Sunday, June 29, 2014

Winter winds and epic storms have arrived, be careful kitesurfing

We have had some epic storms in Melbourne during the last 2 weeks of June, including winds of over 50 knots.  Such winds whip up huge waves in Port Phillip Bay, as you can see from the photo at Mornington Pier below.

Mornington pier in 50 knot winds
Brighton car park in 50 knot winds.
Check out the wind graphs for Tuesday 24 June, the same day the above photos were taken:




If you are experienced, it is possible to get some kitesurfing in before or after big storm fronts, but over 40 knots (even with a small kite) can be very dangerous.

For information and tips on staying safe see:  Kitesurfing storm fronts (Kitesurfing Handbook)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Kitesurfing strong winter wind at Frankston

Stuart and James had a great morning session in a strong northerly at Frankston.  I headed down to take some photos as I am still recovering from my broken collarbone.

Winter winds are strong.  They were both well powered on smaller kites - 7m for Stuart and 10m for James.  There was only one other kite visible further down past the pier and hardly anyone on the beach.

They were out for about 50 minutes then came in, both tired.  The wind was building too as another front approached.

















 


Monday, June 23, 2014

Healing after the crash, no kitesurfing for a while

Four weeks after my bike crash, my shoulder is healing well.  Here are x-rays of the plate and screws that have been put in to secure the collarbone.

I am off pain killers and can now move my arm quite well, but the plate restricts how high I can reach.   Sneezing still hurts - the reflexive judder can really jolt the shoulder.

I have been on the exercise bike some mornings - I am almost up to getting back on my bike.  I get flashbacks of the crash and hitting the road hard though.

I have had four gentle Iyenga yoga sessions now which I think help the healing.  Tony Rothberg of Bridge Yoga is a great instructor who keeps on eye on any special needs of anyone in his class.  

Boroondara Council has looked at the speed hump and plans to fix the road surface near it and upgrade it to more modern standards, with a bike passage so hopefully other cyclists will avoid as similar crash.

The forced break from kitesurfing is very frustrating, but I am spending some time increasing my skills in flying my quadcopter. Hopefully I will be able to get some good kitesurfing footage with it.

My shoulder is reviewed on 8 August. If it is fully healed the plate will come out and I can regain full mobility and function of the arm.


I have been marvelling at the innate intelligence of the human body.  How do all those cells know how and what to repair?  What directs them? Is it all really just coded in DNA?  The bruising and tissue damage is repaired, ligaments and connective tissue replaced and bone regrown. 

Monday, June 02, 2014

Another bike crash, another broken bone

Its been a bad year for me so far regarding "accidents".  I was thinking that I had done well to get over two broken transverses process (back, January) then a fractured fibula (bike crash with car,  February).

But cycling to work on Tuesday 27/5, I was distracted while cycling along a short section of paved road in Ferndale Road approaching Glen Iris Road.  I hit the very nasty small speed hump there and came down hard on my right shoulder.

I have had some helpful suggestions about using trainer wheels, slowing down and stopping cycling.  I raced pushbikes on the road for over 10 years (one crash, wheel slipped on wet corner) and I have commuted for over 30 years with about 3 crashes and 2 serious injuries (both this year).

 I was travelling at 14km/h. The speed hump does not comply with Australian Design specifications and should be replaced as it is unsafe.

Broken shoulder - before
I was in pain and could feel a big lump on my shoulder, so I called Lena who picked me up and took me into Epworth emergency.  The x-ray showed a bad bread of my clavicle, requiring surgery to put in a plate. 

Not good, really not good . . .

I spend and uncomfortable night sleeping in the chair at home then want back to hospital on Wednesday for the operation.  It was a bit unnerving waiting all afternoon, but eventually they got to me.  I shuffled off the bed onto the operating table then awoke after the operation with the previous hour or so expunged from my consciousness.

Broken shoulder
I went home on Thursday after a night in hospital.  I have been carrying the arm in a sling and taking it out occasionally to keep it moving.  Regular strong pain killers are needed while it settles down and starts healing.

Shoulder - after operation
So once again I conclude that kitesurfing is safer than riding a bike around Melbourne.   I am counting down the days until I can get back on the water. Unfortunately, it could be a while.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Northerly at Brighton, great to be back kitesurfing

Session 287. Very keen to get back on the water after returning from Europe and several weeks of no kitesurfing.  James and I headed down to Frankston, but the northerly was not coming in there, so we went to Brighton.  Much better wind there.  It was light and gusty on and near the beach, but there was plenty of wind further out.

It was great to be back on the water again and feel the power of the kite.  Good speed and a few jumps, but not much swell.  The water was cool but not cold.

I went out a fair distance enjoying the views back to the city.  Another kiter was upwind. When I eventually  turned to come back in he kept going even further out - which I thought was was rather brave (or foolish) in the northerly.

Every session is a great session!





Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ski ascent and descent of the Col du Tour Noir

The bad forecast for Tuesday did not eventuate; it was a fine sunny morning.  Simon slept in after another session at Bar'D UP.  After breakfast we decided to have a go at skiing the Col du Tour Noir - a nice ski route up from the Argentiere Cirque further up from the hut.

There was a queue for tickets at Argentiere, then a queue for the first telepherique (cable car), then a longer queue for the second one to the Grand Montet.  Everyone was on it skiing the fresh snow.

We started skiing from the Grand Montet about midday.  The snow was really good compared to our previous visit - there was a good layer of soft fresh snow on top.

We skied a more direct route down to the glacier.  A few guided groups were skiing down too.  We met a group of Germans with a guide on the glacier and had a brief chat.

A dramatic powder avalanche came down the north face of Le Droite in the distance.

I was getting good grip with my skis (skin glue residue) as we skied up past the Refuge d'Argentiere and commenced climbing the Amethyst Glacier.  It was nice skiing. The cloud base kept quite high so the views were good.

My bottom lip has been blasted by the sun so I was wearing a bandana over my mouth some of the time, along with applying some heavy duty lip protection.

I skied up to a "false col" where six skiers were resting - they departed soon after I got there.  The proper col was further up and did not look far - but it was!  My skis were balling up so I stopped to put my skins on and have some chocolate and a drink.  Very hot today in the sun with no wind, so I was sweating a lot.

One more push to the Col, at last!  The altitude slowed my down, more so than on the Col Chardonnet and the Col l'Evenque.  I arrived there at about 5pm, I think I started the climb at about 2pm so it took 3 hours. Great view down to the Saleina glacier and across to the Fenetre de Saliena.

The clouds looked like they might descend so after a short rest I started skiing down.  The snow up high was crusty and difficult to turn in but it got better as I descended to Simon who was making good progress but was still 45 minutes from the top.  We descended together and got some nice powder snow in sections, then wetter snow lower down that was easy to ski in.

The glacier was visible but crevasses were not a problem on the ski route.

It was slower skiing down the Argentiere glacier on wet snow, then the traverse to the cat track and down it to the lift station.  The track down to Argentiere was marked closed due to sections that have melted out, but we had a good run down with nobody else around.

A short walk to at the bottom took us to a bus. Back in Chamonix we headed to Elevation 1904 Bar for coke, coffee, burgers and beer.

Tomorrow we are thinking of skiing in the Grand Combin region from the Panossiere hut.