Sunday, 27 January 2008

Murky Waters

A familiar throb throb throb was in the air as I left the house before first light. Looking out to sea I spotted the light hovering over the bay and assumed a search at first light was in progress. As I picked Adrian up, Atlantic College ILB was being made ready to assist, confirming my bleak thoughts. Not a great start to the day.

Neal rounds Lavernock Point

Penarth were launched their lifeboat (another Atlantic 75) for its regular Sunday practice as we met up with Hywel, Neal and Jim for the put in. Our objective today was to return along the coast to the west finishing back at St. Donats. A nice trip with the ebb (we thought!). Forecast was 4 to 5 in our faces, dropping off to 4.
As we were in the shadow of the high cliffs we checking into Swansea CG by phone. They informed us that a missing persons search was in progress and to expect some radio chatter.

Hywel enjoys a moment of calm (water)

Crossing Sully Bay towards Nell's Point became quite exciting for a while, the waves pitched up by the tide going against the gusting head wind. Even so we seemed to make a good 5 knots.

Catching the rays at Ffontygary Caravan Park

Jim - all smiles in his shiny new boat
(before he christened the hull on the rocks)

The Green Green Grass of . . . Aberthaw Power Station

Nice view of the 1500 megawatt coal burning, with gas turbine back-up, power station that sits on the estuary with the second highest tidal rise in the world. So I can see the logic of rather than tidal they consider it a prime site for a nuclear power station.

Water intake tower at Aberthaw
(a great place to store the radioactive by-products perhaps)

Jim plays with the cooling water being returned to the sea
from the power station condenser

We find a sandy spot to stop at Limpert Bay for our well earned lunch. The tide rapidly drops off leaving us with a short carry to get back on the water. Powering on we pass surf breaking off Col-huw Point and continue along the Heritage Coast towards St Donats.

Arriving well exercised we are faced with the sobering scene of the local constabulary maintaining a "body watch" outside the lifeboat station. The college lifeboat had had the grim task of finding and retrieving the body of an apparent suicide jump at Southerndown.

What ever the reason for such an incident, my thoughts are with all those that have had to, and are left to, deal with the aftermath.

Trip stats: 31km; Av 3.4 knots; 6.5 knots max; 5.5 hours.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Blue Tips in Wales

Well that's how they felt anyhow.
And my feet were like:

The extremities suffered today, strange as I was surfing for half an hour less than Friday, with no significant difference in wind. But then there is no steelworks next to Southerndown. That could be it.
Some stonking great waves today, a few forward and reverse loops, (not by design, but must have looked very impressive), unfortunately no photos, so unashamedly for self-gratification purposes I post another picture of the surf on Friday.

Together with this hamster photo I had previously refrained from posting.

I've spent the last hours thawing out and walking like some hunched up troglodyte, moaning about my pummeled and over worked muscles.
A sorry sight, but a good reason to get back out again.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Surfing Aberavon Brrrrrrr!!!

I have been bottled up like a champagne cork waiting for the chance to go surfing again. With large swell predicted and a long period I was really looking forward to this years first proper surf session. (I'm excluding the last trips surfing as that was in the seakayak).

I was expecting to be frozen.
So it was rather a nice surprise that after 3hrs I could still feel me extremities. I tried a skull cap for the first time which probably helped things a bit. Did nothing for appearances though – there should be a warning on the label to the effect that all wearers faces will look like hampsters.
Who cares. Generally not a problem, but today Chris C was able to take a few photos up close and personal. Here are a few with the hampster shots taken out as you would expect.

Sets were coming in regular and the small amount of wind was offshore. Every so often some nice big waves came in.
Thanks for taking the pics Chris.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Mince Pie Trip

Happy New Year!
A chance at last to get out and blow the cobwebs away.
Nice afternoon paddle with Hywel, Neal, Chris and Jim (in his shiny fast new boat).
Llantwit Major to Ogmore River mouth provided a great start to the year.
Bit of a swell, provided some nice surfing opportunities.
Starting as I hope to continue.

Chris and Neal passing Nash Point Lighthouse.

Jim flying past the Nash Sands East Cardinal Buoy.
Tide alone was moving at a sedate 4 knots.