich mix of material together in a very watchable format. I guess there were some technical challenges in getting the material used, and if it was challenging, it doesn't show - which is half the trick. Try sitting on a rock with white water crashing around you - that's noisy - yet similar scenes on the video doesn't have intrusive noise, you're still able to hear the explanations of what's happening. Nice.
That said, much will depend on your personal learning style - I was left a little frustrated that the superb visuals and excellent descriptions of what was going on were not necessarily matched by the depth of explanation, or "why" things worked or happened. For example, an excellent description of the dynamics of edging didn't include any explanation of "why" edging turns the boat, so (for me at least) an opportunity to overlay some pictorial support material illustrating the changing dynamics of the hull would have helped me in understanding.
The same is true of "why" you have to lean the boat to cope with tidal paddling - if you've come from a river background, or have sea paddled for a while, you'll hopefully know "why" that edging is important! Again, an opportunity for a technical explanation supported with static images to satisfy the theoreticians amongst us.
But I'm being picky - there is much to observe in this video, and even experienced paddlers will pick up some tips - I'd always thought that a stern rudder was a stern rudder - perhaps I used all four variants intuitively but I'd never categorised them before watching and listening to Gordon describe them.
Even the contentious "cross bow rudder" makes an appearance - well, it would, wouldn't it? - and for the first time, I began to gain a greater understanding of it's potential as a practical, everyday stroke. I'll be working on developing mine.
Gordon demonstrates fundamentals such as forward paddling in a way which sets a standard to aim to - and may well challenge some people's perceptions of just what makes a good forward paddling stroke. Not being a Level 5 Coach, I don't feel qualifed to comment on the technical aspect of such things - I do know it gave me food for thought, and challenged a few of the perceptions and learned approaches I currently use. So that's all good.
Producing a video teaching tool to teach a highly experiential and complex skill is a challenge - and a challenge I've always been highly dubious could be undertaken sucessfully. Given that it's going to be challenging to take the video out on a boat in order to mirror the skills, it's still a very good tool to use in setting some of those skills in your mental map to work on replicating them on the water.
Well worth buying - both for the skills tuition, the scenery, and some fascinating wee snippets of a coastline which is itself worth a visit.
And the singing? Well, I rather liked it.