Gumbies

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Women's Kayak Tour 2008 in Amakusa

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今年のシーカヤックアカデミーで「おんなのこ あつまれっ!」の講座がありました。この講座は三重県に住んでいる平山泉さんが担当しました。私は天草のローカルカヤッカーですので彼女のアシスタントとして参加しました。
アカデミーの前の木曜日泉さんと一緒に富岡半島をあちこち漕ぎながら、ここが危険、この浜が上陸可能、この辺の流れが速い、緊急状態になったら色々なシナリオなど、様々の事について考えました。この辺りの経験が多いので核心の四季咲き岬の辺を回る時、私はリーダーになると決めました。
私はカヤッキングとしてたくさんの経験があるが、リーダーとして初めての経験でしたのでかなりその責任を感じました。その一週間前ずーっと色々悩んだ。
やっと日曜日の朝早く起きて、サーフカヤックで海の状態を見に行きました。 日曜日の朝は美しかった。丁度良いうねりが入っていて、波を綺麗に乗りました。その状態だったら岬を無事に回るだろうと考えました。

At the Sea Kayak Academy this year in Amakusa, there was a “women’s only touring” seminar. Izumi Hirayama, a guide from Mie Prefecture, led this course. As I (Leanne) am a local kayaker, I was asked to be her assistant. On the Thursday before the conference Izumi and I scoped the course, determining challenging areas, beaches where we could land, turnaround points, and areas with significant sea currents. We also thought about various emergency scenarios. We decided that I would lead the group around the exposed cape Shikizaki since I am familiar with the area. Although I have a lot of experience kayaking, this was to be my first challenge leading a group of kayakers of various ability levels in a potentially dangerous area. All week I mulled around in my head the various scenarios that could occur. Finally the day of our tour arrived, and with very little sleep I woke up at an early hour and went surfing. I figured there was little sense in staying in bed working myself up. The morning was beautiful with a small swell coming in, creating excellent conditions for easy surfing. Windless conditions with a swell coming in from the southwest set the stage for our women’s tour.

group

今日のツーリングは初心者から西表のガイドのサエコさんまで経験も様々の七人のカヤッカーでした。このダイナミックなチームで半島を回ろうと一緒に決めました。うねりが入っていたので、一緒に地図を見ながら、岬を回る時特に気をつけましょうと決めて、ツーリングの計画を立てました。皆に緊張させたくなかったけど、危険なブーマーについて色々注意するのは重要でした。実は緊張感はある程度良いことと思いました。十分緊張しないと間違える可能性が高くなるだろう。

Seven women with abilities ranging from beginners to experienced kayakers made up the group. Saeko, who is a guide in Iriomote, was the third experienced person beside Izumi and myself. With this dynamic team we would attempt the circumnavigation of the peninsula. Together we looked at a detailed map of the area and discussed the various strategies for the trip. Due to the swell, the area around the cape concerned us especially, with its sunken rocks that can create dangerous boomer waves when least expected. We discussed how we would proceed through this danger-riddled area with noticeable tension in everyone’s faces and bodies. I didn’t want to scare anyone, but at the same time I thought it was very important for people to be aware of the dangers, and act with appropriate caution. I always have thought that a certain amount of nervousness makes one pay close attention to their environment.

やっと海水浴場から楽に全員は波を突破して、出発しました。本当にやっているよ!女性だけのツーリングは始まった!前半は半島の西海岸を通って、うねりがあったから海岸からちょっと離れて漕ぎました。岬の大チャレンジは大丈夫かなー??岬の手前のツツマ瀬で流れが強くなる前にちょっと休憩して、全員の調子はどうですか、大丈夫ですかと確認しました。皆がオケーでしたので進もうと決めました。

girls2

At last we set off from the shore, easily breaking through the surf near the beach. We were really doing it! Seven women alone with no support were going to embark on a journey! The first part of the trip followed the west coast of the peninsula. Since there was swell, we gave the shore a wide berth and paddled happily along. Nearing the rocks known as Tsutsuma, the group convened to check on everyone’s condition. Were we ready for the challenges ahead, or should we turn back? We decided to persevere in going around the cape.

ずっと悩んだ瞬間がやっと来ました。ブーマーが出なくても暗礁の位置を覚えていたが、GPSを確認しながら蛇のように岬を回りました。初心者のパドラーは私のすぐ右側に揃えて、平山泉さんは皆を後ろから守っていた。陸標を見ながらゆっくりゆっくり進みました。全員は間違い無しで岬を回ったから、ほっとしました。灯台を見に行きたかったけど、岬を回って来るうねりのせいで上陸場はサーフゾーンになっていて不可能でした。後二キロ程漕いで、小さい砂浜で上陸して、トイレをしたり、おやつを食べたりしました。

misaki

This was the moment I had worked myself up for over the past few weeks. Threading our way through the boomers, keeping the beginner paddlers directly to my right, we ever so slowly made our way around the projecting cape. The scene was spooky with boomers exploding on either side of us. Keeping various landmarks in alignment, I was able to steer the girls through the rocks with no incident. All members performed flawlessly as we made our way around the exposed point. Finally after rounding the point we could relax slightly, although our planned stop at the lighthouse was impossible due to the swell wrapping around the point, causing surf on the rocky beach. We continued on without stopping until we came to another little beach. Finally we stopped for a snack and a bathroom break.

後半はのんびりで静でした。うねりはもう届かなかったので、安心して、しゃべりながら美しい海岸を見て通った。最後の休憩は曲崎でご飯を食べました。また出艇するとゴールの港まで5分もなかったからスプリントしました。最後のチャレンジで海水浴場までカヤックを運びました。

carrying the boats

The rest of the trip was relaxing and tranquil. Now protected from the swell, we were able to paddle close to shore, enjoying talking with each other, and marveling at the beauty of the coastline. Our last stop was at Magarizaki where we had lunch. From there it was just a short 5-minute sprint to the shore near the ferry port. The final challenge was carrying the kayaks the 300 meters or so across the isthmus back to our starting point.

ツーリング中で明らかになったことは女性だけのツーリング だったら皆に合うような計画をチーム全員で決めなければなりません。一つのリーダーより7人のメンバーの強さをまとめて成功しました。

A big strength in a women’s only group is the ability to discuss the situation together as a team, and come up with a solution that suits all members. There didn’t seem to be a leader, but rather seven different members with a variety of things to contribute to the group.

平山泉さんに特に感謝します。泉さんのおかげでこの素晴らしい精力的なチームが出来ました。カヤック始まったからもう四年になりますが、その間何回か一人で出た事があって、一回か2回ぐらい男性と女性と一緒に漕いだことがあるけど今回は初めて女性達だけと一緒に漕ぎました。

We are all thankful to Izumi, for creating this wonderful dynamic as the group leader. Through her careful guidance she made all members achieve to the fullest of their potentials. Personally, in my four years of kayaking, I have gone kayaking alone only a few times. I have kayaked with other females maybe only once or twice, and I had never kayaked with women only before.

男性と女性は別々過ごしている世界が目的ではありません。女と男、若者と年寄り、黒人と白人は皆平等で暮らす事が大事と思います。しかし、日本ではシーカヤックはまだまだ新しいスポーツです。今は真面目にやっている男性シーかヤッカーが女性より多いと思います。女性は男性より確かに体力が少ないけど、カヤックは力だけで成功するはずはないです。カヤックをする時チームのペースを一緒に決めたり、いい決断をしたり、お互いのことを気遣したり、全員が楽しんだりする事は大切だと思います。

I don’t believe in creating a world where men and women are separated. I think it is necessary for us to learn to live in this world together, men and women, old and young, black and white etc. Since sea kayaking in Japan is still a relatively new sport, I think most of us women seakayakers exist in a mostly male environment. Although women are generally known as the weaker sex, kayaking is not only about strength. It is about working as a team, making good decisions, setting a pace that all members can maintain, and having a good time.

okinawa stamp

Thanks to Saeko for sending me some great photos! Please check out her blog for her version of the trip.

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3 Comments:

  • good job Leanne!

    By Blogger lubo, at 1:16 am  

  • Hi there, I've really enjoyed looking around your site - I was in Amakusa over Golden Week, around Ishibuka. It's a beautiful place. That marine chart image you posted for Shikizaki is great-really useful. Can I ask where it's from?

    Thanks!

    By Blogger seadreamer, at 9:31 pm  

  • hi seadreamer,

    we like ushibuka too, it is our favorite place to kayak around here. as for the chart, we made it ourselves. but it only covers a small part of amakusa, the tomioka peninsula in the northwest. glad you like it though.

    By Anonymous gumbies, at 3:08 am  

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