A friend of mine, who wishes to stay anonymous, has recently completed his thesis on the Frankton Operation. This operation was immortalised in the film The Cockleshell Hero's and is about a commando raid by kayak that Winston Churchill believed shortened the war by six months:
Caution: This article contains some disturbing images.
While out sea kayaking today we sadly came across a dead Risso’s dolphin and so reported it to the authorities. Here in Wales we report such things to Marine Environmental Monitoring. In England and Scotland it’s the Natural History Museum and the SAC Veterinary Services. Together they are funded by DEFRA to run the UK Cetaceans Stranding Investigation Program, CSIP.
They collect information on the locations, species, size, and condition of the bodies of marine mammals to try and determine the causes of death. Their collaborated research provides insight into the diseases, health status and threats to these animals. Such a systematic and long term monitoring programme helps the investigation of trends in disease, causes of death and exposure to environmental pollutants largely inaccessible by other methods.
Therefore its important that we report any deaths or strandings of marine mammals to the authorities to help continue this important research. You don't need to be an expert to help identify a stranded animal. Some basic measurements or estimations, observations and photos can be an enormous help in identifying species. For more information on what to do check out this CSIP leaflet.
Simon Osbourne, a good friend of mine who I have had the pleasure of paddling with on a couple of expeditons is currently rowing across the Atlantic. The team consisting of Marin Medak, Stephen Bowens, Alastair Humphreys and Simon are close to reaching the half way point of this incredible challenge. You can follow their progress here: http://www.transatlantik.si/eng/
There's a new app out that looks useful for sea kayakers on Anglesey. Its only on Android at the moment but the iOS version is under development. I haven't tried it myself but here's the link and blurb:
Tidal Flow Anglesey is a new Android App that display's tidal stream information around the Anglesey coast. It will help you with trip planning and visualising the relatively complex tidal flows around the Anglesey coast.
Here's the abstract of an interesting paper on rolling. In a nut shell the study they did showed that when learning to roll it was best to practice by alternating between left and right side rolls:
Contextual interference is manipulated by changing the practice order of a number of similar motor tasks, so that the learning context of each interferes with that of the other. The effect has been found to generalize to baseball batting, badminton serving and volleyball skills. The present study examined whether this practice technique could be applied to a Pawlata roll in a kayak. The study was further motivated by the fact that many instructors in Britain currently advocate learning the Pawlata roll in one direction only to a criterion of accuracy, thereafter transferring to the opposite direction. Contextual interference literature predicts that skill retention would be better served by practising on alternate sides. Accordingly, 16 undergraduate students with no kayaking experience were randomly allocated to either a low contextual interference group, which followed U'ren's (1993) recommendations, or a high contextual interference group, which practised the skill on alternate sides. The high contextual interference group took less time to acquire the skill, and were also quicker to achieve successful performance in retention (full roll) and transfer (half roll) tests, regardless of the direction of the roll, 1 week later. The time savings in practice were not expected, as acquisition under high contextual interference was improved rather than impaired. This finding suggests that bilateral transfer was increased by randomizing practice. These results are worthy of further investigation, in that they suggest that the recommended training methods may not be optimal.
This year there are a record number of people attempting the circumnavigation of the UK. This is a great challenge and it should make for exciting following. Good luck to all the teams involved:
The guys from Tus Mobil have finished their row across the Atlantic. An absolutely incredible effort.