Friday, 9 April 2010

Kayak, Still sea, Nash and not so Young

I think a high pressure system may be sitting over the top of my house. The weather has been glorious all day, there is no wind, the sun has been out and it's Friday evening. It's getting late but I'm in need of some paddling, really quite fancy a dusky excursion.

Driving down the road to the beach I can see out across the flat calm Bristol Channel and spy the Mid Nash buoy way out off the coast and the Somerset coast beyond. That's it then, a paddle out to the buoy and back before dark.

The tide has started to ebb and we are on neaps. The navigation on this is going to be a bit suck and see, the buoy is directly off the coast so some sort of ferry glide is in order. Leaving the, now exposed, sandy beach at Southerndown I head out towards the middle of the Bristol Channel. Keeping the buoy on the down stream side, I use some dips in the hills on the backdrop as transit points and paddle out towards the Nash sand bar. It's very calm, almost eerie out here on your own.

Crossing over the sand bar and approaching the deeper waters the transit points are moving and I have to adjust my ferry angle as the tidal flow really starts to become apparent. The last few hundred yards I have to work hard not to miss the buoy. But I make it.

Mid Nash south cardinal buoy

3 miles off the coast and starting the return trip, I decide to let the coastguard know that I will be returning to shore and arriving at dusk. I didn't want the embarrassment of looking up at the Porthcawl lifeboat. Jim and Neil had that pleasure last year on a dusk paddle when they were helped out by a 999 call from a walker on an evening stroll.

After the normal questions of "what colour is your boat?" and "what's your ETA?", I'm rather amused by the question "what life saving equipment do you have on board?". I thought better of the reply that I would just nip below decks and check. Visions of defibrillators were going through my mind, so I asked politely that I didn't quite know what she meant. Lifejacket was what she was after. I didn't like to tell her I was already wearing it, just in case she got the wrong impression and thought I was expecting to go down.

The trip back towards the shore is a nice relaxed paddle, the sky begins to dim as the sun slips behind some low grey clouds that have materialised. The smell of bar-b-q smoke and fire lighter drift on the offshore evening wind playing with my nose and the flicker of the orange flames come into view on the approaching beach.

I land as the sun finally slips out from behind some clouds and starts doing that wonderful trick of turning into a fiery orange disk as it slips over the edge. Rock on the summer.

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