Sunday, September 13, 2009

BCU 3 Star Training, Day 2

After a very intense day one training I think we were all expecting another heavy day of training. Today wasn't nearly as intense but we did still go over a lot of drills. This time we were able to focus a little more on navigation as we ran into some fog that lingered into the late morning. Navigation is an interesting challenge on the water.

First, it is hard to plan a bearing and course on the fly because looking down onto a map is a really great way to wind up sea sick and sometimes even dizzy. There are devices, like the Nav-aid that are supposed to make it easier to get a bearing quickly so as to spend less time looking down. I don't have one. I think some preplanning and rafting of boats together went a long way to getting a bearing quickly and relatively accurately. Having the chart folded out to show the interested areas also helps.

Second, once we managed to plan out our route (straight line across a channel), we found that we hadn't taken the current into account. Our destination was the lower point of a small island. In order to make sure we didn't miss the island altogether, we aimed for the center of the island. This makes it easier to correctly reach our destination. The problem was we didn't account for the current in the channel, which was actually moving quite quickly and we ended up getting pushed quite badly. If the fog had been thicker, we would not have seen the island materializing in front of us. With the current in the channel, it would have been quite possible for us to be pushed right past the other end of the island. As it was, the fog was lifting as we made our way across the channel and I could see how skewed our course had become. We corrected on the fly as we could start to see where we were going.

Lunch was a much more relaxing affair, at first. We landed on a small fishing island and enjoyed a nice lunch. We did have some fun trying to land on the extra high docks. The instructor chose the slightly lower dock and I opted to go that route too. I had some trouble levering myself up off the boat to a standing position. My knees just didn't seem to have enough strength to get me up from a seated position. Once I managed to get my butt up onto my back deck I had an easier time of it. We basically got out, walked the boats to the other side then hopped back in. The lunch spot was a rocky beach and nicely enough a picnic table. We did have to determine our precise coordinates for an "emergency" call. Our coordinates right down to the decimal seconds. Luckily we had a good chart to read off of. And at least one person who knew were to find the decimal second readings.

This day seemed to focus more on paddling as a whole, we did work on some skills and some rescues but I feel like we actually went somewhere today rather then paddling in small circles. The small circles were nice yesterday and I like the fact that each day was entirely different while still covering about the same material. I'm just glad I didn't have to tow as the tows were for long distances not quick little tows. Although that is likely a great way to get in shape.

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