Falmouth SUP Tanker Tagging…
The team at the WESUP paddle board club, Falmouth UK, are beginning to get a reputation for extreme enthusiasm for SUP in their beautiful Cornish surroundings. ‘Tanker Tagging’ is one of their more recent inventions. We hand over to Sean White of WESUP to explain, in his own (hilarious!) words, what the new phenomenon is all about….
SW/ Every day I hit the beach down at WeSUP HQ, I am forced to consider the massive super tankers that blot our horizon. They come into Gylly Bay and anchor about 2-5 miles off shore for re-fuelling and storm shelter. They come and go like ghosts in the night, terrifyingly silent and fast, traveling at up to 30kts! Some are big, some are not so big, but some are insanely gigantic and it’s those that are most remarkable. Once in a while there will be no tankers in the bay and it is then that you really realize how significant they are when they are framing our view of the horizon. Without them, the ocean view from my window seems to become far vaster, in a surreal kind of way. I am sure I find beauty in the ugly appearance of the super tankers on the horizon.
It’s not like we are a bunch of nerdy train spotters with a new love for tanker spotting, it’s just that these things are so un-earthly in their extreme size. They are almost hypnotic in their presence, forcing you to contemplate the very possibility that man could even build such a beast, let alone make it float! They seem to defy every sense you have when comprehending that there is a boat the size of a village parked up in your play ground and for all those reasons, the WeSUP crew have taken a fancy to getting as close to the awesomeness as possible whilst documenting our excursions. This is what we call ‘Tanker Tagging’.
Yesterday we indulged…
Sam Crowther and I woke up in the morning still rather delicate! We ate breakfast, popped ibuprofen, drank tea and tried to rehydrate… The plan was to clear our heads by going for a paddle. The blissful, mirror flat ocean that greeted us when we got to the beach at 10am was the clincher in deciding I would take Sam to the Mega Loader, ‘Transhelf’. The satisfying feeling of imminent adventure was instant and with the sun on our chests and water bottles stuffed up out wetsuit legs, we set off at 11am for out 7 mile round trip around 2 tankers.
As we made way for the first tanker and our flat water race boards slipped and sliced through the uber clean water, caught up in the moment of our gushing enthusiasm, Sam and I reflected on how fortunate we felt to be free enough and spontaneous enough to indulge in such adventure whilst making it a staple part our lives and it was that moment that reminded me why I am so avidly passionate about SUP. I say reminded because I realized yesterday that I have been so caught up in the business of SUP, the shine had been wearing a little thin leading to lost motivation for paddling. Well yesterday I shined her up a beauty!!
It’s a lifestyle thing for me (yes this will get deep!) which for all the qualities SUP brings to my life, nothing has else ever matched in it’s constant ability to interest and enthrall my complex need for balance and harmony in my life. When I SUP, I enter the world I aspire to live in on dry land. Its calm, quiet, soothing, physical, dramatic and forever dynamic. It suits me just perfect like!
Anyway, as we paddled onwards past the first tanker, we paid homage to the fact we were probably the only guys in the UK, possibly in the world at that very moment that were on a mission to paddle around a MASSIVE tanker! I suggested jokingly to Sam that it would be incredible to paddle out to the salvage boat sat out on the horizon, about 1.5 miles further than the tanker we were originally heading towards. Don’t forget at this point we were still feeling slightly delicate, so I wasn’t surprised when he responded with a comment about how his mum tricks him into going to Truro because she needs to go to one shop to take something back, but it always ends up a full shopping mission! Obviously I upped the banter by insinuating he wasn’t manly enough for the trek anyway, knowing full well that it was red rag to the bull! So the gauntlet was laid and our paddle was increased from 3.5 miles to 5(ish) miles strait out to sea… What had we gotten ourselves into?!
Turns out to be the coolest and most memorable flat water session I have ever done in Gylly Bay! The ‘Transhelf’ was insane and looking up at the superstructure gave us vertigo that threatened a cold dip every time we looked up! But the real star of the show on this Tanker Tagging expedition was the ‘Emru Omur.’ A Turkish salvage boat which was home to about 8 crazy Turks who had been at sea for 2 months with no women, and no promise of strange company… until me and Crowther!
At first we were a little nervous of their frantic cheering and waving, as they looked very rough and ready! I braved it and I tell you what… I’m glad I did! We declined an offer to come aboard but were still rewarded with a luke warm Arabic version of Sprite, Cheesy biscuits, Caramel bars and Cake!! Bangin!!! The hospitality was insane! Then the old boy came out of the bridge door with 2 handfuls of freshly gutted raw fish (looked like Pollock). He really wanted us to take it with us but at the time it felt a bit weird and as the sea state had picked up dramatically, we didn’t really have a way to carry the fishy fish home so we graciously declined. In retrospect, we should have taken it in the plastic bag he offered, if nothing else, as a true memento of trip that turned out to be the best 2 and a half hours of Tanker Tagging we could have hoped for.
So, is there a final thought to all this? No not really. Just that SUP made my day amazing yesterday and it will tomorrow and every day after that. So, when you think you are bored with SUP, think what your life could be like without it and go Tag a Tanker! Just stay safe and be happy people!!
If anyone needs advice on how to be safe around tankers, we have lots of experience so just ask, the advise could prevent you from putting your lives at risk!
Many thanks to Sean White for sharing his ‘Tanker Tagging’ Falmouth SUP adventures. Remember to keep safe when tanker tagging… tankers won’t stop for you, and a tanker will always win! So stick to the standard safety of the sea rules and your paddle boarding will be super safe!