Monday, July 15, 2013

Packing for Greenland

I'm starting to get excited about heading off for Greenland at the end of the week. Its time to get currency sorted and make sure I have all my travel documents ready. I have been watching the weather forecasts carefully looking at the satellite images of the sea ice.

Over the weekend I have been selecting what kit to take with me and weighing it in a effort to keep within the weight limits for flying. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank those that have helped me with kit for this expedition. Thanks to Lance at Mitchell Blades for my new 4-piece Bombora paddle I can now fit that in my main kit bag. I also have some great new dry bags from Ortleib and an innovative case from F Stop to keep my cameras and filming equipment clean and dry. Thanks to Pete at Peak UK for my new one-piece suit which ought to help keep me clean and dry. I'll be taking the Brynje thermal base layers that I've been testing recently. If they are good enough for Norwegian special forces, the ought to be good enough for this trip. When I get there I'll be paddling the P&H Scorpio that was shipped there last year. Finally, thanks to Clif Bar UK for supplying us with a generous supply of their energy bars.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

New Thermal Base layers

A couple of months ago I was sent a couple thermal base layer tops from Brynje of Norway. I must admit that when I first saw the 'string vest' material I was a little sceptical. However, Norwegian special forces use them so Brynje must be doing something right. These garments are close fitting, extremely stretchy and feel immediately warm to wear.

I first tried the 'Classic Wool' long sleeved top whilst taking part in the Seaquest kayak orienteering event at Ravenglass. This involved 3 hours of paddling with some running on a day when the weather could only be described a hideous. I wore the 'Classic Wool' top under a lightweight paddling cag as I expected to be paddling hard. I never felt too cold or too hot. Even at the finish, when I had to wait around for a while, I was pleasantly surprised as I didn't cool off too quickly even though I was soaked to the skin.

The feel of the material is really soft and comfortable even when wet. This is the most comfortable base layer that I have ever worn. The great thing about the 'string vest' material is that it dries really quickly. It wicks moisture away from the body really effectively and is super lightweight too.

I have also tried the 'Super Thermo' long sleeved top for cooler days when the paddling would be more laid back. The 'Super Thermo' range is entirely synthetic and has even better insulating and moisture wicking properties than the 'Classic Wool' range. Where the merino wool material is almost stink proof, the super thermo is more liable to get a bit more pongy between washes.

In spite of having the mickey taken for wearing a top that looks like a black string vest, I'll definitely be taking my Brynje base layers with me on my forthcoming trip to east Greenland.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Cute Chicks

Another visit to The Skerries was too much to resist in spite of the unexpected breeze from the west. Setting out from Bull Bay, we could enjoy terrific views along Anglesey's north coast.

We stopped to play in the race off West Mouse before continuing on through the choppy seas past the Coal Rock buoy. As we drew closer to The Skerries and paddled and into calmer waters of the lagoon, the familiar cries of hundreds of Arctic terns filled the air around us.

Many of the eggs have hatched and there are now hundreds of hungry mouths to feed. Chicks tend to wander around whilst the parents are away fishing. When the parents return, it can be tricky to find their offspring.

A few of the bolder,  more enterprising youngsters will take advantage of this and persuade a 'lost' parent to feed them instead!

However, it is more usual for the family to gather on Sunday afternoon to eat dinner together. It seems hard to believe that in less than two months time, these fluffy little chicks will set off to fly thousands of miles to the shores of South America.