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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Riding along on the crest of a wave

Well this weekend was a challenge on many levels, not only the weather but the tasks and expectations laid upon us to successfully complete our training course. Hours in the classroom with charts, almanacs, transits, buoyage, pilotage, plotters, divider, lat/long, talk about information overload!
Jill navigates back throught the Clackmannan and Kincardine bridges
The difference between PB level 2 and PB Intermediate is like going from discover scuba to divemaster in one hit. But it was worth it though. After slogging though facts, figures, tides, and feats of mental agility we had work out our passage from the marina to the mouth of the Carron and all the way up to the locks which allow access to the Forth and Clyde canal system.
Flowing locks...
 We had the blue skies, a 10 knt SW and light swell so we made good time and saw quite a few seals catching some rays on the channel marker buoys although verifying bearings in a bouncing RIB whilst communicating that info to your driver whilst whipping along at 20 knts is a bit of an aquired skill. 

We hit all of our marks and made our way through the (very) shallows of the Carron to moor up and check out the minature sculptures of the big versions that will be put in place at the entrance to the mouth of the new canal system that'll be finished in 2013.
This is a minature sculpture. The real ones will be several hundred feet high!
Once the tide had started heading in, we had a bit more room to manouver the channel before making out to open water again. By this time, the swell had picked up and it was averaging 1.5m swell which made driving the way points pretty interesting. 

One student was so focused on driving as fast as possible, he nearly put the whole RIB under the water after a bad landing from a wave. Video below, incendent at 22 second mark, Jill on the left, student driving, David, instructor on the right and me holding on for grim death by the transom. Turn down the volume (lots of wind noise).
Interesting experience. I've dived hundreds of wrecks but never been on one as it was almost created! Hell of an impact hitting the water, nearly needed new fillings! Suffice to say that after a change of drivers, we did make it back to the marina in one piece and thankfully our certification as well.

David was also kind enough to give myself and Jill a ton of reading materials, manuals and charts free of charge for being excellent students. Which was nice. Now we have even more reading and studying before we can complete our advanced PB course. 
I get to drive for a change. Now, which way is North??