UKSA: Week One 

Sunday Night: arrival 

So after a car journey down to Southampton and then a ferry journey over to the Isle of Wight,  I’m finally here! The last few days before a trip or newould adventure ate always the worst – the anticipation, the unknown, the uncertainty, so arriving was atentucioation bit of a relief. At the gates I met a couple of other lovely girls, on a different course but we ended up in the same block and ended up hanging out all evening!

To my surprise, I’m the only one in my room so far and I have wi-fi, a huge bonus!  One of the most daunting things was going into the dining room, as it was so like school (even the keypads outside the accommodation are the same) but it turned out absolutely fine. It’s not like school,  no one really cares about you!  

Later we headed up to the bar and met a wide range of people from other courses, some just starting, others nearly done, some part way through but aboutique to head off on boats for 10 days.  A wide mix of people! Although a little like back to uni…. 

Early night,  looking forward to getting going tomorrow.  

Monday 

After a slightly sleepness night, due to people returning late and playing guitar at bizarre hours in the monring, I woke early and headed for an early breakfast. We all gathered a little later to meet our instructor for the week and get to know what we were doing. We had a site tour, got to know whwere things were, did some team games, before lunch. Meal times are early here, which suits me down to the ground! 

Sadly, it was too gusty to go out sailing, but instead we headed out in a power boat to explore down the river a bit and also just out of the main harbour, so we could go a bit faster! It was great to see the river a bit more and see where we’d be sailing – it’s a bit like Fowey, on a river, with lots of boats and industrial stuff going on. ALthough Cowes is a little bigger than Fowey – perhaps a cross between St Ives and Fowey, it’s certainly got that sort of vibe, and everyone I’ve met so far is really nice. 

Funny, people complaining about how there’s nothing here to do in the evenings, but it’s perfect for me – writing time! I’ve got a whole novel to edit, annd it will be good to be able to focus on that in the evenings. 

A good first day, already feeling settled in. Looking forward to getting out on the water now! 

Tuesday 

We finally got out on the water today, and got sailing! Lots to learn and there were some big gusts today (which only got more intense) but we made a good start, learning to tack and getting to grips with the whole thing. DIgny sailing has a hell of a lot more things to remember and think about than windsurfing – whoever told me it would be easy to pick up after windsurfing was lying! Although, Iw ill concede that certain things help, such as knowing about winds and points of wind and sheeting the sail, and all that – but it’s a completely different kettle of fish, with ropes to remember and the tiller, and all that. I think I’m beginning to get it, even if it was frustrating to begin with! There’s the scary boom as well, and nothing worse than the thought of hitting your head on it. WIth windsurfing, you just drop the sail and you stop! Sailing is so different, and I think – at th moment anyway – windsurfing is far more instinctive and natural to me, but i’m determined to get to grips with it and I think that after a few days, it should make more sense! 

Getting to know everyone and how things work, and have explored Cowes a little – including finding the library (it’s important to know where these places are! Hopefully I’ll be able to use it when I run out of books – which is bound to happen!  

Wednesday

The days and evenings are falling into a routine and pattern. Day started grim, heavy rian and wind, so we did some theory in the morning, had lunch, before heading out. By the time we headed out, the sun was out and it was much stiller. Hard to believe! 

Went out in a two handed boat, with another girl and an instructor, which was really helpful and thanks to the lighter wind, I feel like I’m beginning to get to grips with it! There’s still a lot to master though, but we’ll get there – feeling positive. Another good day on the water, alhtough aching lots now. 

I the evening, after a very spicy chilli, went to the bar with some of the other watersports people here on different courses, which was fun. 

Thursday 

i can’t believe that it’s already Thursday – this week is hurtling by. I suppose that’s what happens when you have a routine every day and something to get on with. So far, I’m loving it, even if there are some things to get used to and it’s hard work. Lovely people though and lots of fun. 

Today, didn’t begin off quite so windy, so after a bit of theory, we headed out onto the water to do some sailing. It all kicked off alright, even managed a couple of tacks and a gybe, but the wind begun to pick up and go tquite gusty, so after a capsize and a few more attempts, had to concede defeat for the day! Always the way – one step forward, and two back. 

We headed in for a late lunch, before going back out int he powerboat, which we all had a turn drving, which was great fun. This evening was a quiet one – I was in the wrong room, so I had to move, and then had a quiet evening writing and reading up on some things. It’s really wild outside (pretty strong winds are forecast – soon i’m going to be a weather bore, if i’m not already), and I think tomorrow we’re going to do something a bit different! 

Friday 

My life at the moment consists of watersports and outdoor stuff by day, and editing/writing by evening. When i’m not thinking about the weather or the tides or the like, i’m thinking about my characters and what they’re doing and how to make their story better. iT’s actually been very good for my writing ithink, to have this concentrated time for it. 

Todat, the sun actually came out! We took out some paddleboards this morning down the river a bit, which was great fun. After lunch, we walked into Cowes to check out where everything is and get to know things. So a very relaxed day, with some actual sunshine! Although it’s still been pretty windy. Hopefully after the weekend it’ll settle down. Think we’re going to paddle again tomorrow, and then Monday – windsurfing starts. I’m so excited! 

Saturday 

The day started with a trip out on a keel boat – much grander in scale than a dingy, obviously, and it was good fun to see how it all worked and have a trip down the river. The sun came out today, so it was quite glorious and relaxing. 

After lunch, we took some kayaks out. Hard work as there was a strong wind and also a strong tide, but it was good fun, and we just paddled a little way down the river, enjoying the sunshine, and avoiding the mud from the low tide. 

Evening, I hung out with some of the other watersports people, popping to the supermarket with them and having a nice relaxed evening, before heading to bed earlyish, leaving them to all go out. 

Sunday

A day off and glorious weather! Walked up along the estuary to see waht happened up that wya, had a nice picnic lunch, and then got some tea and did some reading and writing. So a nice relaxed day. Looking forward to starting windsurfing tomorrow – I can’t believe I’ve been here a week already! 

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