A foggy first of July

July 3, 2006

Saturday 1st July 2006

It is firmly the rainy season now. I met up with Noriyuki Hoshi, Nori, and his friend, Kazutoshi Inoue, a doctoral student of Maths from Sendai at the Onamae gulf, 10 minutes drive north of Onagawa. (Hoshi-san’s Tokyo friend wasn’t able to come so he invited ‘Kaz’ instead)

We also saw the Mr and Mrs Konno from Earth Quest who run their kayak touring business out of this village. Mrs Konno is pregnant so can’t go kayaking and they have just moved into their house, right on the beach. Felt a bit like we were invading their turf (or should that be surf?)

The weather forecast was good for kayaking – 23degrees, cloudy, 4-6knot winds from the North West – offshore. It was forecast to rain in the afternoon. Our plan was to paddle to Izushima (Not Deshima or Dashima as the Kanji suggests) have lunch then practice some Eskimo rolling then paddle back. This was Kaz’s first time kayaking so we changed our original plan of going around Izushima – which is more exposed on the lee side.

I got to borrow a few pieces of equipment from Nori to try out and was also able to see some other stuff in use. As a result I now need to go shopping – I’d like to get a climaprene long sleeve top (my wet suit is just so uncomfortable); some foam padding to pad out out my hip connections to the seat; and a large carabina with bungee connection called a cow tail which can be used for various things such as, towing, securing the paddle and securing the kayak.

climaprene tophip padscowtail

We got to Izushima at 12 and we did some rolls before lunch. First the Eskimo rescue – I hip flick up from floating on the surface by holding the bow of my teachers boat, then full capsize and do the same. The emphasis was on keeping the head in the water until the very last moment. I got that.


I felt comfortable underwater and not all panicky. I was able to open my eyes and see what was going on. The only thing that felt a bit strange was the lack of flotation my pfd seemed to provide. I expected it to be a struggle to hold myself in the kayak underwater – for my pfd to float me to the surface – but it was easy.

I did a swim, self rescue and pump out which was much easier than I had expected.

Then we went on to the Pauletta roll. I failed at this but not too badly. I think the problem was that after capsizing I just couldn’t figure out where to put the paddle blade, my movements were all wrong. I could do the hip flicking and pull down when helped with the initial placement of the paddle but just couldn’t do it on my own. We had to stop after a while as I was getting tired and a bit cold (the water here was definitely not as warm as Matsushima). Here is a picture of me doing it wrong – see my head coming out of the water too early?


I realized a few things today. My spray deck is pretty leaky – it’s a touring spray deck not a neoprene one for rolling. My beamy kayak is great for self rescues and my ‘low gravity centre’ (read short ass) means this shouldn’t be a problem. My beamy kayak isn’t so great for rolling – there is a big kick required to get the thing moving. I am comfortable in the water, my scuba diving training (and body boarding) make me feel happy in and under the water. Today was great for my confidence. I failed at rolling but I now know what I am looking at when I look at these kind of diagrams so maybe next time.

The light fog which started during the day got steadily thicker. After lunch lunch visibility was down to about 100m, which sounds a lot but isn’t. As we paddled back towards our launch point we heard some deep rumbling and crashing sounds. I had seen a stone quarry on the way here this morning so assumed it was the noise of quarrying. But it turned out to be thunder, regular and very strange sounding. With the limited visibility we couldn’t see the lightening so couldn’t tell how far away it was. There was however a sense of urgency about our last couple of kms. About 500m out we felt the first few drops of rain. The sea, now a matt mirror, received the first rain drops like tiny atom bombs; mushrooming into an air bubble that would occasionally stay for a few seconds, marking the impact point. This kind of drip drop rain felt quite nice and we thought for a while that we would make it back before the rain got too heavy. But just as we reached the outer breakwaters (tetra pods) the heavens opened and it bucketed down. We hauled the kayaks out of the water and loaded the cars as quickly as possible but still we were soaked to the skin by the time we were able to climb into cars.

nice one of the boysfoggy

Our farewell was brief, cut short by the downpour but I hope we can go again, Nori.

Nori told me about a sea kayaker in Mie prefecture, Yoshikazo-san, so I hope to kayak with him towards the end of this month. My family and I are all going to Nagoya from 19-28 July to visit my father-in-law and watch the Nagoya Basho – sumo tournament. Maybe I can sneak off for a day to do some more rolling / touring around the beautiful Ise…


4 Responses to “A foggy first of July”

  1. […] It’s a bit of a shock that it happened in an area that I paddle; I’ve been to Izushima, though not round it yet. […]

  2. […] Before I bought this book I had already done a few of the routes, or parts of them (so far numbers 13 – Izushima, 14 – Matsushima and 28 – Kowaura [古和浦 not sure of reading]). […]

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