Saturday, 27 March 2010


After a few too many Guinness last night I knocked the idea
of getting up at 6am to go out to Steep Holm on the head.
I didn't know where else to go so I decided to face my fears
and practice my surf skills. These pictures are thanks to
my better half who froze her bits of with the kids on the beach.

First wave, brace let it carry my toward the beach, not so
bad, then it all went tits up and I smacked my head in the
shallow water. Helmet next time!

Beard gone for the summer now.

I didn't go too far out, some of them waves looked pretty
big. Well for me anyway. No so bad going over it's just
getting back.

I was practicing my bracing moves and letting the waves
bring me in rather than surfing. I had a couple of shots
at riding the waves but nothing to big. I bit of backward
surfing as well, dunno how that happened??

That'll do!

Was a really exciting afternoon and I think I'll feel a lot
more confident now going out into the surf. I'll take you
up on that offer Eurion, next time your down Southerndown
give us a shout.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Caving at Ogmore

I joined Mick for a trip down to Ogmore for a short paddle
along the cliffs toward Southerndown. I had only the morning
to spare and with high tide being at 9:18am we headed out
against the current from Newton Bay.

I finally got my new van this week after 3 long months of
trying to work out of my car, so I'd thought I'd show it off!

When I got there Mick was already down on the beach building
his boat.

The water couldn't get much calmer than this! Only a slight
ripple in the water differed it from the sky.

There was a slight swell, but it didn't break before it hit
the cliffs which made it quite safe to get up close. Where
the water was near the roof of some caves the change in
level blew the air out with some amazing force.

As we reached the small rocky outcrop, which I believe to
be known as castle rock in the climbing guide, we couldn't
resist the temptation to paddle between the gap.

On our return trip we went to go through again but had to
make a quick retreat as the tide had uncovered some
underlying rocks.

There was a lot more head room in this cave!

Backing into the cave.
This cave seemed to go on and on. You could here the swell
hitting the back wall but couldn't see that far in.

Back in for one more look.

A pair of lambs stranded up on the cliffs.
We did plan on paying Tusker Rock a visit on our return
trip but time was pressing on and as far as I could see it
wasn't even visible yet.

It was an easy paddle back gliding through what could have
been a lake at a steady 5kts. Great day out, cheers Mick.

I ended the day with a roll to get into practice. I've been
wussing out for ages because it's been so cold not that the
water was bubbling hot today!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Evening at Llantwit Major

With the nights finally getting lighter I took the opportunity
to have a quick paddle at Llantwit Major at high tide after

I made my way toward the caves either side of Tresilian

But once again I was prevented from getting to close!

On my way back I noticed a small red boat towing a small
sailing boat. Probably the life boat from St Donnats college.
Coming the other way was an RNLI life boat from Barry.
I watched them link up a tow line and tow the boat off
toward Barry.

Lets hope this weekend is as good as the last one!

I found this piece in the local paper which gives a bit more
detail about what I saw...well at least I think so, they got
the day wrong if it is.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Flat Holm

Launching from Penarth with flat holm and steep holm in the distance
I've felt a little bit apprehensive for a while about doing
this trip. The thought of leaving the safety of the shoreline
behind and paddling into the full flow of the tidal stream
seemed a bit daunting. I couldn't have asked for better
conditions though! I left Penarth at 10:30am, low tide at
11:50 on the island.

I did my maths last night and stuck to the plan and made
a heading of 128 degrees simply to see if it would work.
Even though my kayak never pointed in the direction of
the island I made a perfect beeline.

Pausing for only a minute when Hannah (my wife) phoned
me, my boat headed backward into the flow of the current
at 1.5kts. This doesn't seem like much but when your
watching your position go off course on your GPS you realise
what your up against.

I reached Flat Holm spot on time at 11:20am. So ferry
gliding does work after all!

Having never been in this position I wasn't sure which
way to go around the island. Does it make a difference?
Maybe I'm thinking to much into this.

Steepholm in the distance

Because the tide was fully out I could navigate though the
shallow rock pools.

But everything was so far away. There are goats in this
picture honest.

The farm houses

Calculations for the return trip

Castle rock looking very different than it did in Richards
trip last week. No playing with the fast water flowing
through this gap for me!

Having gone around the island I landed near the jetti.

I had a bit of lunch on the beach and had a little wander
around the cliffs. Looks like some good climbs here and
I bet no one has done them! Although I get a feeling
your probably not allowed.

Victorian cannon

After a quick half hour I left before the tide picked up.
The tide was stronger on the way back and I made good
progress at 5kts. My GPS seemed to be playing up and was
pointing me more toward sully than Penarth.

Looking off the back of my boat toward flat holm

Arriving back at Penarth
Looking back at the two islands
On my return journey when I reached the wolves I felt my
ferry glide angle was a bit steep and I was veering off course.
I made a new course toward Lavernock point. It was only
when I looked back on my GPS that the current had carried
me out in a big curve. A total of nearly 9nm and home in
time for the rugby, although wish I never bothered! A really
good trip, will do that again soon, maybe include Steep Holm
next time.