A Scottish Sunday

June 11, 2006

Another Sunday free because my planned kayaking expedition in Iwate with tour group ‘Sora‘ has been canceleld due to bad weather. However the world cup has started so I need to be back for four O’Clock to watch the Argentina vs Ivory Coast game recorded from the night before.

I head to my usual concrete beach and resolve not to come back here unless the tide is in: the barnacle encrusted rocks are really sharp and are not good for either my kayak or the soles of my wet suit shoes.




My shoes are really cool I think. They are like these paddling shoes with a difference: they have that split toe Japanese thing going on and are very comfortable. The split toe used to be in the form of a sock called tabi which allowed the wearer to put on sandals and they were traditional with Kimonos but I don’t know why the Japanese have split toe shoes. But they are wicked.




While we are at let me introduce you to my pfd and paddle. Both were expensive in my opinion.


The pfd actually a white water pfd but it has a knife holder which I thought might be important.





my paddle

The paddle is a 2 piece, adjustable feather: (right / no feather / left) aluminum shaft, plastic head. Robust for rocky Matsushima and feels very light and powerful to me. Maybe just that I rented old knackered paddles before…

I also have a ton of other stuff that is too boring to show – wet suit, paddle float to aid recovery, bilge pump, bilge sponge, whistle, dry bag, first aid kit, emergency kayak repair kit (= duck tape), emergency paddle repair kit (= heavy duty zip ties), spray deck, hatch covers and extra flotation bags to back up the bulkheads.

Today I have brought my homemade fishing rod which consists of a broken rod handle, coat hanger and reel. Basically the idea is to make a rod only about 300mm (12″) long so that it is more manageable from the kayak than a full length rod. I bought some lug worms at my local lug worm store (500yen for about 30). I started fishing near the sea weeds beds where I’d seen lots of fish jumping but things weren’t going well. I didn’t have an anchor and I was drifting too much – into the beds where the line would get tangled up. I also didn’t have a rope to tie off to one of the shellfish farm beds. Darn! Next time.

So I haul in the line and decide to paddle out to one of the islands – a crossing of about 800m. In the middle of the crossing is a fairy busy traffic lane for fishing boats into Matsushima fishing harbour. There is another lane on the other side of my destination for the cruise and pleasure boats which serve tourists touring the islands. The other lane is too wide and busy for me to safely cross – I know this from my bigger boating experience – but this one should be okay.

The weather is misty and damp but visibility is okay and winds are steady 8knots from the south west.

I spot a big fishing boat coming so let it pass with my paddle down so they know I’m giving way. Not that they’d care, these fisherman would run you over rather than slow down. The wake is pretty big, when its gone I sprint the 100m across the lane then settle into a steady push into the wind for the island. Buzzing jet skis keep me on my toes and little bit of chop keeps my paddles in the water. The island is great I explore around and find a cave the back of which disappears into the dark. I regret stowing my light is in the rear hatch as I can’t go explore. Darn! I need to get more organised.

The smirr changes and it starts to drizzle so I think about heading home. (There is a joke about eskimos having 1000 words for snow and Scots having 1000 words for rain, heard that one?)

I circle the island then follow the wake of a small, slowly moving boat, trying to speed up to catch the waves when they pass. I am basically in a shallow area where few boats come but flanked on two sides by trafficed boating lanes. I get to land and cut across the low point in what looks like a wide bore pipe heading out to one of the islands.

Could this be services to the inhabited islands further out? Wouldn’t make sense as this is the far point but I hate to think what the alternatives are – sewage? ewww…

I cross the river mouth – very little current as the tide is rising – and back to the fisherman’s dock and on back to the landing point. Maybe 6km round trip. It’s two thirty and my mind is on Argentina and the Ivory Coast. Should be a good game.

Lastly here is my route.

june 11th trip




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