Saturday, February 14, 2009


Out on the water today, we raced three OC6s with novice steerers, from Stanley Main Beach across the bay past the American Club, into Tai Tam and out again, around the buoys near the quarry at Hobie cat Beach, and back to the pier at the Sea School. I sat at seat 5 coaching the novice steerer in the boat (which mainly consisted of shouting back to him "don't paddle, just steer"; "pick a point and aim for it, don't deviate" and "keep the boat straight", it being a classic error of all new steerers to try to paddle too much rather than steer - in a race situation, the crew just want the boat to head in a consistent direction.) My crew were given a minute's head start as we were all women except for the steerer; but after 50 minutes of hard paddling we held off the other crews to finish first, despite the fact that A's steering was erratic: we zigged, and then we zagged...

The water in Stanley Bay was fairly clear, in that looking down, you could see the sand on the sea floor; but there was a strange reddish scum covering much of the sea's surface, which lapped against the boat, leaving a sticky residue as we passed. On arriving back at the pier, tomato-faced with effort (in my case at least), we floated for a while, idly watching a little sampan chugging out diesel fumes and spewing adulterated water into the sea. When they lowered a large test tube shaped object into the water it became apparent that they were taking a water sample. It was all I could do not to remark to them that 1) I could tell them what the water quality was - it was shite; and 2) they might find if they switched their diesel engine off, they would be contributing less overtly to the poor quality water they were purporting to measure.

(Picture from the Around Hong Kong Island Race, November 2008; ©Lydia Ronnenkamp)


Anon Y Mouse said...

Good job in the 6's race.

I was very chuffed with my 43:20 but due to boat pickup, I should have beaten Mr Viva El Presidente by 3 minutes and not the 1 minute(ish) I actually managed.

& yes, wasn't all that red stuff disgusting.

LottieP said...

Thank you, Anon Y Mouse. There was an eerie calm on the water yesterday: it was flat as a pancake, with this gloopy red stuff floating on it, and so much mist (and not, or not just, euphemistic mist, ie pollution) that you couldn't see across the bay.

Deke Writin said...

If the gloopy red stuff starts choking all the waterways in Hong Kong (and glows purple at night) then you know it is:

Bad news for all of us, if so.

LottieP said...

Hello, Deke. Sometimes the algae in the water glows green at night, and it sloughs away from the front of the boat like molten lava. But there are remarkable similarities between red tide (or more properly algal bloom, as there is no connection with the tides and it often isn't red) and H.G. Wells' vision.