Chatham Historic Dock Revisited

Making the most of my first day off since officially starting working my hours over a nine day fortnight, I spent the day at the historic dockyard. As well as revisiting the historic lifeboat collection and the obligatory tour of HMS Ocelot I enjoyed my first tour of the ropewalk and the WWI exhibition.

Below is an album combining photographs from my 2013 and 2014 visits to Chatham Historic Dock.

Río Lagartos and Ek Balam

On the third day in Mexico we headed to the Northern coast of the Yucatan peninsular to Río Lagartos. From here we were taken on our own boat through the Mangroves to see the Flamingoes. We also saw Pelicans, Egrets and Herons. We also spent some time on a very beautiful beach.

In the afternoon we headed back to Ek Balam which was just as amazing as Chichén Itzá although much quieter. On the way back to the hotel we were stopped at gunpoint at one of the Army checkpoints whilst they searched in the boot of our car.

Chichén Itzá

The first part of our trip to Mexico involved a four day guided tour around the Yucatan Peninsula. After arriving into Mexico we were met at the Cancun airport by our tour guide Carlos Santos who drove us all the way to our hotel in Piste, next to the Chichén Itzá archaeological site. As luck would have it we were the only people booked on to the tour and so we effectively had our own guide for the duration of the tour. On arriving at our hotel in Piste we had dinner in the hotel restaurant.

We set off early to Chichén Itzá which was only a five minute drive which meant that we arrived hours before the tour buses from the coastal resorts. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and very passionate about the Mayan culture. The ruins were more spectacular than I imagined, partly because many of them have obviously been rebuilt and so looked more impressive than the pictures that I remembered from books on ancient civilisations that I loved to read as a child.

Sailing @ Canada Water

This weekend I completed an RYA Level 1 sailing course at Surrey Docks Watersports Centre. The course took place over two days and was organised by Croydon Sailing Club. It was great to get out on to Greenland Dock which has a fantastic history as well as to finish off in the Wibbly Wobbly floating pub. I plan to complete further RYA courses in the future.

Righting the Boat

Righting the Boat by Climbing on to the Dagger Board

Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboarding Electric Pump

I purchased my iSUP board about a year ago and absolutely love paddleboarding! The iSUP concept has been perfect for my London lifestyle, where I have limited storage, and use public transport. My only issue has been the time it takes to pump the board to the required pressure using a hand pump – it was taking me about 40 minutes to get my board ready for use.

I did some research into electric pumps and after wasting £15 on a cheap “compressor” style pump which died halfway though the first trial inflation, I finally opted for the BRAVO 12V Air Pump Inflator BTP12. There are two versions of this (I opted for the digital version), both of which can be purchased from various sellers on E-bay and pumps up to 14.5PSI. Most other battery powered pumps available do not reach this pressure. I then purchased a 12V 8.5 Ah lead acid battery. A few trial inflations showed that the setup would work perfectly – the pump gets the board to the required pressure in under 4 minutes. Unable to take my new pump on to the water, I then purchased a 80L Pacsafe stuffsack. The stuffsack is contained within a wire bag which can be securely fastened to an immovable object. I now have a fast method to get the board ready, and somewhere secure the place the pump. This makes the after-work paddle much more feasible.

  • BRAVO 12V Air Pump Inflator BTP12 D
  • 12V 8.5 Ah lead acid battery (this fits inside the BRAVO bag)
  • Pacsafe 80L Stuffsack

Alcohol Free February 2014

I missed the traditional new year alcohol free month of January, but made a deal with one of my sisters that if she abstained during January then I would do the same in February. Four weeks later I can say that I successfully completed this challenge, although I am enjoying a beer whilst writing this…. I even managed to create a web application using FPDF to allow users to print out a customised month calendar for this kind of challenge (Example below).