Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Crispy Toes

Steph and I went for a paddle last night.  Well, sort of ...

In our usual half-organised style, he set off from near Prossers and I set of from the Squadron with plans to meet half way and do a work out once we'd met up ...

Exhibit A: This is a photo of 6 kayakers rafted up at night.
You'd think we might have figured out that we could pass each other ... like ships in the night ... but I figured that with my light on Steph would at least see me, even if I didn't see him. 

He didn't. 

I ended up at Prossers, he ended up at the Squadron and we only found each other when I had paddled all the way back to where I started from.

After that we only had the enthusiasm for a short sprint down to the docks, where we sat around watching the people in Blue Skies Cafe looking back at us (I'd love to know what they were thinking).  One of us may have paddled under the Peppermint Bay II Catamaran under the cover of darkness, but that's only rumour and scuttlebutt.  There's no photos to prove it.

We seperated on the way back, Steph taking a direct course back to Prossers me heading to the Squadron, with plans to catch up for Pizza after we got to shore, but it dawned on me when I got back to my bike that I had no clothes to get changed into (just my cycling gear) and my feet were wet and freezing by the time I got to shore, so I ended up just cycling the 30 minutes straight home to stand in front of the heater and defrost.

For the first time this winter I could feel the frosty grass crunching under my feet as I walked across my front lawn ...


Winter has definitely arrived ...

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Bonnet Hill ... The return

Sometimes you have to make sacrifices in the pursuit of your goals.  Fortunately, given I was only going for a little goal, I figured I only had to make a little sacrifice ... in my case this was getting a haircut.  I know, on such sacrifices is greatness made.

OK, I took my assault on yesterday's Strava times a little more seriously than I probably should have.  I honestly got my hair cut specifically because it got in my eyes during yesterdays ride, and I tightened the spokes and pumped the tyres up to race pressure to get every advantage I could, then just after noon I was off.

Just heading up the hill from work to Sandy Bay Road I could feel my legs were a little tired, but as soon as I hit Sandy Bay Road, I cranked up my speed and figured I may as well try and stay there ... or go faster if could. 

I felt horrible.  I'm not good at fast starts, there's just too much of me to fire up quickly and I was trying to drag in big breaths and let my body get into a rhythm, whilst at the same time still go as fast as I could.  My problem was to do this I was either turning over very big gears (tiring my legs) or spinning too fast to rest my legs and in doing so red-lining myself.

I passed another cyclist just as I went past McDonalds (OK, he was on a mountain bike - but still) and then just put my head down and rode.  There was a small voice in my head cautioning me to slow down a bit and keep something in reserve for the final ascent up Bonnet Hill, but I was starting to feel good and just wanted to go as fast as I could for as long as I could.  That little voice that wouldn't go away tried to remind me that you can lose a heck of a lot more time blowing up on a climb than you can gain on a flat, but right then, right there ... I knew better ... I was going to use everything I had to get me to the bottom of the ascent ... and then, well, I'd just find some more to get me to the top.  Damn it.

I managed to sit right on the edge of what I had to give all the way through Lower Sandy Bay, up into Taroona, right to the base of Bonnett Hill, then I hit the first increase in gradient and my legs decided to inform me that they didn't feel so good. Fortunately, my lungs told them to shut up - but unfortunately it was only so they could get my attention to tell me that they felt worse.

I knew this was crunch time.  I really felt that I had got to this point a lot quicker than the day before and knew that I only had to keep going.  Then I thought of my time on Strava.  For the next two kilometers it was just a case of turning the cranks, getting out of the seat when I could, and when I couldn't just making sure that I was turning the pedals faster today than I did the day before.

As I came towards the top, I recalled the day before when I tried in vain to keep my speedo above 15km/hr ... but watched as it dropped to 14.8 ... 14.6 and ultimately 14.2kms/hr.  Today at the same spot I looked down and saw it was again just over 15km/hr ... but this time I found those extra reserves and watched as my speedo climbed above 16 and then 17km/hr just as I reached the top.

I'd done it and I felt good, I really felt good ... but what would Strava think?


Strava approved ... and awarded me 11 Personal Bests.  Yay me.

So here's my times and rankings from yesterday;
  • Sandy Bay - Bonnet Hill (10.2km) - I'm 163rd out of 187 in 27mins 57 seconds
  • Lower Sandy Bay - Bonnet Hill TT (7.2km) - I'm 218th / 237 in 21:47
  • Bonnet Hill Ride (2.6km) - I'm 224th / 242 in 10:42mins
and today:
  • Sandy Bay - Bonnet Hill (10.2km) - I'm 135th out of 188 in 25mins 26 seconds
  • Lower Sandy Bay - Bonnet Hill TT (7.2km) - I'm 192nd / 238 in 19:25
  • Bonnet Hill Ride (2.6km) - I'm 201st / 243 in 9:14mins
I basically managed to lift my average speed by about 2km/hr, and I'm happy with that because when I think back over today's ride, I can't think of anywhere I could have gone quicker ... Yet.

But there has to be a way ... there has to be ...
 


Monday, 25 June 2012

Oh dear ... this could be addictive

A couple of months a guy at work mentioned a website to me called Strava where you can compete against other cyclists using your GPS.  It sounded cool, but I pretty much forgot about it until last week when I saw a post about strava on FatCyclist's blog, and then this small article in the latest edition of The British CTC's Cycleclips newsletter:

Strava strife
We don’t know if the Saas Fee glacier is registered on Strava, the website that lets riders log their rides over a section of road or track, thus allowing them to compare their performance with other cyclists. But the popular site is now being sued by the family of a man from California who died when he crashed into a car, apparently whilst trying to beat his own Strava record. The family blame the competition for encouraging him to break the speed limit on the road in question.

This peaked my curiosity (I can sue someone for getting myself killed doing something stupid - how wonderful!) and after last weekends wake up call on my fitness, I dusted off the road bike at lunch time today, ignored the snow on the mountain and the ice-cold headwinds and set off for a ride to the top of Bonnet Hill and back.

Then I got home tonight and uploaded my GPS into Strava to see what it told me.

First the good news:
  1. I hold the King of the Mountain award for Saturday's Lake Dobson Ride; and
  2. I hold down 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the Jogger's Domain Loop Circuit from the 100 little miles to nowhere the other week.
Yee ha!
    OK, so there's not much good news, especially when you consider that Kim kicked my butt going up Lake Dobson (and my average speed was just 5.5km /hr) and in reality cmc often completed the circuits around the Jogger's Domain Loop circuit before me, so I probably hold 101st, 102nd and 103rd place, but until they get GPS's - I'm winning.  God I love Strava.

    Now for the crash back to reality from my extremely selective interpretation of the results.

    So how did I go in my ride today?  Firstly excuses - it was cold, no that's not much of an excuse, I know: I had a headwind, a horrible headwind all the way up and all the way back.  In fact there were gale warnings today, honest, I swear.  That's the only way I can explain my current rankings, here's a selection of key results:
    • Sandy Bay - Bonnet Hill (10.2km) - I'm 163rd out of 187 in 27mins 57 seconds
    • Lower Sandy Bay - Bonnet Hill TT (7.2km) - I'm 218th / 237 in 21:47
    • Bonnet Hill Ride (2.6km) - I'm 224th / 242 in 10:42mins
    In short I'm slow.  Very, very slow.

    But that's not the point - I only need to knock a few seconds off my time to move up a few places, and that's exciting, very exciting.  I want to start moving up the leader board - even if I might get myself killed in the process.  In fact, I think I might go out and ride that route again tomorrow.

    I think I might be in love with Strava.

    Saturday, 23 June 2012

    Lake Dobson, Mt Field National Park

    It's not like me to look at a map and come up with a blank for somewhere to go for a ride, but that's what happened this week ... the weather forecast looked atrocious and with the shortest day just recently passed, the option for a longer drive to explore more distant trails in the cold and rain didn't look attractive.

    Then Kim said she wanted to go for a ride in the snow.  That narrowed my focus nicely, and we found ourselves unloading the bikes at Mt Field National Park a bit after 9am preparing for a ride up to Lake Dobson ... it was raining.

    Mt Field car park - note the puddles.
    Now you can't ride off road anywhere in the park, but I've always wondered how enjoyable a ride it might be to ride the 16kms up to the Lake Dobson car park.  Yes it was all gravel road, and yes you could just drive up there in your 2WD car ... but still I wondered ...

    We set off up the hill, and it was soon apparent that the only challenger to Kim for the King (Queen?) of the Mountain prize today would be the snow plow that passed us about a kilometer up the road.


    I struggled going up, I mean really struggled.  Kim was riding me off her wheel so easily it was embarrassing.  Mind you I'm probably carrying 40 or 50kgs more up the hill than Kim is, so it's not hard to figure out why.  What happened to that diet of mine again?

    Kim provided some amusement by crashing her bike several times as she learned the cons of being cleated into her bike (for her firs time), but the real highlight of the ride was the scenery, and to be honest (having driven up this road many times) I was really surprised at just how gorgeous this ride was.

    Kim trying to unclip from her bike after a low speed crash.

    The first five kilometers were mainly through mixed eucalypt forest with a rainforest understorey ... which means that as you climbed up the hill you were surrounded by ferns and myrtle forests at eye level interspersed with giant eucalypts erupting into the sky.  It was gorgeous cycling and really helped the kilometers pass by.





    Unfortunately, most of my photos for the day were washed out by water on the lens, a problem I just haven't been able to figure out how to overcome, and yes I have tried drying the lens.

    We passed a small lookout about 5kms up and the transition to higher alpine forest gradually began soon after.  It was another few kilometers before we got our first tantalising glimpse of the snow, but what started as a sporadic glimpse soon turned into a thick, velvet coating.  We even had it falling around us as we slowly made out way up to the top.

    The first sprinkling of snow.

    Getting a little more serious
    We have snow ...
    By the time we passed Lake Fenton, we were well and truly in the thick of it, and so had plenty of excuses to take rest stops and shoot off pictures.

    The road finally started to flatten out (it's close to a 1000 meters of climbing) about 12kms from the start, but unfortunately we emerged out onto the plateau to be greeted by a horrid headwind and it was a real head down grind getting across the top (invigorating was the word Kim used).  Fortunately it was only a short while before the sun came back out for the final kilometer or two to Lake Dobson.


    There's a great day shelter at Lake Dobson, though unfortunately no fireplace, and so despite being out of the elements we both started noticing the cooling effect of the wet gloves and socks (though again Kim was quick to point out that for her it was only 'invigorating').  Regardless, we only stayed up top for a short while before starting the ride back down.

    Now the ride back down - that was invigorating, very invigorating.

    It was really quite pleasant and warm as we headed back along the plateau due to a couple of small climbs to keep the body working and the scenery, whilst slightly desolate, was just wonderful.  I particularly liked this sign which allowed you to fill in the blanks ... nature's censorship perhaps?

    You Are Entering a Snow Storm perhaps?
    However, once we got past the snow line at Lake Fenton, our speed began to pick up and our fingers and toes .. became invigorated.

    Just after passing the lookout on our way back down, Kim kindly suggested I carry on ahead as she was worried that the car might be getting lonely all by itself, and being the lovely and kind person that she is she wanted me to get there soonest and make sure it was OK.

    As a purely circumstantial outcome of her generous idea, by the time she pulled up a few minutes behind me, the car was all nicely warmed up and so she was able to climb straight into the passenger seat and get changed into her dry clothes under the warming heat of the cars fans ... whilst I got changed in the cold toilets and loaded her muddy bike into the back of my car ... the least I could do given how generous she had been.

    We drove up to the cafe to stand by the fire and have a hot drink before we drove back to Hobart ... invigorated.

    I hadn't really expected much from this ride, but it turned out to be brilliant and I can't wait to go back and do it again ... maybe with an extra pair of socks and gloves and a hot thermos though or during summer.

    For now you'll have to excuse me, this ride deserves to be added to tassietrails.org.


    Epilogue

    I went shopping on wiggle last night and found they had a 40-50% off sale so I picked up a pair of SealSkinz thick mid length socks and SealSkinz Handle Bar Mittens.  Here's to future warm feet and hands.

    Sunday, 17 June 2012

    Cyclists are evil ..

    I was going to enter the Four Peaks Race at Risdon Brook Dam today, but one glimpse at the showers covering Tasmania on BOM's weather radar convinced me that today wasn't the day for climbing four peaks. Mind you, given it was four degrees, raining and foggy at my house, I didn't  need that much convincing.

    Skip forward an hour in time and my house was toasty and warm, the rain had stopped, the fog was lifting and I was feeling extremely guilty about not doing anything with my day, so I decided I would head out Risdon Brook Dam way anyway and go for a ride instead. 


    After a brief side trip to Salt cafe for a late breakfast with Stephan,  I arrived at the car park only to find it still overrun by annoying orienteering people doing the four peaks race.  I finally found a park someway down the road, got my bike together and set off around the dam.

    I got about a third of the way along when I came to the first vehicular track heading off from the main circuit (the one to Mt Dromedary), and so turned my front wheel left, dropped a few gears, and began the climb.  I'd only got about 100 metres when I decided to shed a layer of clothing before I got too warm.  Suitably ready for a big climb, I then pedaled around the corner to be greeted by this:

    Frick.
    After briefly considering ignoring this sign on the basis that it was obviously referring to those 'other' evil cyclists who destroy tracks and terrify walkers, not nice ones like me who just like to go out for a ride, I realised that the authorities might not be able to tell the difference even when I explained it to them (I must get myself a new Jersey that says "Nice Responsible Rider" so they can) and so I reluctantly turned my bike back down to the main track, and continued on to the next turn off at the far end of the dam.

    It was the same story as the first track, just this time the sign was right on the main track, so I guess at least I didn't have to waste the effort riding up the hill (yes, I was struggling to find the positives in these signs).


    The third track I came too (and I only knew of four) was pretty much the same ... the only difference was that they used a symbol rather than a sign:


    The message however was the same:  Cyclists are track destroying, evil people and must be kept out.  Forever, and it's just a shame we can't shoot them as well.  A darn shame.

    I halfheartedly pointed my wheel up the fourth and final track already dreaming up options I could use to fill up the rest of the afternoon (edition two of the little 100 miles to nowhere around Risdon Dam perhaps?) when I came to this:


    A gate without a sign.  I pulled up to the gate and did a search in the nearby bushes and down the bank ... but no there were no "No Bikes" sign anywhere, and what's more there was even a recent cycling tread pattern heading further up the hill.  I was free to roam.

    I wish I could describe the next couple of hours to you, I really, really do, but I'm not going to because for once I found myself exploring some places that I don't want others to go.


    Not because it was illegal or that I was trespassing or anything - in fact quite the opposite - every time I came to a fence or a track end I dutifully turned around and went down the next fork or next trail, but in doing so ... well let's just leave it there, and say that this time my photos and thoughts are just for me.

    I eventually returned to the main Dam track and watched the guys racing their sailing yachts, thinking as I did how like them I really am, before bidding goodbye to what was a wonderful day and heading home.



    Saturday, 16 June 2012

    A little less lost ...

    Living the dream ...

    Don't worry team, I'll show you which way to go ...
    Yep, I had another sea skills session today, but unfortunately I was still sporting a compass which got a little indistinct in the 260 to 320 degree arc area.

    ...maybe I need a new compass.
    You think you'd get away with this seeing that leaves you 300 out of 360 degrees to play with,  but sure enough, pretty much every point we took a bearing on today was right in that range. 

    I thought I was hiding my compasses deficiencies fairly well until I navigated us straight into the back of the Aurora Australis (sorry Australian Government, who knew a kayak could dent an ice breaker).


    Actually it was extremely cool paddling right up underneath and alongside an icebreaker and touching its (very abused) side knowing that the metal I was touching had pushed through the ice-sheet of Antarctica.

    Unfortunately my request for a pen so I could write "JD woz 'ere" on the side wasn't well received by my fellow paddlers.

    Wusses.

    Friday, 15 June 2012

    MSCEIT'od

    Imagine feeling "cold, slow and sharp" -  OK, got that it in your head ...  now tell me how much you relate that feeling to being challenged, isolated or surprised.

    How about "loud, large, delicate and bright green".  Think about it - how strongly do you relate that to being excited, jealous or afraid.

    What about this image below - how much of the feelings of being happy, disgusted, jealous or sad are expressed in that image?


    These were just three of 141 question that I was bombarded with as I completed a 45 minute MSCEIT test today to assess my emotional intelligence. 

    Worryingly, not one of the questions seemed to make any sense to me at all. 

    They survey included pictures of faces which I had to rank for how strongly I saw emotions like anger, frustration, sadness, happiness and envy  ... I saw nothing.

    They showed me pictures of waves crashing on cliffs and trees dying in deserts and asked me how I related them to different emotions ... I just thought they were pretty, which of course wasn't an option.

    They gave me complex emotional scenarios, and then asked me to assess how good different responses would be in resolving them ... thank god for multiple choice questions.

    They asked things like "Fear, joy, surprise and embarrassment are all parts of ..." and no "a stupid MSCEIT survey" wasn't one of the five options they offered as potential answers.

    For the first time in my life I walked away from a test having no idea what it was all about ...it was like sitting an exam for a subject which you've never actually studied.

    When it comes to emotional intelligence, I think I'm expecting an F.

    Thankfully that won't be a surprise.  I am looking forward to the results though.

    Small wonders

    It's a common theme in my life that it is usually the small things that excite me or make me smile so deeply that I feel the joy and happiness in every single part of my body.

    This morning I was walking to work, and decided at the last moment to go and get a coffee so detoured through Parliament lawns.

    It was on this short detour that I saw some fungi growing out of a tree above my head. I love fungi and just knowing that they're there, so close that I can see them from the window in my office just brings on one of those deep rewarding smiles.

    Fungi in tree, and my office building in the background.

    As does the fact I can type a blog message, including photos, on my iPhone in the time it takes my work computer to start up and log me in.

    Small wonders, don't ignore them.

    Monday, 11 June 2012

    Maria Island

    Why would anyone want to be a trip coordinator, and more importantly why would I?

    Being a trip coordinator - a lonely life.
    To be honest, I'm not really sure, and despite the fact that I know I really shouldn't be coordinating trips I seem to somehow be falling into the trap of coordinating them.

    It started back in July last year whilst sitting around a campfire on Sloping Island when I asked the club members present why they weren't going on more club trips. The resounding answer was that most trips were too fast paced and too far - so I put on some Wednesday night paddles at half pace and half distance, and I had some great turnouts and therefore promptly concluded I was a genius and a leader of the masses.

    Then I put on a 100km overnight paddle from Huonville to Hobart, and no one turned up, not even me.  I mean seriously100kms?  I crawled back into my cave, deciding that I was obviously a misunderstood genius.

    Hey, if you're going to crawl into a cave, it may as well be a cool one.
    I stayed in my cave for quite a few months, but then my cousin Bec said she wanted to do something different for her birthday, and somehow I suggested a paddle and she jumped on the idea before I had a chance to realise what I had just done. Next, she suggested it would be good if some other people came along ... and voila - I was once again coordinating a club trip.

    After considering several options, we finally settled on a three day trip to Maria Island ... somewhat encouraged by the offer of a half price ferry fare and accommodation (hey, it was Bec's Birthday so I was paying ...).

    View from our front porch at the Penitentiary accommodation.
    We had three other takers in addition to Bec, Kim and myself, but then one dropped out sick and another decided that the regional sea conditions looked a bit too scary for her and so we were down to four.  Luckily another club member, Jean, also had a proficient grade trip on for the weekend and only had one taker so we merged trips (well, sort of - they paddled to and from the island, whilst we put our boats on the ferry) and we were back up to six.

    After a saga getting ourselves organised on Saturday, Kim, Bec and I headed out for a short paddle around the Ile De Nord, just off the coast of Maria Island, and although I give Bec and Kim full points for their efforts (neither having been in a kayak for years, if at all) I soon realised that I had two paddlers with me who probably shouldn't be doing the trips we had planned over the next two days.  Lesson One for a trip coordinator ..  determining a paddlers skill levels after you get on the water is not a good idea.  realising that is genius people.

    Paddling back towards Maria Island.
    Tania had opted for a walk up Bishop and Clerk on the left.
    Don't get me wrong, they were both good beginners, but we were planning on heading off around the outside of Maria Island, with large swells coming in off the Tasman Sea and nearly unbroken cliffs for 10kms ... the kind of place that when things go wrong, they go really wrong.  This was not the place for "good beginners".

    Anyway, after a short 12km paddle where we went through kayaking signals, group paddling and the forward paddle stroke, we returned to the beach at Darlington just in time to see one of the most amazing sunsets I've ever seen.  Fingers of light lit up the coast of mainland Tasmania as the sun filtered through the trees.  It was just superb.  Unfortunately, my genius doesn't extend to taking photographs of sunsets.  This is as close as I could get:

    Sunset from Darlington Beach, looking out towards Triabunna.
    We had a BBQ with much red wine and cake that night to celebrate Bec's birthday, then gloating to those who we left behind in their tents, we wandered back to our nice comfy beds in our room heated by a roaring log fire.  We then proceeded to lie awake for hours on end due to the screeching children in the room next door and a room that was so overheated we could have stepped into a sauna to cool down.

    It was good to get back on the nice cool water the next morning.


    We had decided, despite my concerns, to head off towards beaching bay and amongst the hundred and one things that I forgot to do in my pre-launch safety briefing was to nominate a front paddler to set the pace for the group.

    Cruising along, I mean really cruising.
    I therefore found myself in the interesting situation 3 or 4 kms into the trip where the stronger paddlers in the group would find themselves regularly stopping waiting for the newer paddlers to keep up ... and of course the newer paddlers would then also stop paddling thinking that it was a break time.  Thankfully Jean pointed out the obvious to me ... at this pace we would never make it to Beaching Bay ... and so I fumbled my way through trying to tell my dear cousin and girlfriend to get their butts into gear as we needed to speed up or we'd never make it. 

    Thankfully geniuses aren't expected to be good communicators with the common folk, which is why I think I did that bit less than well.  Lesson two: On a beginners trip, never assume the obvious, such as that people will realise that we need to keep paddling.

    Fortunately, we ended up having darn near perfect weather conditions for the rest of the day, and so were easily able to not only potter down to Beaching Bay admiring the high cliffs and many waterfalls, but we got to dance in and out of rock gardens and caves and we even got a very easy landing on beaching bay for an early lunch.  That was pretty special.

    Playing in the kelp gardens, base of fossil cliffs.

    Water seep, Fossil Cliffs

    Paddling around the outer shore of Maria Island, notice the savage swell

    Look at those forecast 3 metre swells :) not.

    A cool something or other on Beaching Bay
    Landing spot on beaching bay.
    Interesting wood, rock and kelp on beaching bay.
    After an early lunch, we had cool fun sliding 2 or 3 metres down the steep rocky beach as we seal launched into the light surf before retracing our steps back around to Darlington.

    I learnt lesson three just after we got back on the water from Beaching Bay: clear communication is important, but still doesn't work if people don't know the rules.  In this case, after mumbling to one person that I wanted to paddle around a little outcropping, and then telling another person that we were paddling back, but she could head around the outcropping if she wanted to, the two of them happily set off towards the outcropping... and kept on going and going and going.  Rather than the quick sprint around the outcropping which I had envisaged, they went off exploring the next bay leaving the rest of us floating around waiting.

    Jean and I held our paddles up in the air to signify they should return to the group immediately, and I blew my whistle again and again .. but the interesting thing was that because they didn't really want to return to the group, they later told us that despite hearing our whistle, they basically just decided not to.  They figured everything was all right and so kept on exploring ... just for a little bit longer.  There's the lesson - don't leave any doubt in people's mind that when they hear a whistle and see a paddle in the air, that they should come now.  Also don't forget to remind people that they should be constantly scanning and checking on the rest of the group.

    Anyway, fortunately in this case it didn't really matter, and we all enjoyed a great paddle back and I learnt more important lessons about how not to coordinate a trip.


    View of Bishop and Clerk from the east side of the Island.

    One of the many little inlets we explored.
    After another great night of food, wine, good company ... and thankfully sleep, we set off on day three without Kim who had decided to have a day off the water and go walking with Andreas instead (charmer that he is).  So it was just Bec, Tania, Jean, Jai and myself who set off down the inside of the island towards Booming Bay.

    We stopped off at the Painted Cliffs, but spent more time watching a huge crayfish just off the cliffs than we did the cliffs themselves.


    Painted Cliffs
    Crayfish (underwater shot)

    After continuing down to Four Mile Creek, Jean and Jai bid us farewell as they took a compass bearing and headed off to Rhebans Beach for their return leg to mainland Tasmania, whilst Bec, Tania and I continued on down to the Ruins just above Encampment Cove for a quick lunch.


    Although the day was overcast, it was still a beautiful days paddle with very little wind, crystal clear water, and more wombats running along the shore than I've seen in the last two years.


    We even got a bit of rain on the way back, but it was never cold, and we managed to get back with enough time to get changed into our dry clothes and have a cup of coffee before it was time to load ourselves back onto the ferry for the trip home.

    All up, I learned a lot of lessons in trip coordination over the course of the weekend, and importantly I think I began to understand a bit more why someone might want to be a trip coordinator ... not only do you get to take people to places that they wouldn't otherwise get to go ... you get to chose where they go, and most importantly you all get to have a great time to boot.

    As to my genius in trip coordination ... well that might still need a little more proving up, but at least I haven't killed anyone ... yet.

    Now where shall my next trip be ...