Friday, 30 December 2011

Taran's School for Paddling

Me and Taran were supposed to be in Pembrokeshire this weekend but the weather had a different idea...
Instead I joined in with a club paddle down at Sully.
Seven of us in all with all different levels of experience.  I brought my old Easky down for someone to use.  Gareth was looking well happy with his new Delphin.
"My group this way".  Taran takes the lead heading around the far side of Sully Island.
Getting up close and personal.

 We head into St Mary's Bay to land.

A navy ship passes down the channel, possibly the Exploit that rescued me. 
While Taran runs through turning drills with the others me and Jules head of to find some moving water.  We manage to find a petty bit of swell running into the cliffs and a little flow further out, but in all very calm.
I think it's benefiting Taran as much as it is the others.  He's loving the coaching and to be fair doing a really good job.  By the end everyone was doing a full set of turning manoeuvres.  
Jules starts nodding off again!
We finally set off again back down Sully causeway and land on the beach.
Walking on water, fishermen negotiate the shallow causeway to Sully Island.  I make a quick exit when someone mentioned rolling practice.
SULLY SHIP WRECK - I've wondered for a while what is the ship wreck that lays on Sully Beach.  I have vague memories from when I was a kid, walking over the causeway to see the pirate ship wrecked on the island across the sea.  I've done some digging and it seems there is a bit of mystery surrounding this wreck.  It is believed to be a wooden cutter called the Baratanch, click here for further details.  It was owned at the time by George Binding carrying gunpowder when in sunk on 27th March 1916.  The wreck itself is apparently moving in a northerly direction under tidal influences.  

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Burning off The Christmas Dinner

With Christmas well and truly over it was time to get off the couch and back on the water.  I met up with Taran  and a long awaited meet up with Noel at The Knap around mid-day.  The waters look surprisingly calm, not what I expected from the forecast.  
Out on the water we paddled in silence for a while enjoying the calmness and quite.
We played in the flow around the tower at Aberthaw before venturing on to Llantiwt Major.

Taran ventured close to shore seeking out some play time.  Arriving at Llantwit there was a lot of surf breaking on the beach but me and Noel decided it wasn't worth the risk with our boats.
Time was pressing on and the short days meant we had to make our way back before darkness fell.
Waves were breaking on a shallow reef just off the Knap so we crept forward to check it out.  The low light prevented us seeing a wave approaching until it broke and scarred the life out of me and Noel, back paddling in fits of giggles.
We landed nicely through the surf on the soft sand, looking on in dismay at the steep climb up the beach.  An otherwise mundane paddle made all the better with good company.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Paddling Holm for Christmas

Christmas Eve is upon us and so is our (now) traditional paddle out to Flat Holm.  The forecast wasn't promising again, but our hopes were up.  I met up with Taran and Jules at Penarth waterfront for a paddle over to Flat Holm on the last of the ebbing tide aiming to arrive around mid day.     
A bit of a sticky carry down to the water.
I donned the festive hat and we were ready to go. (Pic by Taran).  Taran being Taran was planning to ride his kayak from the back deck, that lasted less than 30 seconds.
The rain came and went with the strong winds as we made our speedy decent on the island.
Further out in the channel big swells and confused waves made the open crossing interesting. 
Taran getting in the festive mood! Merry Christmas to you as well Taran!
My turn to pull a stupid face (Pic by Taran)
Monkstone light house at the end of a rainbow.
A last minute dash to get around castle rock and we were paddling onto the beach at Flat Holm.
Lunch on Flat Holm.  Jules turn to pull a face, and yet another rainbow.
We take a stroll up to the light house while the tide turns. (Pic by Taran)
Christmas Eve last year on Flat Holm, a much colder day.  A rather wet and windy day in contrast.
A cheesy pose with my Santa hat.
Then it was back on the water for the crossing back.  It was nice and lumpy to start with then flattened right out about mid way.  I mentioned to Taran that this time last year I would have felt uncomfortable in such conditions, what a difference a year makes.  Mind you the boat helps a lot.  (Another two pics by Taran)
We land on the muddy beach with a long carry ahead of us, never something to look forward to after a long paddle.
Another great paddle with good company to celebrate the festive season but hopefully not to finish the year quite just yet.  MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Cold Feet

Winters finally arrived although nothing near the big freeze from last year.  A coat of frost on the boat this morning and a pair of very cold feet.
I met up with Taran , Peter and Gareth for a gentle paddle out from Sully and toward Penarth with the flood tide.
There was a bit of swell and a chilling wind as we headed out around Sully Island for a play in the race around the tip.
 Pogies were a definite today, my hands feeling the cold.
Peter was feeling a bit on edge with the conditions today.  I never used to feel comfortable in a following sea when I started out either.
Around the island and in the glare of the sun and about three jumpers under my dry suite it was lovely and warm.
The swell into St Mary's Bay provided a great bit of action as it was powering into the cliffs and creating surf as it bounced back.
A few touch and go moments where Taran almost got taken away with the breakers.  I wouldn't mind if I wasn't the one that would have to tow him out.
Back on the move and Peter gets taken by surprise with a side on wave.  You get him Taran I'm busy taking photo's.
It was rather tricky manoeuvring around him in the wind but we managed to get him back in his boat safe and dr..wet. Rather you than me Peter, looks bloody chilly!
We land on the shore for a warm up and snack break after all that excitement.  The rock plateau here looks weird, almost like landscaped paving stones.   
We turn back and have another play up along the cliffs.
 Before venturing back around Sully Island and back into the races.
There were some brilliant waves forming over the causeway providing a great playground for surfing as Gareth demonstrates... 

I head on up to the car park to get myself warm and dry while the others ride a few more waves.
We will are planning to make our Christmas paddle out to Flat Holm on Christmas Eve again so if anyone's feels like joining us let us know.  If not MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!