Sunday, 27 November 2011

Knap to Penarth

Taran was back after his couple of months touring the UK so we arranged to go for a paddle today.  Big swells, big tides and big winds.  We were hoping for a bit of rough water between the Knap Barry and Penarth.
We set off a couple of hours before low water against the tide but with a strong wind at our backs.
Out on the water the swell was evident but there wasn't much in the way of rough water.
Approaching Barry Island.
We aimed off toward the far side of Sully Island but soon had to move closer inshore to avoid the countering flow.  We spent much of the next few miles surfing the following sea.
A quick coffee break on the sand bar just off Sully Island.  It was a lovely winters day and I was starting to feel the cold even if it was mild for this time of year.
Back on the water we discussed the possibility of venturing out to Flat Holm just as the forecast came over the radio.  A change and increase in wind direction put us off so we headed out part way to link up the Lavernock Buoys. 
First the Lavernock Outfall.
Then the Ranie.
We then headed over for a surf on an offshore reef near the buoy. 

It was a bit messy with waves coming from all directions in about 3ft of water.
Taran ended his paddle with a few rolls, I didn't fancy the head freeze!
A long carry back to the van just as the sun sets.  A great day out and nice to have my paddling partner back.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Fun In The Pool

Back in the pool to practice my rolling and try out my new Norsaq rolling stick.
Here's Taran mid roll.  The play boat members of the club had no trouble with the norsaq, although they are also capable of hand rolling.  Me Taran and Jules had a harder time perfecting the roll.  I spent most of the session practising with it and finally pull off five norsaq rolls, although capturing them on film was a little hard.  It is a little like the butterfly role which is why I did one before my norsaq roll.  Here's a quick video of my failed attempts...

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Year Two Round-Up Sept 2010- Sept 11

Last year I did a post to celebrate my first year of paddling.  This post will carry on from that as a round up of my second year on the sea.  Carrying on from September of last year after my trip to Skye I took Taran out to Steep Holm for his first visit.  Following on from that was a string of solo paddles...
Late September I crossed off an ambition to get out to Nash sand bar.  It was a close call as I almost got swept off the narrow strip of sand.
It was almost  another month before I got back out in my boat near the end of October.  To make up for the lack of paddling I travelled out to Pembrokshire for a solo circumnavigation of Ramsey Island.  I enjoyed it so much two weeks later I brought the family out for a boat trip around the island.
Back on home waters I attempt a desperate fight against the flow of the Bristol Channel (and won) and a night paddle around Cardiff Bay.  
 This was a practise paddle with the idea of getting out on the sea at night, still not done.
A month after my last visit to Pembrokeshire I return for a paddle of St Brides Bay.  I remember it was very cold and miserable day.  I was seeking some shelter in this shot from the brisk winter winds.
Back again in the Bristol Channel and back with Taran for a superb trip.  We left Aberthaw at sun rise on a very cold December morning.  We paddled just over 41km to Porthcawl and back returning as the sun was setting.
Then it got cold...very cold.  The 'big freeze' arrived which halted my work on the gardens.  I drove down to Sully where the visibility was only a few meters at times.  I paddled to Barry harbour in complete white out relying on my GPS for navigation.  Salt water was starting to freeze and my camel pack was solid.
Another paddle out to the Holms leaving at sunrise from Sully.  A good day with plenty of fun in the races.
Back on my own again and more cold weather, will it ever end!  I remember pouring hot water on my boat this morning to prize it off the decking.
Some of the Icicles hanging from the cliff in Rhoose were a good 6ft long or so.  This is where the cliff was eroded away last week.
Christmas Eve and it's a white one.  With all this cold weather me and Taran wanted to see Flat Holm in the snow and we weren't disappointed.  We had to leave under moon light and the sun came up just as we got to the light house.  Another brilliant paddle.
A new year and the same old paddle.  This is me warming up beside the ship wreck on Tusker Rock, a tidal island just off Porthcawl.  It was bloody freezing.  Snow, sleet, fog and strong winds.
A trip to remember.  I was joined by Taran and Richie for trip from Black Rock just past the new Severn bridge back to Cardiff.  Notice the frost on the boats.
We couldn't have had better conditions!
We bagged another island on the way, the tiny Deny Island.  Next time you cross over the bridge look down stream and you should see it.
February and the weather starts to warm up (compared to the freeze).  I make a solo dash out to Monkstone light house.  It was very touch and go with the conditions but a good feeling when I got back on dry land.
Back to Nash Sands this time taking Taran along.  We followed the sands out riding on the surf, walking on water and enjoying the sunny weather.  Taran then went and bought a new boat, I planned on building a boat, Taran planned his trip around Wales and then disaster struck.
A pleasant trip out to Flat Holm ended in me getting rescued.  I wont go into details, read my post.  What I wasn't expecting was the huge support and nice messages and emails off everyone.  With all this fuss came fame.  Suddenly I couldn't go out without 'are you mayday stu'!! :o)  A couple of local trips to get my confidence back up and then it was back out west with Taran in April.
Big big swells this weekend almost put a halt to our paddling.
Then we tagged along with a very large group with SeaKayakingGuides for a trip over to Skommer Island.  We ended the weekend with a trip out to Ramsey Island and the Bitches.
Another great local adventure.  Me and Taran paddle out against the flow from Penarth and land on Cardiff grounds sand bar.  We then push our luck and aim off to Monkstone and land.  From there we went on to land on Steep Holm and Flat Holm before returing to Penarth.
No sooner than I had been rescued we were on the radio to the coastguard again.  This time Richie fell ill near Steepholm.  The Cardiff Bay Voyages rib came to the rescue before the Penarth lifeguard came out to collect his boat.
We are into May and I start planning my boat build.  I travel up to Liverpool for a paddle with Mike and friend while testing out his masterpiece.     
Paddling is put on hold for a bit as I very nearly cut my finger off in an occupational hazrd.  So I take some time off and make a start on my boat.
Still stitched up I tape up my finger to try out some boats at the Welsh Canoe Show and get very attached to a Valley Etain.
Into June and the supposed Summer the winds pick up.  Me and Taran get stuck in a squall off Sully Island.  I make a solo trip up to Barry and have a couple of proctice sessions at the Bay wating for the wind to calm down.
Connor gets into a boat for the first time while I get back in the Etain.  I sell my motorbike and think about buying a new boat.
By the end of the month the sun finally comes out so I join Taran and Jules for a trip out to Flat Holm and Monkstone house.  We meet up with Richard and Eurion on the island.  Who said kayaking isn't fashionable, look at us sexy buggers!  Oh and it just happened to be a nudist day on the island.
Taran can't take any more so decides to jump.
More high winds follow throughout July.  I get a couple of short local paddles in start building my boat and also buy a new one, my Tahe Marine Revel.  I take it for a few local paddles and break it!  Taran sods off for his expedition around Wales.
Not a very eventful Summer so far so me and Taran decide to get out west again and meet up with Martyn and his dad.
We paddle out to Ramsey Island on the Saturday.
And attempt a paddle out to Skomer Island on the Sunday with big conditions.
Two weeks later we are back in west Wales for some rock hopping fun with Glam Boaters Club.  I join up with Taran, Scott and his dad for another local paddle before August is out.
 September and the last month of my yearly round up.  I finish the hull on my boat build...
 Get boat envy at Barry docks...
And finish up fighting the weather on the Isle of Skye.  The weather turns out good for one day bringing this 2nd year of paddling to a perfect end.
A new boat, a new build, new friends, mishaps and adventures.  Not much in the way of new paddles or anything that I had hoped/planned for.  A lot was put on hold and still is while I get this boat built, the weather wasn't great and accidents happened.  Hopefully I should get the boat on the water before the spring and focus on getting some great paddles in.  I hope to see some of you out there and here's to another year on the sea.