UKSA: Week Nine

Wow, time really is flying, and there’s less than a month to go now! Last week began with our SUP instructor course, which was good fun and I felt like I learned a lot. Tuesday, did a morning of work experience, helping out with a kids SUP session – challenging because of the strong winds, but fun nonetheless. Wednesday saw another careers session, with lots of information about the industry and progression, which was all really helpful.

Then, Thursday we started dinghy! It was good to get back to doing something after a couple of quieter days – it’s funny how quickly you get used to being active all day, and how quickly you can become restless and fed up.

Our first day of dinghy we had very light winds. We went out in double handers, which are fun because they’re that bit bigger. We practiced some capsizes, then had a go at sailing around. Friday we headed down the river again. Winds were a bit stronger and it was pretty stressful – there’s a lot to remember and think about, and it all gets a bit confusing. The boom smashed into my head in the afternoon as well, which wasn’t next fun.

Over the weekend we moved into single handers, and the winds picked up too – a bad combination for me! Struggled over the weekend to get to grips with it, finding it extremely stressful and not much fun at all. I’m yet to understand why anyone enjoys this – give me a windsurf or a paddle board any day!

But onwards – we’ll see how it goes today. This is certainly one of the most challenging parts of the course for me. It’s frustrating because I get it, I know most of the theory as most of it transfers from windsurfing, but I just can’t make it work. I hate dinghy’s and the boom and the scrabbling around. It’s going to be a long few weeks….

On the plus side, some exciting Daphne du Maurier goodies from the Fowey Festival arrived for me, including a brand new documentary and a new biography, signed by the author.

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Definitely what I needed on a such a hard week. And the book is so beautifully written, it’s incredibly inspiring.

UKSA: Week Seven and Eight

Week Seven

[didn’t post so posting late!] The days have all begun to blur into one and I don’t even know what day it is anymore.

The days have all begun to blur into one and I don’t even know what day it is anymore.

Last week began with a day off, and it was nice to recharge, do some writing, and catch up on bits and pieces. Tuesday ended up being a theory day as there was very little wind, and we worked on our presentations. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were all days back on the water, and after some previously frustrating days, things improved again and I had some really good days, which I was really happy about – including finally, being happier in those stronger winds and speeding around in the harness – so some excellent days.

On Friday we had to pack up all the intermediate kit, as Saturday we were back to beginner rigs and back to basics, in preparation for our instructor course, which started on Sunday. Funny to think that that goal point, which seemed so far away last month, is now here!

Week Eight 

Windsurf instructor week! So, pace changed a bit with windsurf instructor week. Back to basics, but we were also learning about how to teach, practiced running sessions and coaching each other. It was a really interesting week, with lots to think about, and I learned a lot, not just about how to teach and explaining the basics of windsurfing, but about my own windsurfing too.

A hard but fantastic week, with presentations, lots of practice sessions and simulator work, and much more. We were lucky to have some beautiful days too. The week ended with a moderation day, and I was delighted to pass. I am now officially a Start Windsurf instructor! We celebrated with ice cream.

Sad to leave windsurfing behind, we moved straight onto SUP (stand up paddleboarding), which I also really enjoy. We had a few days messing about on the river, taking some trips and practicing some paddle skills. Then it was rounded off with a SUP instructor conversion day, which was good fun and interesting to see how our skills learned in our windsurf instructor week transferred over. So a successful and very happy couple of weeks!

UKSA: Week Six

I’m not quite sure how we’ve got to week SIX already – nearly half way through!

It’s been another busy week. We’re still in the thick of windsurfing, although there’s now less than a week until our instructor course begins. The week has been mixed again with lighter and stronger winds, including some challenging days and conditions, and tricky offshore breezes to deal with. This has led to some frustrating days, with things sometimes feeling like one step forward and two back, and it’s been a mentally challenging week. But we’re slowly making our way Once again we’ve had more theoiry days, including begin to prepare presentations for our instructor course.

Once again we’ve had more theory days, including begin to prepare presentations for our instructor course, as well as a CV/careers day, getting our CVs ready and beginning to think about applying for jobs. 

So it’s all go! A day off today – time to recharge and get ready for the week ahead.

 

UKSA: Week Five

Well, it’s been an up and down week, plagued by light winds and injuries! On Sunday, I hurt my knee, which was still painful Monday morning. Consequently, I decided to sit out Monday and spent the day back at base, resting my knee and feeling a little sorry for myself. Tuesday, was still a bit sore but got back out on the water, which was great.

All seemed to be going well on Wednesday – we learned how to rig up our intermediate sails and then headed down to the water after lunch, only for me to get my hand trapped between two mast pieces (it was incredibly stupid and difficult to describe just how I did it). Had to sit in the van with an ice pack on my hand, and in the end had to sit out the afternoon sailing session, which sucked. Left with a lovely blood blister on my hand – ouch! Luckily, it’s almost gone now and doesn’t really hurt anymore.

Thursday ended up being a theory day, learning about different types of boards and sails, and although we went down to the beach, we didn’t go out. Friday, we finally got out on the water again with the intermediate sails. It was another light wind day, but it was good to get out and practice a few manoeuvres and play around with the sails, which are so much better than the training rigs! So finally back on track, and hopefully things will continue to keep moving in the right direction – no more injuries! And more wind! Saturday was another light wind day, although te morning seemed pretty hopeful, and we continued playing around with the sails and

Saturday was another light wind day, although the morning seemed pretty hopeful, and we continued playing around with the sails and manoeuvres. The wind died completely by mid-afternoon, however, and we weren’t able to do much. Due to the lack of wind, Sunday was a theory day, so a frustrating way to end the week, but good to get through a lot of the theory and go over things. So a bit of an up and down week – we’re nearly half way through our windsurfing, which is madness (excluding the instructor course). On to the next week – despite the ups and downs, it really is noticable how much you improve doing something in a solid block, rather than bits every now and again.

UKSA: Week Four

Week four already – where has the time gone? I can’t believe that I’ve been here a month already, we’ve crammed a lot in and we’re a third of the way through. This week has been another busy one, with the end of our kayaking, including the Two Star assessment and our Foundation Safety Rescue Training, which was all about learning to rescue people from capsized kayaks and canoes. We also had an evening pool session in the kayaks, which was a little nerve-wracking as I’m not particularly confident at going over in a kayak, especially with a spray deck on. I managed to have a few go’s though at going over, so I was pleased with that!

Wednesday, we had our First Aid course, another jam-packed day with everything from learning CPR to how to deal with nosebleeds and cold water shock – and much more. We also had our online safeguarding course to complete this week as well.

After that, I headed home for a couple of days, sadly for a funeral, but it was nice to pop home and catch up with various people before heading back to Cowes on Good Friday. It was peculiar to leave the island and the small bubble and go back to the mainland, which just seemed so different. Nice to get back and see the blossom and the bluebells.

 


Saturday was the start of our windsurfing, and our first day we had some good wind. It was good to get back on the board and out on the water again and it was a great first day. Today (Easter Sunday) is back to it – listening to a Radio 4 Easter service before heading down to the beach for a windsurfing session (and the sun is shining) – what could be a better way to spend the day?

UKSA: Week Three

Week three and the WIT (watersports instructor training) properly starts this week. We kicked off with an induction (and two new members to the group!) and a careers talk (the first “careers” talk in my life where I haven’t got made or anxious haha perhaps I am doing the right thing. …), as well as being presented with a stack of reading material, before heading out on the water, taking a powerboat out the river onto the seafront to see some of the sailing spots. Started reading up on the VHF radio stuff, as well as learning the phonetic alphabet – word association is the way to go for this with me, so lots of random associations memorised.  


Well, it was a busy week with some long days but successfully completed the VHF short range radio course (and successfully learned the phonetic alphabet), as well as a two day Level 2 Powerboat course, which was great fun and included a bit of high speed, some navigation, and a trip across the Solent. After that, we were onto kayaking and canoeing, in preparation for our 2 Star Kayak assessment today (Monday). So lots of pack in, but we’ve had some gorgeous weather with barely any wind, which has made it perfect for being in kayaks. 



Many of the girls that I arrived with, who were doing a different course, have all left now. I can’t believe that three weeks have passed already, it’s flying by. The site has been full this weekend, with all sorts of groups, from an orchestra, to a rugby club, so it’s been pretty busy around here, as well as lots of new instructors arriving for the season. Things are only going to get busier! 

Onto another week!

UKSA: Week Two 

Monday

Spring is really here! The days are finally longer and today was absolutely gorgeous. It nearly felt a little like summer, with the sun out all day. Winsurfing was absolutely gorgeous out at a local little bay. 

i’m not going to lie, it was a bit of a rocky start, getting back into windsurfing, but after lunch it finally all clicked again and it was a really fantastic afternoon. So great to be out again and I’m excited for another day tomorrow! 

Tuesday 

Not so sunny today, but still a glorious day for windsurfing. Today was an even better day than yesterday and everthing about the windsurfing felt great from the moment go, and I was delighted! Spent the morning praticing steering and just having a sail, then after lunch praticed sailing an upwind zig zag course, which was great. Also praticed a few gybes and tacks, which was also great. I love gybing, haha. Another successful day out on the water! 

Wednesday 

Another day of windsurfing! We spent the morning doing some theory – talking about wind, tides, and sails, and all of that, before heading down to the beach after lunch. Pretty gentle conditions, although some quite intense gusts! Continued praticing an upwind course, as well as gybing! Another great day on the water. 

Thursday

The weather today was absolutely gorgeous. The winds were very light, but this was good for praticing technique and nailing those moves. After lunch, the wind had died down even more, but we sailed across the bay and  had a go at beach starts, which was great fun. The water was so calm it was almost like a mill pond! Things are starting to become more natural and I’m aching less now! Still, another very early night. 

Friday 

A gloomy start to the day, although it’s a gloriously peaceful evening on the estuary now. Today was a little frustrating in some respects, because the wind was stronger than it has been and it was quite gusty, but by the end of the day it felt a lot better and I was beginning to master those fast tacks and things were going a little better! The sun was out too and so it was a lovely day! 

Saturday

Last day of windsurfing and an absolutely gorgeous day. Fewer big gusts than yesterday so it was a little more managable and less frustrating! Yesterday was just one of those days, and today was so much better. We continued practicing gybes and tacks – finally got my head round the fast tack, so many steps, it took a while to come together in my head, but after some continual practice it finally made sense and I cracked it (even if it’s not perfect yet!!). We also pratcitced sailing a triangluar course and enjoyed the sunshine with a bit of fun too. A great way to finish six days of windsurfing! 

Sunday 

This morning, we took some kayaks down the river. Absolutely gorgeous day, and the wind had nearly completely died. A lovely paddle, then back for lunch. A chilled out afternoon, so walked down into Cowes and along to the beach, to enjoy the sunshine. 

The course properly starts tomorrow – I can’t believe that I’ve already been here two weeks! It’s flying by, but the hard work starts properly now. Looking forward to getting properly started, feel settled in now, and into the swing of things, and greatly enjoying this new way of life – plus, I feel like I’ve done more productive writing since I’ve been here than I have done in months. It was just the change and motivation I needed! Onwards then… 

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! 

A New Chapter

It’s time for things to change here and in my life.

As content as I am, writing away and wish that I could all day, every day, I’m ready for a new adventure. I need to go away and do new things, different things  – to get those ideas, to do things differently, to have no regrets. I don’t want to look back and wonder what would have happened if I had done it after all. I don’t want to be here, still in the same place, in six months time, having got nowhere.

It feels like a good time to make a change. The novel I’ve been working on for over a year has gone out into the world, another one is being formed in my head, and I’ll have to wait and see what happens with it. I’m sure that there’s more work that I need to do on it. I know ultimately where I want to get to – it’s just all the stuff in between. I’ve come to the realisation that sometimes things don’t happen right away, or that they take time to happen. I know where I want to get to eventually, and sometimes things have to be different to how you might have imagined.

It’s funny too, how your life can change unexpectedly because of a chance encounter, conversation, that sticks in your mind. That becomes a burning flame, that you know you have to pursue. I’ve always known that I’m not someone who was going to follow the crowd. I knew that I wanted to write, but I didn’t know how to do that while doing something else. I didn’t know what that something else was. It’s a little bit of a leap into the dark, into something that I don’t know how it’s going to go. It’s going to be something completely different to anything else I’ve ever done. I love windsurfing and paddleboarding, being on the water, and being outside, and I also enjoy teaching people and working with kids, so I’m hoping that this combination will mean that this works out for me. And if it doesn’t? Well, I’d rather not wonder for the rest of my life what could have been. And I’ll get some good stories out of it at least…

I know that I don’t want to be stuck in an office or a city or doing the same old cafe work for years to come. I want to be outdoors, I want to be doing,  so that in my offtime, in the evenings when I sit down to write I’m not weary from having sat at a computer all day. Or at least that’s my reasoning…. Hopefully this training will take me towards where eventually I want to be – down in Cornwall and the West Country and other goals I want to achieve, of helping kids and living an outdoors, active and fulfilling life. I can still write alongside it, and I hope that one day I’ll be able to strike the right balance. I think the two lifestyles do go well together.

And I’m excited about this – it’s going to be challenging and hard work, but I think it will be worth it. So, I’m heading to the Isle of Wight for a few months to do some watersports instructor training – if all goes well, I’ll come out the other end with plenty of experience and qualifications under my belt!

Hopefully, on this blog I’ll be able to chart these new adventures and keep you up to date with what I’m doing.