Sunday, 10 July 2011

South West Sea Kayaking Meet 2011 - Day 2

You have to laugh really.

Partaking, whole heartedly, in the socialising facilities at the Greyhound ale house amongst like minded paddling folk, Richard and I have the intention fixed in your mind of doing a very sedate paddle the next morning, probably after second breakfast.

We wake up in the morning to the reality of being asked to paddle most of the Purbeck coastline.

How could we refuse?, it's after all what we came down here for. We all assemble for the morning briefing, ours is a trip from Swanage Bay heading west along the coast to Durdle Door to return and end up at Kimmeridge Bay.

After the briefing no one seems keen to sign up (not sure why), but at the last minute Huw, from Pembrokeshire steps up. Our very own Welsh armada rapidly assembles gear and heads off to Swanage tout de suite to take on the South West.

Swanage Bay
One slip and there's venison for tea
Approaching Durlston Head we catch a glimpse of deer grazing on the very steep slopes of Durlston Country Park.  As we head around the coastline takes on a more rugged character.

Huw passes by the diving fisher birds - shags at a punt
I can never remember the difference between a shag and a cormorant (queue crude joke), but there were plenty of them about. Along the coast between Durlson Head and Anvil Point we were treated to puffins and roosting guillemots.

Small floatiila of Puffins
Huw is dwarfed by the cliffs

Anvil Point lighthouse

Grand scape - sure feel quite small

The cliffs take on a remarkable brick like patterning. Rock was quarried extensively around these parts in the 18th and 19th centuries and as far back as Roman times.

Weird troglodyte homes appear to be left behind from some distant history.

Approaching Kimmeridge Ledges we hear over the VHF that the Little Spirit - 37 foot yacht - had run aground. Some lat and long co-ordinates were spouted off. I didn't take much notice of it . Then Kimmeridge Ledges was mentioned and my ears pricked up and we all started to look around. We could see a yacht a few 100 yards away with people waving their arms at a fairly large speed boat that was making it's way towards them. We responded to the coast guard that we may be able to help and made our way over.

As we approached the yacht could be heard bouncing up and down on a rock ledge and a line had been thrown from the yacht to the motor cruiser, and missed. A swimmer had been dropped in to pick up the line for it to be passed to the cruiser. The towline failed and as the cruiser went to collect the swimmer I retrieved the tow line and prepared to pass it back to cruiser while the yacht crew joined the other end to a longer line attached to the top of their mast.

By this time the coastguard helicopter had started to hover over us and was standing by.

Coastguard keeping a watchful eye on proceedings

The cruiser then pulled the yacht over almost to 45 degrees, quite impressive, while the helm motored the yacht off the rocks with much noise.
That sorted out the problem and the drama was over. The boat hadn't suffered any damage and all 6 crew were fine - we packed our supermen T-shirts back in the hatches and went back to the paddling.

We headed into Kimmerage Bay for a quick lunch stop. Kimmerage has an oil field below it, and in the bay there is a "nodding donkey" oil pump similar to those that you might associate with in Texas. It's been pumping oil continually since 1961, and as such is the oldest working pump in the UK. Oil production has now dropped from 350 to only 65 barrels a day.

By now the wind had picked up quite a bit and we are in for an exciting and hard paddle as the sea gets quite confused by Warbarrow and towards Lulworth.

Durdle Door
Finaly we make it to Durdle Door and hang around for a few pictures before turning tail back to Kimmeridge.

Spectacular Glad Cliff near Worbarrow
We head out away from the cliff bases to pick up some of the fair tide and get a different perspective of the magnificent cliffs. We arrive again at Kimmeridge to end a very satisfactory days paddling.

This is a trip to make you feel small and insignificant.

Quenching our thirst overlooking Corfe Castle before the retreat home to Wales

We return to have some grub and drinks overlooking Corfe Castle, and raise a glass to sadly the last SWSKM.

Richard does the trip far more justice with his photos of the trip and some of the yacht being hauled over.

Our "relaxed morning" trip. Well worth the effort!

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