July 2007 Archives

Cursed Car

Well, as could probably be predicted from the history of costly issues with my car, once again on a trip down south I have to spend money to keep it going.

Previously one at a time over the last load of trips down south I've had to replace the battery, starter  motor, front brakes and now a puncture, all pretty standard and not major items, but they seem to come at the worst time money wise. One day I'll manage a trip down south without having to fix my car in some way or other.

Sports Diver

Yesterday I went to Stoney Cove with Frances to start doing my Sports Diver practicals.

 We got there for about half past 7 and kitted up, we were in the water by 9 and on the first dive.

Dive one went well, we did some basic skills and swam about a bit and saw lots of perch and rudd and then some freshwater sponges which were really pretty. No deeper than 17m.

Dive 2 we went to 21m and saw more fish, using a Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) so I get used to towing the buoy, reeling and unreeling etc. By now my ulcer was really rather sore but I was still enjoying the dive.

 In all it was rainy on the surface and about 13 degrees, underwater it was wet and about 17 degrees!

Soon I'll be doing more dives to qualify - hopefully I'll go back a Sports Diver and able to do more interesting dives than Vivian!

The Magical Life of Owyn

Life's been a bit hectic for poor Owyn, especially since the passing of Dennis.

He's done a 170 mile trip in the boot of a hot car, survived all the speed bumps of Hartshorne, spent the night here, moved up to mum's, changed tanks and met some new fish.

Mum bought a 60l BiOrb, and then a fancy goldfish and 3 minnows for it -  the new goldfish being christened Woger, after Monty Python (it was either Woger, or Wodewick, or something such like), and then a 3rd goldfish was put in (known as McPlop, from Blackadder's Wee Jock Poo Pong McPlop) and then shortly after McPlop one of Grandad's friends gave mum some baby koi and now one of those calls the orb its permanent residence. He's called Gordon, or Clancy, depending on how mum feels really.

It looks like things might finally have settled down for Owyn - a year old and already his life has had so much adventure!

Here's to at least another year!

My 24 Hour

I don't think for one minute that getting up at 4.30, getting in the car at 5.30 and driving for 2 hours is anybpdy's idea of "fun" but this was the only boring bit I had to endure of the Bridging Finance 24 hour Endurance Race at Hoylake.When we were ten minutes or so away, I got a text from Kev saying the wind was 17-20mph onshore and it wasn't raining - hurrah! We got there and set up and registered before heading down onto the bank to find somewhere for our pits. After a pilots briefing, we buggied about a bit before the start of the race which was a Le Mans start – Andy was the first racer on our team using his 10m Venom 2 and there are some fantastic start videos of everyone running to their kites. A couple of teams tangled badly but all in all the race started quickly with few problems.I went out in the buggy more to have a shot while the wind was good – I’d never buggied Hoylake before and I was really looking forward to it so I couldn’t wait to get out. When Andy returned I went out to clock up miles for real on our yellow 4m Buster but not knowing the kite very well I soon went back for
Old Faithful in the form of my 3m Firebee.
This turned out to be a good move and I was soon blatting up and down the beach comfortably – I maxed out at about 68kmh, I don’t think this is quite beating my previous record (I think I’d need in excess of 75kph to do that) but it felt good keeping speed with racers on Yakuza’s and Combats. I also didn’t want to welly it because the thought of getting stuck down wind 3 miles down the beach didn’t really appeal to me and it would also have meant possibly cutting up other racers (who, I should imagine, would be less than happy that I was beating my current record).Dad went out next and clocked us up some more – unfortunately one of the GPS stopped recording and this meant we lost 30km and two hours worth of effort. 

The day carried on and pilots changed, the wind varied slightly in its speed but was more or less constant until it picked up at about 10pm. 

The night shifts began, the glow sticks came out and the mood became a bit quieter and a bit eerie – many pilots were put off by the thought of buggying in the dark but a few teams still had a pilot willing to disappear into the void. 

Pilots went out with lights affixed to their buggies and some with kite lights – white lights on the front of buggies and red on the rear – with large lights as markers for the course. Unfortunately as the wind died and shifted the course became more difficult for pilots with kites with a poor upwind performance and would mean a trek right down the bank to be able to make certain markers and so several pilots found a space and went back to going back and forth to earn their kilometers. 

This regime continued until about 3am when wind disappeared completely and the rain took its place – I think everyone decided to get some sleep in at this point myself included as I went to sleep on two Centuries, a Little Devil and a Buster. 

At 4.30am I decided I’d had enough when the tent I was in began to leak and so went to look for someone else I knew who was awake – it was light enough by now to be out again but it was still pouring with rain and there was still no wind. A few of us ended up making a trek up to the Clubhouse and going to sleep in the dry and comparative warmth and comfort there. 

Kev went back out at 7.30am after hearing the wind had picked up but the rest of us stayed asleep until 8.30am before returning to the bank. 

All the teams tried to clock up some more km in the early morning, variable and temperamental wind – at least it wasn’t raining much any more. 

10.30am came along and the finish came around – Team Ozone taking the title of World Record Holders with over 600km and the Youthful Yokels coming second not all that far behind. 

Everyone returned to the Clubhouse and cleaned up and packed away before going in for the Prize Giving. All 17 teams received something for their efforts as well as being able to be proud – this was my first medal for anything ever and it made me feel so proud of myself and my team. 

Next year the event will hopefully run again and be bigger and better than this year – I hope so because I really want to do it again.