The recent solar eclipse was certainly impressive. The sun, the moon, and the earth were perfectly lined up. But something even more unexpected came to be yesterday: Five kayakers (from the north, the south, and the west) were available on the same day (with just a little "schedule manipulation"); the weather forecast was perfect; the sea state was ideal for a late March paddle on the North Sea, into caves and through arches; AND...it was Joan's birthday.
When we met up with Ian, Mike, and Douglas at the Auchmithie launch, we all knew we were in for a good day. We had no idea, however, just how good, and how varied it was going to be.
First order of business, of course...
|Carrying Ian's boat to the water.|
The second matter...
|Douglas and Mike work their magic and field repair a troublesome skeg.|
|"Come on guys, surely there is some way I can help?"|
|"Hey guys, just FYI, Joan's usually right."|
In no time at all, the repairs were completed, camera sorted, and it was down to the serious matter of paddling - the magnificent cliffs, caves, arches, rock gardens, and beaches of the North Sea!
|Paddling to a backdrop of layers of ancient sandstone|
and the dark mouths of caves.
There's a LOT of "geology" to admire on the way.
|You have to pause to take it all in.|
|Mike, Douglas, and Ian turn the corner to the first cave.|
|Mike and Douglas, deep inside an ancient "cathedral".|
It is incredibly humbling being "inside" our dynamic earth. Walkers on the trail above probably have no idea that 200 feet below them, sea kayaks are penetrating the innermost regions of the ancient cliffs.
|Ian and Mike.|
We paddled from this cavern to the cave and passageway that leads to the Gaylet Pot, the "crater" well inland in a farmer's field.
Benign at first, the sea state inside changed when a series of larger swell rolled silently into the cave. It was an excellent lesson on how complete care must be taken...and nothing assumed. Ian demonstrated the proper technique for cautious exploration in this unforgiving environment. It certainly raised my heart rate.
Heading back north, a stunningly beautiful coast awaited...and many more unforgettable moments.
|Ian and Mike...in formation.|