I spent last weekend on the Isle Of Wight. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid and didn’t really get to see much of the place this time around. Instead, I was on a BCU 3 Star Sea Kayaking course.
Let me tell you a story…
When I was 17, I went kayaking for the first time. In the bay off Plymouth, the instructor had a group of us rafting up and running along the tops of each others boats. We played kayak volleyball and then did rescue drills. The idea was that you’d turn upside down, bang and rub the sides of the boat until someone came in close to allow you to pull yourself upright. If that didn’t happen, you’d drop out of the boat and wait to be rescued.
I turned over, banged the boat, then rubbed the boat…
…and woke up on the beach with someone pumping water out of me.
After that, I didn’t get back in to a kayak for 23 years.
Since I did, I have kayaked across Scotland, I’ve had a real scare in the lakes and remote kayaking microadventures. In that time, I’ve never turned over. At the back of my mind has been that fear that if I did, there wasn’t a PT instructor on hand that could perform CPR.
So when I enrolled onto a 3* sea kayaking course, as I pressed the send button, my heart-rate was already quickened by the prospect of knowing that at some point on the course, I would have to turn the boat over and get out…
After a day of gentle, but fantastically instructional paddling on Saturday, the time had come. It was time for the rescue drills. Despite being in a P&H Cetus, a boat with a much smaller cockpit than my own, I was keen to finally get this monkey off my back.
As I was about to go, over the sound of my heart pounding in my chest, I heard Steve say “just roll over and you’ll fall out”. While it wasn’t quite that straight forward, it was far simpler than I expected. When given the chance to do it again, I volunteered straight away.