Monday, 3 January 2011

Same S#!t Different Year

I was racking my brain over a glass of wine last night as to where I should go today. Sea state looked promising but low water about 11:30am. Was thinking of starting the year off with a bang...crossing the Bristol channel, Porthcawl to Swansea plus a few others.
But as usual I ended up at my local bay next to Aberthaw Power Station at stupid o'clock. What I didn't count on was the snow! I was hoping we had seen the last of that.

I donned my hood and battled on through the cold as it collected on my boat. I went with the flow west toward Porthcawl.

Visibility was rubbish, I could barley see the next headland. Even though I was cold and miserable and the views we equally dull I was enjoying it, it was different. Not one trip is the same! Plus there was no turning back now, approximately 3hrs until the tide turns.

I passed Nash Point lighthouse where I could barley see the offshore buoy until I was on top of it. As a new headland appeared up ahead one disappeared behind. It wasn't until I was past Witches Point, Southerndown that it was worth getting the camera back out.

Just a few weeks ago when I passed here with Taran these cliffs were glowing orange in the low winters sun. Far from that today! I still didn't know where I was going, and I hadn't stopped for a break yet.

Even though it was still snowing the Ogmore coastline was quite busy with couples walking their dogs and fishermen. The surf crashing along the shore also put me off so I turned out to face Tusker Rock. Forecast came over the radio force 3-4, 5 later, and it certainly felt it out here away from the sheltered cliffs.

I looked down to my legs and hands and realised I was shaking. I took what shelter I could behind the wreck and warmed myself by my gas cooker. Looking over the wreck the wind was picking up and Ogmore was disappearing in the fog. I didn't want to leave I was quite comfy now.

I had to leave, Tusker being a tidal island after all. Leaving Tusker I had the full brunt of the cold wind in my face topped off with face full of spray every so often. I was cold. I could see a police helicopter and lifeboat combing the shore, I hope they weren't looking for me. I carried on toward Nash Point still some distance from the shore when the helicopter hovered overhead. I gave him the thumbs up and he carried on back to St Athan.

Progress was up and down, the wind slowing me to 4kts, but passing Nash Point I managed around 7kts. About an hour from Aberthaw just past Llantwit Major I had to stop off, my back and wrist were killing me.

Back in the water the final slog seem to take forever, but I was finally back in the shadow of the power station. Just in the bay here I found a bottle with a note inside. It was a local address from West Aberthaw and seemed to be tied off to the sea bed. Weird! Just under 23 nautical miles (25ish statute miles). Here's to the new year and hopefully a bit more excitement than today's paddling!


stoney (Martyn) said...

Ouch! That sounded cold, well done though looked like a proper adventure
I'll get my post for New Years day up as soon as!

Stuart said...

It didn't help that when I got out of my boat in what I thought was shallow ended up nearly up to my waist. My hands mainly I sufer with the cold. Wasn't the best paddle. Look forward to reading your post.

Stuart said...

Turns out it wasn't me after all they were looking for, Missing man: