Saturday, 19 February 2011

Nash Sands Take Two

Two kayaks side by side at the waters edge at Llantwit Major beach, unaware of the trip in front of them.  That goes for us too! Although I had an idea that as it was a big spring tide that I wanted to get back to Nash Sand Bar. 
The sea was flat and calm, lapping gently at the pebbles on the beach.  Not quite what I was expecting from the look of the swell forecast.  There was a band of mist blocking our distant view and thick cloud cover.
We breezed past East Nash Buoy about one hour before low water at around 6kts, the buoy leaning heavily into the flow. 
The steep bank of sand was easily visible in the distance, the fast flowing waters causing confusion where it met with the sand.
We paddled up a shallow gully and dragged our boats up the steep freshly laid sand bank.  The mist still clung to the shore blocking our view completely at times.
Posing for a picy!
 More posing!!

 As Taran launched off the bank I noticed this tiny sand eel uncovered by his boat.
Thanks to Taran for this shot.  We carried along the shore side of the sand bank, it went on and on and on, just when we thought it had reach it's end it turned the corner and carried on into the horizon.  I have never seen in so uncovered.
 As we followed the sands trail the shore got further and further away lost in the mist.
 Taran showing how easily walking on water can be done, I bet Jesus didn't do it 1.5 nautical miles off shore!

 Turns out it wasn't that easy after all, a small slip and a boat full of water, back to the bar to empty it.
 As the sand started to seep beneath the waves the rolling swell created some huge waves.
Taran was having fun crashing through the crests and slapping down on the other side.
We didn't seem to be making any progress, then realised the tide turned about 45 minutes ago.  We made a heading for the shore, Witches Point Southerndown.  The sun broke through the clouds, the sea now turning blue in its arrival.  A band of mist still hovered over the tops of the Vale cliffs, like hill fog clinging to the peaks.
Upon reaching Southerndown the surf didn't look to bad.  Just as we were about to make our move to land however a few huge breakers rumbled in instantly putting us off.
We opted for an easier landing in the neighbouring bay, although it has to be said I nearly took a tumble on the way in.  Same old trick, big wave lifts stern, I go sideways, high brace and lean into the wave.  I'm always surprised how effective the brace and lean is from stopping you going over, or probably more surprised I pulled it off!
With the sun high in the sky it felt warm, early spring hopefully.  It must have been warm because I didn't wear my poggies, the first time in months. 

We set off again through the small breakers, I set up my camera on my deck.  Was a bit scared I was going to damage it the way is was being smacked back.

The sun was out the sea was calm and it made for easy paddling back along the yellow cliffs.
We stopped off for another quick break, drinking too much water!
Approaching Nash point the sea livened up a bit on the previously flat sea.

Not much of a video but I love the sound of that bell, gives it a really nautical feel.  Dun-dun, du-du-du-du-du-du,dun-dun!! half expect jaws to pop up.
I looked back to find the buoy had disappeared into a cloud of mist that was approaching fast.  A slight breeze picked and and huge swell waves passed under.  Our destination ahead completely disappeared.  The sea felt big and intimidating now compared to the flat oasis it was moments before.  How quickly it can change.
Tarans red bandanna just visible.  I sat there for a moment without paddling, watching a dark wall of water loom overhead forcing me to look up.  The crest showing signs of toppling.  It passed under my boat faster than I could ever paddle and carried on toward the shore where it finally lost its balance and plowed into the rocks with a huge roar.  The power of the sea never ceases to amaze me.
On the last approach to Llantwit the mist lifted again revealing the breakers off the rocky plateau.  Once again the waves didn't seem too bad until two more huge breakers swept by dwarfing the surfers riding them.  That was enough to put me off...Taran however decided to chance his luck, setting off between the sets.  I'll let him tell you how that ended.  I made my way around the plateau to where we launched, a bit of local knowledge allowing me to land safely.
A mixed bag of conditions turned this trip into very interesting day.  I was also pleased to have landed on Nash Sand Bar again after my previously hurried last visit.  The Knap, Barry to Brean Down, on the other side of the channel next week all things being well.  Sorry Taran I wasn't getting up 4am this weekend!

1 comment:

Taran Tyla said...

Fab Post Stu, Great seeing the trip from your perspective. Love the Jesus quote, though I bet he didn't have to empty his kayak 1.5NM out at sea either(LOL). Really enjoyed this trip, the changeable sea's made it one to remember...