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20th August 2013

Kayaking and Kinsale

I managed to get into a kayaking trip on very late notice. While the booking dead line had been two days earlier I just called them ad asked if they still got space and they had, telling me to meet them at six o'clock - that's different from Germany. So even if you miss the deadline just give them a call. Most of space isn't taken. After misplacing my wallet and having to nick some money from my emergency money I ran a little late and made my way to Kinsale. My host father told me there was a car park I should park on. I'm not sure whether I missed it but the only car park I found seemed to belong to hotel and I didn't dare to park there. You know for me who only drove the roads around my hometown that I knew by heart and very moderate traffic in Bandon and Carriglane Kinsale was a shock. I wouldn't have minded if it had been only busy traffic. I already knew that from my trip back to Sheep's Head to the petrol station but simultaneously the road was very narrow. Not because it was constructed this way but because people had parked their cars on at least one side of the road, making it impossible for me to stay at my side of the road as I went on. I didn't have much time to take a look around because of all the cars. I ended up in front of Lidl car park, which wouldn't have been that bad at all if this particular one had closed at 6 o'clock like most of them do here. But no it stayed open 'till 9 and so I had to make myself on the way finding a new one. Quite desperate I went back one the main road. You know there were some open spots at the side of the road but I didn't dare to try for one of them because I might hold the whole traffic and/or might not get in. Not to mention that I managed to stall the engine and not getting it on again until I realized I tried it in second gear – something that always happens to me when I'm stressed. I was already outside of Kinsale when I at last found a parking spot. Well it was about time because one of the roadsigns already told me that I was back on my way to Bandon. After checking a Bed and Breakfast that I could park there I made my way back to Kinsale, which one of the roadsigns told me lay 2km behind me. Well I'm pretty sure it wasn't 2 km because ten minutes later I managed to get into Kinsale. It was already 6.30 and I didn't expect the kayaking group would still be there when I arrived. But to not let my trip become completely fruitless I would try to find the outdoor Centre for the next time and wander around Kinsale to get to know the roads better. At 6.40 I made it to the Kinsale Outdoor Eduction Centre. It's rather obvious really. For me even more so since I came from the “wrong side” of town. When I went into there I was surprised to say everybody still standing. Nobody seemed to mind hat I was so late and after I payed we got our wetsuits and would change. You know I never wore a wetsuit before. Let's just say they are not that comfortable to try on but when you're past that they keep you very warm even if they feel wet when you try them on. There were other Aupairs there – one of the reasons why I participated and for a change there were a lot of Spanish girls and one from Sweden. Not that I mind getting to know German AuPairs. It's just I went out of the country to meet people from different countries and not staying in the usual crowd. On the shore then without much ado we started into the water and tried to paddle. It may look easy but it isn't. We had a hard time going straight and if you would mange just go in a general straight direction you were fine. One of the girls had especially a hard time and needed help from our guide Barry to be put in the right direction. I think he tied her to his own kayak. I was mostly fine but I would turn myself in circles after a few strokes with paddle, which happens when you put to much strength on one side and when I concentrated more on it it worked better. I also found out that for steering you would want to put you paddle far away from you in the water to steer faster. When we manged to get over to the other shore we were taught some technique how go straight the most effective way, to go backwards and how to steer better with the sweep – the technique I already figured out for the most part. We even saw two seals. They were so cute I never saw a real seal in my whole life an there were very close to us putting their heads out of the water now and then. Unfortunately there are no photos of everything since I didn't dare to bring my camera and if you would like to argue now I was in a boat and rather dry, let me just tell you that one of the girls flipped over with her kayak and got completely wet. We even had a little race and in the end it was the girl that had the most trouble in the beginning who won. On the way back I managed to be one the fastest. You know it's all about technique. The more you concentrated the faster you were and I liked going with the kayak. You would also have to get a feeling for a kayak it was of no used to paddle on the alternating sides if there was wind, a current or even just your unbalanced strength in the arms. But if you concentrated on where the kayak was going you could steer it pretty good. I don't think that we went kayaking for more than a kilometer but we had to learn the basic firsts so I guess it's okay. We went back on the boat to our starting point and from there I made my way back to the car which thankfully was still standing on the very remote parking lot. On the way back I managed to get lost. I wasn't really lost before just stressed out. I drove into a one way street from the wrong direction and managed to graze a side mirror of another car but nothing happened. I'm not sure whether it was my fault or his because he just wanted to drive out of his parking space and then there was the way back. I already mentioned I hated driving in the dark on Irish roads but it was a little bit better now – especially after I knew I was going into the right direction. When I was “home” I would even drive on a little further so I didn't have to use lower junction and have trouble getting up the hill. I had enough trouble with the car and driving for one night that I didn't want to have anymore. I can't tell you how glad I was when I arrived at the farm.


Rating: ****

Prize: 10€ (but I think I was a special offer)

28.8.13 18:56

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