Monday, 14 April 2008

Not such a good day....14/04/2008

Another windy day and with the wind coming from the north it was also very cold. Last day here today so decided to paddle to over to Whitesands and out to St David's head, to hopefully escape the northerly wind.

When taking photos I usually drop my skeg to help keep the boat still, unfortunately shortly after taking this picture my skeg cable jammed, (bad luck number one!).

After rounding Trwynhwrddyn, more commonly known as the Ram's nose or the saddleback, I entered Porth Lleuog which is a small isolated beach with high cliffs and numerous inlets and caves.

One of the numerous inlets between Porth Lleuog and Porthmelgan that is only accessible by the sea and as a result seal pups are often born here.

Entrance to cave near Porthmelgan

Inside cave

Looking out of the cave

On leaving the cave it is only a short paddle to a small headland and round into Porthmelgan.

Shortly after taking the photo above bad luck number two struck, my camera packed in! Paddled on to St David's head and as bad luck usually comes in threes thought I better cut my losses and head back for Porthsele!

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Ramsey Island....yes or no? 13/04/2008

Wind wind bl***y wind! NW4 or 5 increasing 6 at times. The tides today were ideal for a trip around the Island but once again the winds were dubious.

I set out from Porthsele an hour and a half before high water Milford Haven so the flood tide was already increasing in speed. I headed south through the Sound keeping quite close to the cliffs, passing a fishing boat on the way, until I reached St Justinian.

On reaching St Justinian I then headed for the little bay just before Penmaen Melyn where I usually stop for a quick drink before setting out across the rougher water of the main tidal flow. The photo below is taken from Penmaen Melyn looking across to the Bitches.

At Penmaen Melyn I stayed well into the coastline as there is a bit of a tidal flow against me until I got to about half way to the next headland when there is a small eddy which then aids my progress past the old mine workings and on to Pen Dal-aderyn, which is the southern most tip of the Sound. This is the point where I see the main body of water flowing into the Sound which can be quite an awesome/offputting sight.

I now paddled as hard as I could into the mainstream where I am swiftly swept northwards out into the Sound back towards the Bitches. The flow actually takes me past the Bitches but I continue to paddle as hard as possible to reach another eddy which then takes me back onto the Bitches where I can now have a well earned breather behind the first rock.

Looking across to Penmaen Melyn from the first rock of the Bitches

Looking across to Pen Dal-adeyrn from first rock of the Bitches

From the relative shelter of the rock I can now look towards the Island and see the full extent of the Bitches tidal race.

Looking across the Bitches towards Ramsey Island from the first rock

I now eddy hop over to the rock by the top wave but because of the northerly wind against the tidal flow the wave is not constant and is impossible to stay on for any length of time. I then paddled over to the little jetty on the Island and stopped for a chat with one of the boat trip owners, Tim of Venture Jet. Tim informed me that it was very rough around the other side of the Island and this definately made my mind up to abandon my original round the Island plan.

By now the tidal flow had eased off enough so that I could paddle through the Bitches doing a couple of circuits back and forth, although I couldn't manage to beat my top speed of 9 knots which I achieved earlier in the main tidal race coming across to the Bitches.

The water past the Bitches was really calm as it was sheltered from the wind so I paddled on down to Abermyharan where I encountered a large quantity of seals lazily basking on the beach. I was then kindly escorted back to the Bitches by two bull seals and one female seal, but as usual, as soon I tried to take a photo they would get camera shy and disappear only to reappear as soon as I started paddling again.

I then paddled back through the Sound to St John's point on the last of the flood tide. I covered a total of just over 7 nautical miles and it was good to get back over to the Bitches on a flood tide once again.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Is it me??? 12/04/2008

Back down West Wales last night and brought the wind with me, so I have been informed, before I arrived the sea was calmer and the wind was lighter. The inshore shipping forecast, not that I really needed to look at it, was W or SW 5 or 6 decreasing 4 at times. I decided to paddle over to Whitesands and out to St David's head, and possibly manage to go around the head as the tide was ebbing. At least then if I find it harder than expected I have the tide with me to bring me back. On reaching Whitesands and paddling out towards the head, I realised it was a much larger swell than was at first apparent, which my wife also confirmed to me on my return as she was watching through the binoculars.

Whitesands Bay - Now you see it

Now you don't

On reaching the Head there were very large overfalls and as a result I decided to use the Southerly flowing ebb tide to take me down towards Ramsey Island.

South Bishop in distance

I headed on a course for South Bishop to allow the tide to bring me down onto the north end of Ramsey Island. Even with the wind against me I managed a top speed of 6 knots. I broke out of the tidal flow into the relative shelter of the NE point of Ramsey Island and paddled down towards the Bitches.
The flow was starting to ease off now so I was able to paddle back and forth through the arch by the jetty taking the above photo in the process. I didn't risk ferry gliding straight across from the Bitches to the mainland so I paddled northwards for a few hundred yards before starting my return journey, which turned out to be a good decision as the tide then brought me down to the point adjacent to the Bitches and into the calmer water of the mainland coastline.

On the paddle back it looked like it could be a good sunset but before the sun got too low it hit a bank of cloud.