Today was supposed to be a relaxing trip out to Flat/Steep Holm from Sully but as usual things didn't go to plan. I know what your all thinking by the title but this time it wasn't me.
Force 4-5 sea slight and plenty of sun. There was supposed to be five of us in all but do to unforeseen circumstances it ended up being the usual suspects, Richie, Taran and myself.
With only neap tides we make an easy ferry glide across to Steep Holm on the last two hours of flood.
The three arches at rudder rock. For once it was possible to pass through the one on the left of the photograph, even if it was a bit narrow. Richie was starting to feel the strain so we stopped off on the beach.
Some of Steep Holm's nesting Shelducks take to the air just as we land on the beach. After a quick break and a telling off from a grumpy warden for being on the wrong side of the gate we head off for a long hard ferry back over to Sully.
Not long in to the paddle Richie was complaining of pins and needles in his arms and legs and wasn't looking to good. Moments later he was throwing up and unable to find any energy to paddle. Frustratingly none of us had a tow rope. Myself and Taran both previous 'solo' paddles didn't really see the use in having one previously. We attempted a contact tow but even that was to much for Richie, he wasn't looking good. Call went over the radio to come pick him up.
Moments later the Cardiff Island Voyages rib came to our aid and took Richie on board. We were left stranded with an empty kayak and no tow, although the lifeboat at Penarth had already been launched and was coming to pick it up.
Stranded mid way between Steep Holm and Flat Holm and with an ever increasing tide we rigged together a short tow out of some chord from a VHF dry case and a couple of karabiners and made on our way.
Soon after the Penarth lifeboat rib came to our aid and took the boat off our hands. We assured the crew we would be fine paddling back and made on our way again, although they didn't think we stood much of a chance now the ebb tide was now in full flow and looking rather choppy.
We managed to make it to Flat Holm paddling up what seemed to be a large eddying flow against the tide. Any idea on these little birds? hundreds of them and didn't seem to mind us approaching.
The flow was now moving at quite a pace which made for a very steep ferry angle and slow progress.
A little adverse conditions were felt around Wolves Rock and nearing Lavernock but we managed to make good progress. Not quite the paddle we were expecting but an adventure none the less. On reaching the lifeboat station Richie was taken off to hospital but has since been discharged and feeling much better. Off to buy a tow now. 12.39 nm in all.