Yesterday I awoke to a beautiful blue sky and warm weather, a great day for being out on the water. A great day for our man over board training. Charlie had volunteered to “chuck” herself overboard and play victim for the day.
We started with a quick team debrief in the gig shed, going through all possible ways a man over board may occur within our gig or in the surrounding waterways. We also looked at who else on the water may need our help e.g tired windsurfers or paddle boarders. Next we looked at different possible scenarios with regards to the weather and tide. This is important for the cox to judge in order to guide the rest of the crew. For example the current of the tide could be pulling the man over board (mob) one way and the wind pushing the gig boat in the opposite direction, making it more challenging to rescue the mob. We also looked at technique and where to get the mob back into the gig. We also discussed that rower in bow would also stop rowing and stand up pointing and communicating to the mob giving all important info to the cox. It is then very important for the rest of the crew to follow the cox completely to ensure that we perform a safe rescue.
After the debrief it was off down to the water’s edge to find the water beautifully still. Since our briefing the weather had turned and the sky had become a soft shade of grey with drizzle in the air. Once we got the gig into the water we paddled away from the shore to where we could begin our mob session. We took it in turns to be rower in bow and also in positions 3 and 4 where you co-ordinate the technique together and pull out the mob. Depending on which side of the gig the mob is on depends on which oar to move and which pins are removed to create space for the rescue. I was very surprised that the technique was so easy and very little effort needed to pull the mob into the gig. It was great to witness a change of current also which made rescuing Charlie more difficult.
After the session Simon our cox explained that this would be our last row as a beginner and if we wanted to continue to row we would now have to sign up to the club. Once we are members we can then log on and book a place on an improvers row or even a social row. I am very excited to join and can’t wait to improve my rowing as well as start the social rows and enjoy a row, chips and beer.
Today I have received the best possible birthday present to date….a TANDEM SKYDIVE.
Skydiving has been on my bucket list ever since I first created my list and a dream of mine since forever. I always knew that I would do it some day, I just wasn’t sure when or how? My birthday treat was organised by my wife who got the whole family to chip in on the cost and finally make my dream a reality.
So this morning we awoke early checking the weather outside of our bedroom window, only to see a blue sky filled with a few wispy clouds. This was good skydiving weather. I know this now as today will be the 4th time that I will attempt to jump. Previously there has been mechanical faults, clouds and fog that have scuppered my jumping plans. We arrive at Perranporth airfield just before 9am. I checked in with the Cornish parachute club and I was informed that after all checks had been completed that I would be on the first jump of the day. Having already gotten as far as getting all suited up previously and unable to fly I was excited and yet cautious about getting ready to fly. As I got suited up I could feel the excitement start to build as well as feel the anticipation fill the air. My tandem instructor was a guy called Ben and he really made everyone feel at ease and really enjoy the build up to the jump. Once all suited up I went outside to my Paparazzi wife who ensured that she would capture all that she could with her Nikon camera and lens would allow. Suddenly the engine started up and the plane was ready to leave. As we all walked over the plane the excitement started to build I was officially in unchartered territory this was the furthest I had yet got to skydiving. 🙂
My first ever skydive.
Standing by the plane I was overcome with not only the power of the engines but also how small the plane looked up close. I couldn’t believe that there would be six of us flying in it including the pilot. I got in with Ben squeezing in close to the pilot followed by Jake a fellow tandem skydiver and instructor and his camera man who was only holding on to a metal bar crouching down by the open door of the plane as we began to taxi off down the run way. As we started to take off and rise higher into the sky you started to take in the most amazing views of Cornwall. You could see Perranporth, St Agnes, Falmouth, St Ives, Godrevy plus many more. It was absolutely incredible. Then before we knew it we were up above the clouds amongst the bluest sky you have ever seen. All of a sudden we had reached 10,000 feet and were ready to jump. After our straps being tightened once more and all equipment checked we were ready to jump.
I was second to jump and felt surprisingly calm. All I could feel was the excitement coursing through my veins and feeling a little nervous not knowing when exactly Ben would start the jump. Sat on the edge of the plane I was ready to jump, with my legs crossed under the plane, arms crossed over my chest and head lead back on Ben’s shoulder. For a few seconds I was dangling out of the plane only attached to Ben when suddenly we were free-falling. Falling at around 120 mph with a free fall of only 30 seconds it felt like forever. The rush of the wind as I fell through the sky was phenomenal. At first all you can see are clouds and then with no warning you are through the clouds and drinking in the most amazing views whilst still hurtling towards the ground. Then all of a sudden I’m informed to keep my head back as the parachute opens making you feel like all of a sudden you are floating and gliding your way back down to earth.
Once the parachute has opened you get to take over the controls and with Ben to help me we did a few spirals, twists and turns. As we got closer to the ground Ben released some of the pressure on my straps and it felt amazing I hadn’t realised how constricted and tight they were before. As we aimed for the drop zone we practiced me lifting my legs up high just prior to the final turn and swoop into land. On landing I felt truly exhilarated and also sad that it was all over so quickly. The guys on asking how I found the jump i responded “Fucking amazing”.
I am so incredibly lucky to have had this experience and it has only increased my adrenaline junkie side. Thank you to my wife for organising the best birthday ever! I am now definitely feeling the pressure to ensure she has a great birthday experience too.
St Michael’s Mount has been on my bucket list of places to visit for some time now. I can’t believe this is only the first time I have visited the Island. It truly is a beautiful Island and I love the fact that you can walk up to it along the causeway when the tide goes out. Owned by the national trust since 1954 it truly is a must see tourist trap and is only takes up to 5 minutes to walk to the Island from the beach. The Island itself is run by the St Aubyn family who have lived on the Island since 1650’s, and run the Mount day to day opening it to the public.
We spent our time exploring the castle and harbour before heading back into Marazion for a Philps pasty and a cold drink. We then found a place to sit with a view of course and ate our food whilst creating a time-lapse video of the Mount. Our view as above allowed us to watch everybody walking to and from the castle including when the tide started to close in. It’s incredible how quickly the tide comes back in and we saw many people having to wade back through the water.
My wife and I have made a few pacts this weekend that we will spend the next year trying to view as many National trust places as possible in Cornwall and Devon, ticking off St Michael’s Mount and Godrey today. We also have a pact to try a new beer/cider/ale each week, this week I tried Honey dew and The Honey Trap both great tasting honey ales. 🙂
The daily post – Island
Gig rowing is officially my new passion. I started a begin to row course at the Flushing/Mylor Gig club 4 weeks ago. This is a 5 week course that covers all you need to know about rowing. You learn how to row, about the boat, weather, how to cox, and the all important man over board.
Ever since I moved to Cornwall I have wanted to become more outdoorsy. I love walking, hiking and cycling though I need to do more of the above. I used to love the water as a child and I’m determined to reclaim my inner child back. Gig rowing has always been appealing but It has taken me 3 years to pluck up the courage to actually contact a club and have a go at rowing. Rowing is incredibly sociable and one hell of a workout. I love the chance to row out on the water in all weathers the views are incredible over looking Falmouth, St Mawes, Penryn and Flushing. Currently we don’t row too far but I can’t wait to join the club and start to improve my rowing technique.
It really feels incredible when the whole crew rows as one, the way the blades catch the water and then you drive the stroke with your legs and core muscles and lie back into the finish and then return forward for the recovery ready to start all over again. I’m so incredibly glad that I plucked up the courage to give it a go. It really is the best thing I’ve done since moving to Cornwall.
I have started this blog for me. To allow myself to express myself how I see fit and to push myself into trying new things.
You see 3 years ago I moved to Cornwall to be with my then girlfriend C and now wife. She is my world and I love living in Cornwall. But I have a problem, I came down knowing no one and relied heavily on C to entertain me. Although this is not solely the case anymore its still not far from the truth.
To be honest I am unhappy. I have decided that in order to gain happiness once more I need to find the real me. So this blog is about following my quest to find myself and happiness through trying new activities, meeting new people and pushing myself to conquer my own fears and disbelief.
So starting with this blog I hope that you’ll join me in my coming adventures.