Wednesday, 5 June 2013

An Assistant's Life - part three - a typical day - continued

Sometimes, before we even get to the snacks, Rod will decide that the day has been too sedate and declare 'rescue practice' and yes, this means assistants as well (once they have emptied their boats of perishables) or wants to demonstrate that two guides can roll a double, roll a double without spraydecks, roll a double full of water, paddle a double full of water around a figure of eight course - well you get the picture.
Some join in enthusiastically while others hide far up the beach. Rod is generally encouraging, but if people really don't want to try something, they normally get away with it - anyone would think they were on holiday and here to enjoy themselves.

Rescue practice at morning stop
After morning break, it is back to paddling - unless there is much wave action, most of the group will manage to launch themselves. Maybe we will have moved from a relatively sheltered cave strewn section of coast to something more exposed and perhaps more challenging. Wind on the stern quarter might lead to a rapid deployment of rudders and skegs for those that have them, and advice on sweep strokes for those without, though most of the boats track pretty well. Some groups go a bit quiet at this stage as they knuckle down to a bit of work and maybe have to concentrate a little more on what they are doing with the paddle. Others really get in to the paddling and become animated and chatty.

If the group is going well, I can roam about and talk to various people - what kayaking they do at home, how long they are on Milos (day trippers), what they do for a living, etc - hard to believe that you are hearing this from me I know. If there are stragglers, I have to take my tail-end Charlie duties more seriously and make sure we really do get everyone to the lunch spot.

The lunch spot will naturally be another idyllic beach or remote rocky outcrop, but the landings are not always straightforward. Some of the beaches have steep shingle and some, of course, have surf. Some, well you are way ahead of me I am sure. The assistants dilemma surrounds whether to wait at sea until everyone is safely on the beach, or run ashore and help people land. For some locations - mainly the rocky landings - there is a well practiced routine, but for others it is a case of how much surf, how competent are the paddlers, etc.

Rocky landing at Kleftico
Lunchtime is usually pretty leisurely with about an hour and a half of swimming, snorkeling, stone balancing, juggling, sunbathing or just plain chilling, broken up by the food - bread, cheese, ham, tuna, onions, tomatoes, cucumber from Rod's 'father-in-law's yard', followed by melon, grapes or cherries - life is hard out here.

Happy eaters
To be continued:

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