OUR CROSSING TO ISLE OF MAN

MICHAL:
I don’t know if it is because we are from a country without sea, but the idea of crossing to different islands has always appealed to me. When we started to plan our journey there was always one island standing up while I looked on the map, the Isle of Man. In false confidence I wanted to paddle there but Natalie was clear from the beginning, we were not even to talk about it, every time I have mentioned it. So it was a big surprise when she said that she was thinking about it while we were making our progress through Cardigan Bay.
We were not too hopeful, we knew we needed perfect conditions and they were five days too early. We did not expect the good weather to last but just in case, we tried to get to Anglesey as soon as possible. It always looked like we were one day too late so we went for Menai Strait as not to waste time doing the whole Anglesey and knew that we would have an opportunity to make up our minds once in Beaumaris.
The morning we woke up at Gallows Point next to Beaumaris was one of the hardest in decision making so far. Should we go right or left? We had almost perfect forecast. Almost, as there were no wind, no waves for two days but fog, which nearly made us to turn right towards Liverpool. We could see hundred and fifty metres at most and it was not going to get better any time soon.
We pondered through maps, charts and various forecasts all morning considering our options. In the end I have decided that fog is going to lift and we went for Bull Bay.
Once we have arrived there and could see limited camping options, basically no spare place for tent, it was obvious it would be pub diner and pitching tent after dark. We went to Bull Bay Hotel, which was just next to the wall on which we were drying our stuff, and had huge sign of welcoming non residents.
This time we changed our routine, the restaurant looked very empty, and asked if they were serving food that night, and then followed with our normal question if they had WiFi. We were given bizarre answer that WiFi was just for residents as they have all business accounts on it. Even plugs we could only use if eating, which they mentioned about three times. We politely left and went to search for something else. At Trescastell Hotel they had the right approach and pointed us to a table with most plugs and provided password for connection.

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Once on line we found email with invitation from Marcus Demouth, but sadly him being in the next bay and us not wanting to go in kayaks again, we stayed in our illegally pitched tent. We were calmer, now, having a backup plan of where to crash if not going.
I have to admit that for the first time I felt little bit nervous all night, being worried about my calculations and forecasted fog patches and fog banks. Fortunately early morning sunshine cleared all worries and we set of towards Isle of Man shortly after six.

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As for crossing there is nothing much to write about, we paddled and paddled and occasionally stopped to pee, wee, drink, have a snack, take jackets off, watch water, one porpoise, some birds, a big boat and one yacht, a motor boat and two fishing boats, and then there was Port St Mary.

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NATALIE:
Some time before we started the trip and Michal had the rare occasions when he was thinking about planning, he there and now mentioned the crossings. I didn’t want to hear about them, we were not to talk about it. And so we didn’t, even when we set of on the journey. I did not feel confident, strong and mentally ready to undertake such challenge. But as we slowly set off and with each bay we crossed and the longer we sat in the boats, I began to give them a thought.
I started to think about Lundy crossing once we left from Cadwith before the Lizzard. Still the second part of it, the Bristol Channel crossing, wasn’t to be mentioned. But even that slowly changed and by Newquay we started to talk about them. You have read about both.
The Isle of Man crossing was still off bound. No way. Well, till Cardigan Bay, then it changed and I started to feel a bit confident that we may give it a go. The last crossing of Cardigan Bay was slow and tiring and a little preview of sitting in a boat with no end, but I felt ready. I only told Michal about it when we left Aberystwyth. I was even getting nervous that we would not be able to do it, as each day of good weather far away from Anglesey I despaired, that we won’t make it there on time.
The paddle through Menai Strait was great and I am glad we gave ourselves the time to make decision. The morning at Gallows Point was difficult, sea state and wind great, fog not so. Looking at OS maps showing mud and sand were putting me of North west coast of England, on the other hand it is part of the coast line. But also I like islands and Isle of Man and wanted to go there. Left, right, left, right. But really it was Michal’s decision as he would have to plan it and make sure we get there, if we dare. Well you know by now which decision was made and yes we are at IOM.

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We were lucky to have great conditions, it was long crossing, 15 hours. I found it fairly entertaining, but it’s all about the state of mind. There are few things I was thinking about during it.

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My journey to Isle of Man really started in London. When we left I wasn’t fit paddling too long or too far (I haven’t paddle for months before departure), but slowly the stamina and endurance built up. This is what we want to show to young people at Shadwell Basin Centre, it doesn’t matter where and how you start, but if you persevere you would achieve. And the sense of achievement is great, we all know about that.
The second thing which was on my mind during crossing was how similar it was to Joshua’s life. It took many paddle strokes to get from land to land, again and again and again. We couldn’t see land for hours and after the first glimpse we knew we still had hours to go. But we got there eventually. And so it is for Josh, for him to learn and achieve it would take many tries and great many repetitions. Both Josh and all people around him will give enormous effort and show great patience but they will see progress in the end. Josh is clever boy, that’s clear already, and would be able to learn great lot in order to make the most of his abilities.
So if you read this far and appreciate the big effort that is behind above mentioned achievements, please, show us all support and go to our donate page and spare few coins. In the end it all will come together and make our target. Thank you.

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YOUTH COMMENTS ON SHADWELL BASIN

Today we should be afloat again as soon as the tide at Start Point turns. We had a great time here on Hallsands Beach, met and talked to lots of lovely people, even had a shower at Seagull cottage.
While we’re paddling we’re posting a story by DIMA from Shadwell Basin. This is to remind us all the different reasons for which people go paddling.

I’ve been coming to the Shadwell Basin since I was nine, I’m 17 now already a UKCC level one coach and have done my UKCC level 2 training. I’m a three star paddler in both sea and white-water and 4 Star white-water trained. I’ve gained many national governing body qualifications met loads of new people and helped lead youth fundraising projects. Shadwell is like my second home if I would not be able to paddle I would be very stressed and agitated. If I didn’t come here I would probably be on the street with no qualifications and no motivation for life. This centre is like no other youth organisation I have ever been to and I also get this special feeling when I’m here I always feel safe always having fun and would recommend it to anyone.

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INTRODUCING JOSHUA HAROON

We would like to share with you the great achievement Joshua Haroon has made. Bellow is clip of Josh using his step by step switch.

You would probably think that there is nothing special about it, any other child could do that and maybe even much younger than Josh. You would be right, the thing is Joshua’s learning style is different to many other children. It is very  unique and requires lot of hard work done by him, his parents and professional team. The research states that children and adults who have the range of impairments and disability Josh has, need to do or try something at least approximately 2000 times before they can remember it and learn it. All this learning has to be facilitated by others.
Josh was introduced to the switch after the previous block of Bobath therapy in July last year. At the start it was used a lot in play and was placed under his feet because Josh seemed to have more control over his kicking than his hands. You can see in the clip that Josh is still keeping the left hand closed in a fist and close to his mouth as he may not yet be that confident to explore his environment fully. His right hand fortunately stays open and means that Josh is ready to explore and to learn more. This is another great step he achieved, and something which helps him now with the switch.
At the last block, February/March, his Speech and Language Therapist at Bobath saw that Josh’s understanding had increased and was able to use the switch further into play and learning. Josh also had to become accustomed to new position, sitting, and to use his hand functionally. This is very hard for Josh, because when he wants to engage the muscles in his arms he increases their tone which makes movement uncoordinated. His physiotherapist worked on reducing the tone and actually took Josh back a stage in order for him to learn to bring his arms down and out.
The added complication of Joshua’s visual impairment means that he is not motivated by sight. It takes him longer to learn the repetitive motion of a task because he has no visual stimulus. To start with Josh had to be reminded that the switch was there. His hands and arms were stroked to remind him that he needs to use them and were brought to the switch to demonstrate to him what to do, over and over again.
Finally he is beginning to play with his switch without coaxing. As you can see in the clip, Joshua wants to continue the song and therefore goes back to the switch. You can also see in his facial expressions that he recognises when he succeeded with the task.
Why is this so important? Josh has oral motor difficulties, which means that speaking may be a long way off. Switch work may be a method of communication for Josh. Perhaps further down the line a communication board may help Josh begin to make choices, like ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Josh has the potential, and we would like to make sure that he can access as many sessions at Bobath as he can. So help us by going to our donate page and contributing what you can.
You would probably think that there is nothing special about it, any other child could do that and maybe even much younger than Josh. You would be right, the thing is Joshua’s learning style is different to many other children. It is very unique and requires lot of hard work done by him, his parents and professional team. The research states that children and adults who have the range of impairments and disability Josh has, need to do or try something at least approximately 2000 times before they can remember it and learn it. All this learning has to be facilitated by others.
Josh was introduced to the switch after the previous block of Bobath therapy in July last year. At the start it was used a lot in play and was placed under his feet because Josh seemed to have more control over his kicking than his hands. You can see in the clip that Josh is still keeping the left hand closed in a fist and close to his mouth as he may not yet be that confident to explore his environment fully. His right hand fortunately stays open and means that Josh is ready to explore and to learn more. This is another great step he achieved, and something which helps him now with the switch.
At the last block, February/March, his Speech and Language Therapist at Bobath saw that Josh’s understanding had increased and was able to use the switch further into play and learning. Josh also had to become accustomed to new position, sitting, and to use his hand functionally. This is very hard for Josh, because when he wants to engage the muscles in his arms he increases their tone which makes movement uncoordinated. His physiotherapist worked on reducing the tone and actually took Josh back a stage in order for him to learn to bring his arms down and out.
The added complication of Joshua’s visual impairment means that he is not motivated by sight. It takes him longer to learn the repetitive motion of a task because he has no visual stimulus. To start with Josh had to be reminded that the switch was there. His hands and arms were stroked to remind him that he needs to use them and were brought to the switch to demonstrate to him what to do, over and over again.
Finally he is beginning to play with his switch without coaxing. As you can see in the clip, Joshua wants to continue the song and therefore goes back to the switch. You can also see in his facial expressions that he recognises when he succeeded with the task.
Why is this so important? Josh has oral motor difficulties, which means that speaking may be a long way off. Switch work may be a method of communication for Josh. Perhaps further down the line a communication board may help Josh begin to make choices, like ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Josh has the potential, and we would like to make sure that he can access as many sessions at Bobath as he can. So help us by going to our donate page and contributing what you can.

Youth comment about Shadwell Basin

ONE OF THE REASONS WE ARE PADDLING AROUD THE UK IS TO RAISE MONEY FOR SHADWELL BASIN. BELLOW IS AN ARTICLE WRITEN BY ROBYN WHO ATTENDS THE CENTRE.
IF YOU LIKE IT, PLEASE, DONATE TO ENABLE MORE YOUNG PEOPLE TO HAVE SIMILAR EXPERIENCE.

I first came to Shadwell two years ago with a few mates in the summer holiday. I came for the whole 6 weeks holiday because I had so much fun and was extremely privileged to go on a sailing trip at the end which was an amazing experience; we sailed on a boat for three days and even slept on it. This brought me much closer to a lot of the people at Shadwell and so I started coming more often out of the holiday period. I made a lot of mates really easily and got a lot of badges for a range of different sports such as kayaking, sailing and climbing. Now, I see Shadwell almost as a second family and can even say I met some of my closest friends here. I look forward to coming Shadwell every week, as i see it as a break from all of the work I have to do at home. Also, Shadwell has sent me on a course to become a level 1 kayaking instructor. One of my greatest memories at Shadwell was when we went to a place called Llandysul where we kayaked for four days and stayed in this lovely building. I learned a lot of key skills such as cooking cleaning and recycling and had a great time with my mates, playing games in the evenings and learning new skills during the day in kayaking. I love kayaking and I’m excited about going on more trips and exploring new areas.

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The journey begins

Natalie and Michal’s first day of their circumnavigation of mainland Britain. They departed today from Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre . They are making their way down the Thames with a group of paddlers from THCC. They were encouraged by Joshua Harom’s family and friends.

ready for the party?

READY? WELL, IT’S BEEN HECTIC

Now we have only three days left so everyone is asking if we are ready.

I have to say, it would be great to have one more week but all major things are under control. Thanks to Natalie’s hard work our flat is nearly empty and clean as a baby.  Our boats have new Kevlar keelstrips fitted and are waiting to be loaded.

Of course there have been some glitches. Thanks to DHL our new paddles travelled twice between Czech Republic and London. However, we have them now, and I have to admit I’ve been very impressed when I tried them last Tuesday for the first time.

Getting a tent was even more stressful, again it needed two attempts to have the correct one and what more, we had to do some DIY extention of one of the poles. It had two short ones and one long instead of two long ones and one short. It is sorted, now.

We also have new Spot connect and are learning how to use it. So soon there should be new link in the menu to our position.

Now to the important stuff.

We have a leaving party on Saturday evening starting at 6pm. Also some people expressed their interest to join us on the water on Sunday. We are glad people want to show us their support. Only we would like to remind everybody that we are leaving at 10am sharp and it is fundraising event.  So if you want to show your support don’t forget do bring loads of cash with you.

Something about Joshua

Joshua just finished his two week session at Bobath centre.

Here is short short summary from Tara.

2 Week Block is Complete!

I think we are all pleased that the block of treatment is finished.  No more back and forth to Finchley, no more organising who is picking kids up, no more exhaustion for Josh.  But, now the work starts.  They have given us the tools now we must use them.

Some of the things we worked on

Dressing and Undressing

By doing this in a seated position it will encourage Joshua to be more aware of his body and help to straighten his arms.

Supported Sitting

New techniques to help with sitting positions, this will help his head and trunk control. The first picture shows Joshua sitting with a leg bent, this helps him to reduce the tightness in his arms and legs.

Drinking from an open cup

We were shown how to give Josh additional support around his jaw to help him bring his lips together.

Communication and Play

We were shown different ways of using Joshua’s step by step switch for play.  We are encouraging more sounds, like m, b, and p and we are already being rewarded with more consistent responses.

We also looked at seating, standing and reclining.

The two weeks were incredibly hard work for Josh.  By part way through week 2 he was exhausted.  He did persevere and did so well, he continued to keep becoming active in the play sessions.  He has been using muscles that he hasn’t before, he is fighting against gravity and still he has a smile.  We are so proud of him.

 

Help us to give him another session through our donate page.