Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Mon Choisey

Wednesday 6 March 

I dont usually kayak on land, dont worry! I was just testing out my new kayak, a Nordkapp Valley, which is beautiful! A much 'snugger' fit so hopefully my edging and leaning will get better!

Patrick and I set off from Mon Choisey public beach at 4. We were on our way to Point aux Piment. The idea was to just work on perfecting techniques as well as having some fun :) I was beginning to really feel at home in a kayak got an instance adrenaline boost as we set off. 

I really enjoyed that kayak session and we were particularly lucky to be returning with the sun setting behind us. I also attempted "surfing" in the kayak but haven't quite mastered my rudder steering techniques enough to keep straight!  

Kalodyne - Mellville - Cap Mahleureux - Kalodyne

Sunday 3 March


The sea was rough, the windy was strong, there was rain on and off and all I could think was, "Oh my goodness, today is going to a challenge!" Patricks response was, "What a great training day!" He wisely told me from the beginning, that if we can cover all the hardest parts now, in training, then when it comes to the actual tour nothing is going to be too unexpected or surprising. SO... on with the training then! 

I was very lucky to be given the opportunity to use one of Benoit Pigeot's hand-crafted wooden paddles. The most beautiful light weight paddles based on the ancient designs of the Inkas. These paddles cut into the water so perfectly, like a knife into butter. Benoit, Patrick and I left from Kalodyne to Mellville where we were to meet a group who were joining us for a half day paddle. The wind and the current was against us but it wasn't worth thinking about that, one just had to keep paddling. 

Once the group was assemble and kitted up and in their Kayaks, off we went to the Red Church in Cap Malheureux. This was certainly a much easier leg of the journey as we were going with the current and the wind was behind us!

Once we got to the Red Church everyone's kayaks,paddles, lifejackets and so on were loaded into the big blue Yemaya van and everyone went home. Alas, that was not the end of my training!

After eating a Rhoti (local Mauritian street food) Patrick, Benoit and I returned to Kalodyne... against the current and the wind AGAIN. Despite the weather however, I was loving this. The adrenaline was pumping and all I wanted to do was prove my strength (both physically and in my head). The highlight, was undoubtably having a little visit from a huge turtle who just popped up right next my kayak. 

What an wonderful place Mauritius is and how lucky I am to go on this adventure! 

Ile d'Ambre

Thursday 28 February 

At 8a.m Patrick and I left from his place in Kalodyne, by kayak of course, to Ile d'Ambre. This beautiful island is a little treasure. It is a nature reserve and the forestry authority maintain it so that only indigenous vegetation grows there. No-one lives on the island but birds, butterflies and hedgehogs. 
It was a 9 km (maybe 10km) kayak to the island and on the calmest morning I had seen in a while, it was just after a full moon. It was a perfect morning and a great distance to practice my forward paddle and work on some maneuvering skills. Of course Patrick convinced me towing was an essential lesson to learn and for about 200 to 300m he got a free ride! haha! 

When we got to the main land opposite Ile d'Ambre and we meet 10 clients who'd come to join the little expedition to this fascinating island. The Yemaya  team led the way and gave a fantastic insight to the history of the island. Hemraz spoke in great detail and with such passion about how the island came to be and about each of the plants there. Xavier also shared fascinating facts about the Mangrove trees. It was a truly fantastic day and I sat in my kayaking feeling incredibly lucky to have stumbled upon this company, I could not have decided to do this tour with a better group of trainers/guides. 

Star 1, Star 2 Course

Friday 22 February 

My first training session began with a Star 1, Star 2 course. I learnt about the kayak, different terminology and most importantly distress signals! 

It was great learning all forms of paddle techniques for maneuvering and so forth. Most importantly, and really quite amusing actually, is practicing the capsizing. Any excuse to swim in this magnificent sea I think! 
Patrick is an excellent teacher and with years of experience I found him incredibly patient.

Lastly, I was challenged to "Stand-up paddle" and what fun that was, perhaps this should be incorporated into the "around the island challenge".