Saturday, 13 October 2012

Big Swells at the Gower

Today I was paddling with James and Steve again and a couple of new faces Gareth and Kevin.  Another successfully gathering as a result of the new Sea Kayaking Cymru page.
Yet another early start, up at 6:30am to get ready and down to Port Eynon on the Gower coast line for 9:30.
Conditions looked perfect within the bay but with a force 3-4 head wind we suspected it might be a bit of a slog around the point and onto Worms Head and intended to take it as it comes one step at a time.
Waves broke off the point and beyond over the Helwick pass.  I must add that Steve in the red Scorpio and Kevin in the Yellow Charleston are both complete novices with very little previous experience.
The sight of the big rollers off the point was a bit intimidating for both but we reassured them it would calm down once we pass through to the other side.
We battled on into the wind around the point together with a big rolling swell.

Unfortunately the swell didn't subside on the other side of the point but we continued on toward the Worms Head in the distance.
We passed by the stunning scenery of the Gower at a safe distance as big rolling surf battered the cliffs.

 Steve about to disappear over the peak of a wave.
Kevin just going out of sight.

Kevin looking very comfortable in his stable Charleston.  This was the furthest Kevin has paddled and was starting to feel the strain.
 James in the Cetus.
 Gareth in his shiny new Tiderace.
Trying to capture the scale of the swell.  The aim was to land at the only beach along the way at Mewslade Bay.  Progress was slow under 2 knots.  I had the bay in my GPS from a previous visit and worked out with another 1.6 nautical miles to go it would take around another hour, with no guarantee it would be safe to land.
As the swell seemed increase further on Steve openly admitted he was beyond his comfort level now and both were keen to turn back.  We made excellent progress once we turned more than doubling our previous speed.
Gareth and James had a play in the huge surf off the point on our return while I was quite happy to sit back with Steve and Kevin and take pictures.

To be fair to Kevin and Steve they did really well today.  It can be really intimidating with a wall of dark blue water looming down on you when your sat in a tiny craft.  All good experience though and hopefully everything else will now seem quite small in comparison. 
Although we didn't reach our destination it was good to get out on the water in great company again.  Chip shop chips in the cafe before heading home.  Can't wait for the next one.

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