Adventure, Cape Clear, Cork, Kayaking, Photography, West Cork

Cape Clear sea caves, pt 1 stills, trialing SONY action cam

By @SimonCocking using SONY live-view remote kit

Wave heights dropped to under 2 metres, and low tide, a great combination to actually get out and into the sea caves of South Harbour. First impressions of the SONY action cam after the images. See videos here.


After a brief uphill experience trying to work out how to make the wrist controller talk to the camera we were in business. It would have been good if the camera came with a memory card as this is a barrier to being able to just turn it all on and use it. The wrist device is also made for a right handed person, which is naturally going to be an inconvenience to the other 20% of the world. You can wear it on your right hand (generally the watch hand for lefties) but it digs into your hand, whereas on the left hand it would sit more comfortably over your wrist / lower arm.

With this minor issues out of the way, it was a great way to film and take stills while out paddling. This is worth a lot, as putting down the paddle to take out a camera is not always an option. For this reason we liked it. The camera also comes with a variety of fittings to allow you to fix it to the device of your choice. We added it to a helmet, and then also to the front of the car too. Both worked well. You can see from the images above that they are slightly slanted, so this is something you would need to keep an eye on, to make sure you have it aligned optimally.

Overall we enjoyed using it, and it also quickly inspired us to think of other ways it might be used too. So far so good.






Adventure, Canon, Canon PowerShot, Cape Clear, Digital Photography, Photography, Uncategorized

Inside the sea cave, finally, still pretty hairy

By @SimonCocking using Canon Powershot D30

As you may have worked out from the last few posts (I, IIIII, it’s been pretty choppy and swelly this last week. Weather stats for today suggested wave height of ‘only 1.8 metres’ rather than the 2.3 for the last attempt. So I figured give it one more go before the camera went back. Got in, but still a little more wavy than it was back in the summer.

All videos 10 seconds are less. On returning to shore to show the pictures to my director and inspiration she said to me ‘is that all you got?’ I laughed and said you try putting the paddle down, filming smoothly, and not capsizing.





Adventure, Ed Stafford, Fiji, Travel

Naked and Marooned

Naked and Marooned book

2014 Ed Stafford

60 days, dropped, naked, on an island. Though, with some safety supports in case he got really sick. I imagine that after Bear Grylls shows, they had to be a little more upfront about what was actually there and what wasn’t – some of those scenes where he declares ‘I am completely alone’ and yet you’re wondering who is filming him from that angle 60 feet up a tree. Stafford clearly explains he is self filming, but has a designated drop point where he will put filled up memory cards. On another island, 8 miles away, is his emergency rescue team.

You might think that 60 days isn’t that long to be completely alone. Though of course how often do we even manage to be alone for even a few hours, let alone a whole day.  This meant that very quickly he began to realise his mental health was going to be as important as his physical.

Books like this you enjoy for the escapist nature of them. It’s great that he’s living on a tropical island. It’s a nice idea, but the challenge is that you get dragged down into dealing with the day to day challenges. For him, it’s the thirst, hunger, and the physical discomfort of his drafty cave. When it came to writing up the book, he was able to look back and celebrate the sunsets. In many ways this is a good metaphor for our own daily lives, where we do have beauty and special moments, but the challenge is to enjoy them, without being distracted by the day to day annoyances of life.

This book follows a traditional narrative arc. He gradually gets better at catching food, water, and improving his shelter. However the whole way through he talks about how much he missed his partner, and questioning why he decided to do it. The book then takes an interesting turn in the epilogue section.

Thor Heyerdahl

In many explorer books, the woman at home is celebrated, and yet at the same time you wonder if he loves her so much why did they leave them alone for so long. A good example is Thor Heyerdahl. A legendary explorer, Kon Tiki Voyage and other mega adventures. I love Heyerdahl’s adventures, but the whole time I read his books I wondered about the partner and children that he left at home for long, long periods of time. In his autobiography too, as he sails through the fascinating stories of his life, there is always a trusty woman at home. His rock etc, etc, and then you realise, with no explanation, their name has changed, and he’s married to someone else. I mention this because Stafford’s book is different to this.

Plot spoiler, if you don’t want to know what happened after the show, stop reading.

Up to this point, his story was quite normal, in an extreme adventure sort of way. Then there is a break in story, followed by a large number of tally marks. Time has passed, and, suddenly … his girl friend is calling the doctor. Turns out he is having a nervous breakdown. Then you get the big reveal. Reading the book, you do wonder why he wanted to be away from everyone for so long. Yes we like the idea of it, but we don’t actually, really, want to be gone for so so long. I’ve been home alone, completely alone, (yes it was a long long time ago), and after less than two days I was talking to the cat more than necessary.

Stafford’s psychologist is summonsed from Chiswick and tells him that it’s more normal to react in this way, a post traumatic stress reaction. He then speculates that maybe he wanted to do all of his extreme challenges (he also spent 2 1/2 years tracing the route of the Amazon) because he was adopted. At which point you put your hand to your head and say doh! Of course it all makes sense, but still a pretty extreme way to deal with it.

On the island he has his epiphany. p302

“As the penny dropped I couldn’t stop smiling. I was so elated that I radiated gratitude and happiness, the whites of my eyes shining like wet moons. I saw how I’d always been trying to get somewhere, never satisfied with who I was or where I was. But the moment I stopped trying so hard I came to understand what I’d already got.”

I think this is why we enjoy travel books. They are great stories, they inspire us, and they also help to give us a point of reference to look at what we do have around us now, and to try and value appreciate this. We will never be as rich or successful as someone else might appear to be, but it shouldn’t matter so much to us, and our own inner peace / calm / serenity / sense of perspective.

His website has good resources and information 

I’ve yet to find the whole series yet online, but here are some snippets from the show.

Naked ana Marooned TV show