|Packing the MTKTV at Base Camp.|
(Some of the "steps" from this week's paddle from Arbroath to Auchmithie, and return.)
Time out on the water becomes an "epic" journey, even if it's just a precious single day on the North Sea. Preparations begin at Base Camp, currently in the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland. Gear, always at the ready and waiting, is carried out to the Moderate Terrain Kayak Transport Vehicle (MTKTV) in the International Kayaking Expedition Association (IKEA) bags. (Yes they do, indeed, look very much like the ones they sell at a certain Swedish self-assembly furniture store.) The boats are lifted into their cradles, where they are strapped and snugged in place.
The fully fuelled MTKTV is now loaded, and the journey to the DLC begins.
ARRIVING AT "DESIGNATED LAUNCH COORDINATES" (DLC):
At the DLC parking area, a final visual confirmation of launch conditions and sea state is completed. The weather forecast is re-checked. A Go / No Go decision is established. Either way, a visit is made to the nearby Information Centre "comfort facility". The large, nutritious, and delicious 750 ml breakfast smoothies making this an absolute requirement before donning dry suits. And at 30p per person, it's a bargain. ;)
|The excitement continues to build at the DLC.|
The Agreement to Launch (AL) now confirmed, the sea kayaks must be transported to the PSI - on this day, the beach by the RNLI Lifeboat Station. Tidal conditions (outgoing) required the use of the Human-Assist Kayak Trolley (HAKT). Gear is loaded into the boats at the Designated Launch Coordinates. The boats were then affixed to the trolley by two Thule 275cm straps and rolled to the PSI.
|Packing the last of the gear in waterproof bags.|
The IOWM are critical. It is during this time that contact with land is happily relinquished, weight and balance and load distribution characteristics checked, paddling rhythm is established, and the mind emptied of anything that could possibly distract from the Sea Kayak Expedition Experience (SKEE).
|Leaving Arbroath Harbour.|
As with most self-propelled, outdoor activities, the Cathartic Effect (CE) must be given free reign over any accumulated worries and unwelcome stress.
|The benevolent sea...on this day.|
Very little time is required to transition from the Initial On-Water Moments to EM. Soon we are rock-hopping and exploring hidden and mysterious nooks and crannies along the ancient sandstone cliffs.
The Cathartic Effect is expedited by EM. It becomes a matter of Self-Designated Focus (SDF).
|Entering a geo...Dickmont's Den.|
A state of NC can be quickly established in the mind of any outdoor enthusiast who longs to affiliate with nature...something hard-wired into the human soul. Ninety-nine percent of our evolutionary history has been in close connection to the natural world and it is clear that NC enhances subjective (psychological and social) well-being.
It is in our nature to be connected...with nature. This is why chronic TV watchers, and people who have set up permanent residence on Facebook, develop what is known as Propensity to Chronic Grumpiness (PCG). (A related side effect is self-absorption.) It's nasty. They've become disconnected from one of the greatest resources for wholeness and health, physical and emotional. Nature Connectedness is a huge contributor to positive attitude.
Sea kayaking opens doors to the world outside, and an association with creatures great and small, whose habitats may be air, coastal land, and sea...and the changing intertidal zones in between.
RNUs are everywhere along our North Sea paddling route...it is possible to be alone in this marine and coastal wonderland, but never lonely. Each of the pebbles and cobbles tell their story in the sound of the "swash", as the waves rush up and down the beach.
|Preparing to enjoy "first" lunch.|
|Carved by ancient seas.|
|The story of time.|
The PPCFFT kicks in every time! Once the Moderate Terrain Kayak Transport Vehicle is re-loaded with gear and boats, it's time to check out a fruit stand and the East Scryne Farm, near Easthaven, where James Porter and his family have been farming for five generations. The PPCFFT craving was satisfied with fresh strawberries, homemade raspberry jam, two scones, and a gigantic meringue.
|Mmmmm...fresh Angus fruit, and more.|
It Doesn't Get Much Better (IDGMB). ;)