Friday, 30 October 2009

Take a Rest Bay Surf

My friends Mark and Maria came over from England for a few days to do a little exploration of the Glamorgan coast.

Today there was a little bit of a swell running and an offshore wind to hold up the face of the wave. Inevitably today, getting out and landing, would involve surf.

This was to be Maria's first time out through surf, and it was to be a baptism of fire. With the tide flooding we intended to ride the incoming tide from Rest Bay and head up the channel towards Southerndown, where a sandy landing could await us.

Rest Bay: Mixing it up with the boardies
(Photo: Maria)

Rest Bay is a prime surf beach. On arrival the surf looked manageable when we looked down on the beach. It just got bigger as we made ready to launch. Maria put on an exceptional show of determination but decided after being ejected a number of times that she would stay on the beach and take photos. This made me feel really rather guilty as Mark and I enjoyed ourselves out on the waves.

That little yellow thing on the left is Mark
(Photo: Maria)

Mark coming in to land. Phewww!

Mark about to catch the wave

Luuurverlee offshore wind

Bring on the next one then!

Out Beyond the Break

Yeee Haaa!
(Photo: Maria)

(Photo: Maria)

You'd never think he'd seen a boat before
(Photo: Maria)

Go Go Go!

Taking a breather

In the pocket?
(Photo: Maria)

Perhaps we should have gone for an ice cream? Next time.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Port Eynon Mumbles

May 1884 saw the first lifeboat at Port Eynon, ‘A Daughter’s Offering’, put to service.

By 1906, her 22 years of toil had seen her save 39 souls and she gracefully retired.

Her replacement, ‘Janet’, was not to be so lucky.

Her tragic story began on New Years Day 1916. ‘S.S. Dunvegan’, dragging her anchor in Oxwich Bay, was in danger of wrecking off Pennard Cliffs. Putting out through heavy seas and a gale the crew, together with the lifeboat from Mumbles, rowed out to offer their assistance, only to find it not required. Turning to head for home she was hit by a huge wave that capsized her. By design she self righted. One of the crew had managed to stay aboard while the remainder were thrown to the sea. One crew member never made it back aboard and was drowned. While the others scrambled aboard ‘Janet’ was caught broadside by another roller and went over again. Two more members of the crew were claimed by the storm. The crewmen aboard the Mumbles lifeboat passed by, but in the gale they were unaware of the unfolding tragedy. The ‘Janet’, now oar less, drifted with the wind. 30 hours after launching she arrived at Mumbles with the remnants of her crew suffering from exhaustion and exposure.

Following this tragedy, the RNLI closed the Port Eynon lifeboat station.

Copies of news articles on the Disaster can be seen on the wall of the fish and chip shop at the top of the beach.

Memorial in the graveyard of Port Eynon

Driving down into Port Eynon, you pass a church on the last bend towards the beach. It is very easy to miss the lifeboatman that looks outward from the graveyard.

By coincidence our trip today has the same start and end point as that of the tragic tale of 1916, Port Eynon along the coast, crossing Oxwich Bay to end at Mumbles lifeboat station.

Hywel, Adrian and Chris on Port Eynon beach

Horton across Port Eynon Bay

Heading out across Port Eynon Bay to Oxwich Point

Caswell Bay

Langland Bay

Mumbles Head Lighthouse

Mumbles lifeboat station