Saturday, 20 February 2010

Llantwit Major, Caves and a Seal

I hadn't planned on venturing out this week end. I've had
man flu all week and didn't feel up to it. However I woke
up this morning and felt much better. I only had a 2hr window
to play with before the missus wanted the car plus I really
couldn't have paddled all day anyway.

I drove down to Llantwit Major beach as it was spot on high
tide and I've been dying to paddle this stretch of coast for
ages. It's only 2mins down the road and I wanted to explore
the caves between here and St Donnats. The hills over the
channel where white with snow and were really clear today.

I couldn't believe my luck when I arrived. A seal was just
bobbing around in the waves feet from the beach. My boat
has never got off the car so fast before. I flew into the water
hoping he may show an interest in me. My first Seal sighting,
and not where I'd expect to see one!

When I got in the water he was bobbing about in the surf
which was quite high. I swear he was in this photo above!
Just watching me with three big fish in his mouth. I was
surprised how big he was. I crossed over the surf but lost
him after that. Amazing!

After all that excitement I carried on to the caves along this
stretch of coast. After my lesson in rock hopping last week
I felt quite confident paddling right up to the cliffs.

There was a bit of a swell which to be honest scarred me
a little when I was up close but it seemed to be coming
across from the SE so the caves facing SW seemed more

I paddled backwards into this one but didn't stick around
to take photo's.

Compare that to the cliffs exposed to the swell!

One thing that worried me was landing. Since taking a
tumble at Southerndown I have a fear of landing in surf.
To the left of the beach however the rock slopes in to the
sea like a natural jetty and was a lot calmer here.
Loading the boat on the car I saw another paddler heading
in the same direction where I just come from. It was definitely
a nice day for a paddle.
Only about an hour and half paddle but one full of excitement.
My first seal, some cave exploring, stunning coastline and
some scary waves.

I took this video by the cliffs, nothing special just wanted to
try it out. Really need to get a waterproof one or at least
a cover for this one.


eurion said...

Stuart, the cave you backed into, I think is the one at Tresilian, I've always known it as Raynard's cave.
I recently discovered that the pirate Colyn Dolphyn is said to have been executed by being buried up to his neck at the cave entrance to await his death on the rising tide. I posted some other information about the cave on in the comments on Richard's post.
If you want a bit of practice landing in surf let me know we could meet up for a practice and play at Southerndown sometime.

Stuart said...

Yes same one, the one with the lintel in the roof. That's one of the things I love about kayaking, going home and researching about the places you've been.

I might take you up on that offer if you don't mind. It was my first paddle out when I went to tusker rock. I paddled in to land, my bow started to dive then before I knew it I was under water pinned back on my rear hatch. I couldn't role at the time. Luckily there was no one on the beach apart from a pair of nudists so I didn't feel like the biggest tit there! Kinda had a fear of it since.