Sunday, 4 May 2008

Breaking In - Breaking Out- What?

Eddie, are you kidding?
I've seen you on my TV
Eddie, are you kidding? - Just Another Band From L.A.
Are you ready for a rough ride?

I like rough water (yes I thought I liked rough water), North Wales, Anglesey, has to be the classic races of the Stacks and Penrhyn Mawr.
Seen it on those TITS DVD's on the TV (hard core, kayaking porn as they are shockingly referred to).

Got to give it a shot.

Thought I'd better be enlightened on just what an eddy is, how to see one, and what to do in them. So first day of the symposium I signed up to be enlightened by Fiona as to just what was an eddy. We ventured out to play just west of Cemlyn.

Put into practice the breaking-in, breaking-out and ferry glides as well as throwing in a bit of rock hopping.

OK, done that.

Day 2: lets sign up for the overfalls and tide races then.
From Soldiers Point we dropped around through the fog to North Stack tide race and nipped through into a holding eddy.
Nice, calm, eddy. Nice eddy!
Here I sat and watched the tide race, and watched some more.
It was exactly how I felt just before jumping off the wing of an aeroplane, parachuting for the first time, I watched waiting for that moment of commitment when there is no going back. Then something in my head said go.
Off I went, I broke in and the ferry glide was fast and I moved across the conveyor belt. This was fine. Really? Yes.
OK that's enough for the minute. Lets get back to the eddy.
If my arse was puckering I don't know, as I was trying to remember to breath as I paddled like some mad thing going nowhere caught in the eddy line. All of Fiona's teachings fell into place and I broke out (I didn't know eddy lines could be a few feet wide).
I have to admit that I enjoyed that feeling of being off my comfort zone.
Big surf doesn't intimidate me at the break, but this was different somehow, smaller waves but an unknown quantity at this point. It was the uncertainty that was un-nerving. I wanted to do it again. And I did. A few more times, after each adrenalin rush had subsided. The biggest rush had to be when I was out in the race just as the wash from the Seacat came through.

Jim - wondering if or when to jump into the race at North Stack

This was the time and place to try this out, if it went tits up then there were great people about to catch you. As Jim found out.

Good on Jim for taking a swim, at least he was pushing his envelope

Hywel enjoying the moment

Finishing at North Stack we paddle west around for our lunch stop at Parliament Cave.

Lunch stop at Parliament Cave

After which we moved on to South Stack (which wasn't running - was there a small sense of relief or disapointment - I don't know), then through Penrhyn Mawr to finish at Porth Dafarach. Here we were greeted with a nice swell and some fun surfing took place before landing.

After a nice day paddle, what better way to finish the day than song and beer. So we did.

Day 3 we did the same trip again, this time fog was very thick to start and we only played at South Stack for about 5 minutes each, but there were lots of us.

The sun finally came out and we got to see the scenery we missed the previous day.

South Stack Lighthouse shrouded in mist

Returning to Porth Dafarch

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