Saturday, 14 June 2014

Crossing the Channel

More settled weather so I team up with Elan and Jules for a crossing of the Bristol Channel.  I believe this trip came about because I wanted to explore the far side of the channel a little more than just shoot over and back.  There was no in depth navigational planning involved, quite simply the plan was to paddle directly across with the ebbing tide and see where we end up.  We were departing from Sully so the likely hood was we would end up somewhere between Minehead and Porlock.
I was very hot, probably the first time in the year none of use have worn some sort of cag.
 Image by Jules, me and Elan just leaving Barry in the backdrop.

As you can see I'm still using the Greenland paddles, getting very attached to them by now.
As with other open crossings we've done as a rule we stop briefly every hour to replenish energy reserves and in Elans case plaster on the sun cream.  You can see we are slowly moving down the channel, in the backdrop now Porthkerry and Rhoose.
Mid channel we spot a buoy I haven't seen before, with the tide flow it's not worth trying to paddle closer but I manage this fully zoomed in shot.  It's a safe water marker, set in deep safe water.  They would be used by ships travelling up and down the channel as a way point for safe water.
Within three hours we have hit the coast on the far side.  We can see the bay of Minehead to our left and a steep green cliffs up ahead coming to a point on our right.  Beyond that is Porlock Bay.
We land very briefly for a pee stop and then continue on west with the ebb hugging the steep cliffs and playing in the shallow surf that sweeps in on our starboard beam.
A coast guard lookout, built in 1900, marks Hurlstone Point.  Here the long sandy beach seems like the ideal place to take our lunch break.  
The coastline here is staggeringly beautiful, I need to come back an explore in much more detail.
Left to Right, Tahe Marine Reval, P&H Cetus and the Valley Etain.
We enjoy the beach to ourselves, which seems cut off from any means of public access, except maybe at low water.  Jules notices a line traversing down the steep scree slope and goes to investigate.  You can just make him out at the bottom centre of this shot.
Don't ask, I don't know.
From our lunch stop we round Hurlstone Point and venture out slightly into Porlock Bay.  The steep pebble bay is about two nautical miles wide and about half a mile deep.  We are keen to continue exploring the far side but by the time we cross the bay it would be time to return so we opt to make our return across the channel.  
Again we simply aim our bow perpendicular to the Welsh shore line and make final adjustments as we near the coast.  My phone died about three miles out from the finish so in all the total mileage was about 42-43 miles.  Another great day on the water and another crossing of the channel in the bag.

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