Sunday, 28 December 2008

Surfing Santa

Having been Santa for the munchkins, I am now really getting into the festive spirit.
A little surf down at Caswell Bay in the Gower is in order.
Just a ripple, but had to show willing!
Thanks again go to Chris for the snaps. He sat out with a warm cup of coffee!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Have a guess . . .

I just received a present.
Do you know what it is?

Thanks to Chris for the photos.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Chill Out

Cold frosty start to the day, but it looked clear and cloudless.
No wind to talk about. Crisp.

With the last 2hrs of the flood, Adrian, Richard and I head out from the slipway at Atlantic College and head east up the Bristol Channel. No intention other than a chance to get out on the water.

Aberthaw Power Station

We head up towards Aberthaw power station, rounding the water intake as the tide turns, and stop and have an intake of food ourselves, before heading back.

Water intake for cooling at the power station

Not alone on this busy water way

Tresilian Bay and more small caves

Glad to have made the effort to get out.

10.5Nm (19km)

Saturday, 25 October 2008

"Come in she said I'll give ya . . . Shelter from the Storm "

Outlook: 0700 Sat 25 Oct 0700 Sun 26 Oct
Wind Southerly veering westerly 5 to 7, increasing gale 8 or severe gale 9 for a time.
Sea state Rough or very rough.
Weather Showers, rain later.
Visibility Good, becoming moderate or poor later
    Under normal circumstances I would not go out paddling in a storm. (Surfing being the exception). I’m talking sea kayaking here. It is an appealing aspiration that one day I could safely handle and enjoy rough, even wild conditions without the thought of reliance on any companions to help me out. Things going tits up is out side the remit of making a sound decision to go out paddling within ones own ability in the first place (but s**t does sometime happen).

    This weekend is different, it's the exception that makes the rule. The expectation is to go beyond my comfort zone and being got out of the cack by others could be a distinct possibility. That's why I'm here. There are experienced people around in small groups, and in my opinion this is a great environment in which to push paddling skills forward.

    I've come up to north Wales to the 3rd Storm Gathering, organised by Mark Tozer. He even managed to spirit up a storm. The tent next to mine got blown down flat during the night somehow mine survived. I did manage to end the weekend without needing to be fished out of the water.

    Some pictures from a great weekend.

    Sheltering from the gale in the Mennai Strait

    Sunday, 28 September 2008

    "Due to on going industrial action there will be no weather . . ."

    Getting to the launch site was reminiscent to the moors scene in An American Werewolf in London. The fog was thick, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Sherlock Holmes himself had popped up.

    We weren’t anywhere near London but at Llansteffan.
    This is a little place sitting below a 12th century Norman castle on the Towy River just before it enters Carmarthen Bay.

    But, today, we couldn’t see the river let alone the castle.

    Steve wanted a long paddle. So myself Adrian and Richard have turned up to take advantage of the calm weather suddenly bestowed on us. We have a long paddle planned today - go to Tenby across Carmarthen Bay with the ebb, wait for the tide to turn and return on the flood. The challenge on this trip is to navigate out through the deep channel without being caught high and dry or stranded in a lagoon as the tide ebbs, rapidly. There is also a sand bar to get over. So we intend to paddle out a few miles off shore before heading across to Tenby.

    “Good Luck” is the parting call from a group fishermen as they gather their tackle and try to keep up with the rapidly departing water.

    I do like my Garmin GPS 72, it is a very basic waterproof type, has all the buttons on the front for easy deck one handed operation.
    Maybe one day I will advance to not need to use it, but not to day! Today it is going to earn its keep.

    Even when the sun does try and break out, the visibility is poor, and then worsens again.

    The sea state is very calm, no noticeable wind, there is an eerie stillness to everything.
    It's fantastic.
    The water only plays a little as we pass over the sand bar, and head further out into the bay. We then change our bearing towards Tenby, it all gets glassy calm again.
    Every now and again the radio bursts into life disrupting the silence with the coastguard letting us know that due to on going industrial action they will not be broadcasting the weather.

    After a few hours of this we are disturbed by a local boat that crosses our path as its crew disgorge some form of fishing contraptions marked by orange buoys.

    During this time someone suggests that instead of waiting on the beach at Tenby, we could continue on to Caldey Island. We all agree, so change our course towards Woolhouse Rocks and Caldey Sound.

    Three and a half hours of paddling in the fog we see our first bit of land, Woolhouse Rocks.

    Woolhouse Rock

    It is populated with a few seals, who we regrettably we disturb from a morning slumber, as they enter the water to take a closer look at us.

    Underwater shot of the starfish.

    We are amazed to find that the rocks underneath us, through the clear water, are covered with hundreds if not thousands of starfish of all sizes and colours.

    Woolhouse Rock South Cardinal comes into view as the fog begins to lift.

    We hang around this little bit of un submerged rock exploring for a while.Well it has been a while since we've seen some solid rock! The fog begins to burn off and we head off in the direction of Caldey Sound.

    Entering Caldey Sound - Tenby just there on the right

    Flat calm Caldey Sound just as the flow changes - perfect timing

    We enter the Sound as the flow begins to change direction, encountering some interesting water effects as we close in and around Margaret's Island.

    Margaret's Island

    The sun now has well and truly burned off all the fog and produced a glorious afternoon as we head around Caldey Island.

    Snack Food

    Caldey lighthouse

    Seals follow Adrian off their patch

    Private Beach

    Our lunch spot on Caldey Island

    After a little lunch stop on a lovely small beach, we head out on the long crossing across Carmarthen Bay towards the river mouth.

    Our way back home

    We have the interest of seeing land as we approach the estuary on our way home.

    Llansteffan Castle

    Llansteffan Castle commanding a great position at the entrance to the river.

    Followed shortly by our final destination at the beach in Llansteffan.

    Llansteffan Beach

    Over 60km (32.8Nm) in 8.5 hrs on the water with a 45 min lunch stop.
    Not a bad days paddling.