Sunday, 15 June 2008

Tusker Rock 15/06/2008

I left a deserted Dunraven Bay early on another perfect Sunday morning. Using the last of the ebb tide I paddled past Ogmore and the vast caravan site of Trecco Bay, and onto Porthcawl Point.

On the breakwater at Porthcawl Point there is a lighthouse which was built in 1860 and also the boathouse of the Porthcawl Lifeboat.

The flood tide was just starting to flow as I paddled out towards the west cardinal Fairy Buoy which marks the nearby Fairy Rock. Judging by the state of the buoy it has taken a bit of a hammering and could do with a bit of TLC.

The Fairy Buoy looking a bit battered!

With the ever increasing flood tide I made rapid progress to the Tusker Buoy which is south west from Tusker Rock.

From Tusker Buoy I was now able to surf towards Tusker Rock which is a large rock that only becomes visible about two hours before and after low water. It gets it's name from Tuska the Viking, whose fellow Vikings semi-colonised the Vale of Glamorgan.

Waves breaking on the shallow water around Tusker Rock

As you can imagine, Tusker Rock is a major hazard to shipping and numerous vessels have run aground here. There is much visible evidence still remaining around the rock.

When I first looked into the history of the wreck on Tusker I came across conflicting reports as to what shipwreck it was. Many reports say it was the SS Samtampa but after much research and help from Eurion, my mate Dave "the lone gunman" and the Receiver of Wrecks, the truth was unearthed.

It seems as though it is most probably the wreck of the sand dredger Steepholm which was built in Bristol in 1950 and owned by the Holm's Sand and Gravel Company. It was wrecked on the 03/10/1968 with the crew of 7 being rescued by the Mumbles Lifeboat for which the Coxswain, Lionel Derek Scott was awarded a Bronze medal plus an additional monetary award for himself and the crew.

It was now a nice leisurely paddle back to the mainland and onto Dunraven Bay where, for a change, on landing the wind began to rise!

Cliffs approaching Dunraven Bay

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Carreg Rhoson 01/06/2008

Conditions were totally different to yesterday with the sea mist clearing some time during the night. I left Porthsele and decided to paddle straight out, roughly on a course for North Bishop and see how things went.

The sea was flat calm and the tide was still flowing southwards so it was taking me down towards Ramsey Island rather than round St David's Head. Progress was a lot easier than expected and before I knew it the rock of Carreg-trai was fast approaching. I made a slight alteration to my course, and paddling against the tide flow, headed straight for it.

I had a brief rest and took a few photos, the one below is looking back at St David's Head. It was surprising how fast the tide was flowing and before I knew it Carreg-trai was disappearing.

I was half tempted to carry on paddling out towards North Bishop but I knew the tide would soon be changing which would make my return quite a struggle, and also it did still look like quite a distance to paddle.

I was now in the main tidestream and made good progress down to Carreg Rhoson sighting numerous porpoises on the way but, as usual, they were far too interested in feeding than posing for a picture.

As I reached Carreg Rhoson the tide was just starting to change and flow north easterly and although South Bishop was looking invitingly close it would have been a long hard slog against the tide.

After another brief rest stop it was a leisurely ferry glide back across to Ramsey Island. I was tempted to carry on southward around the Island but the tide was already flowing quickly against me so decided to save it for another day.

On reaching Trwyn Sion-Owen, the northerly tip of Ramsey, I stopped again for a quick drink and to take a look back at Carreg Rhoson, and felt a slight sense of achievement at having done it.

By now, although not rough, Ramsey Sound was flowing very fast northwards so using the south flowing counter eddy near the Island I paddled southward until I hit the north flowing stream which took me nicely across to St John's point and back to Porthsele.