Sunday, 21 September 2008

Big Ships & A Little Island 21/08/08

Paddling out from Penarth on a breezy but quite sunny Sunday morning I decided to paddle straight out towards the Mid Cardiff Buoy with the possibility of maybe carrying on out to Monkstone Lighthouse.

Mid Cardiff Buoy is approximately 1.5 miles into the Bristol Channel and on the edge of the sandbanks of the Cardiff Grounds. It was quite choppy and windy when I got out there so I decided not to carry on out but paddle SW against the last of the incoming tide towards the mainland and Lavernock Point.
Whilst paddling, glancing behind me I spotted a large boat fast approaching. A quickening of my paddling speed and I just had time to turn around, get my camera out before the ship was past me, it makes you feel very small when one of these large vessels pass close by.

Before I knew it she was disappearing behind Sully Island in the distance. The rest of the paddle to Lavernock Point was uneventful, and on rounding the headland I finally got out of the quite strong wind and finished the remaining paddle to Sully Island in flat calm conditions.

Sully Island is a small tidal island with a rocky causeway connecting it to the mainland, which is uncovered approximately 3 hours either side of low water. This makes access to Sully Island a potentially dangerous exercise and many people have been swept away trying to get back to the mainland as the tide rises very rapidly.

Southern seaward side of Sully Island

Whilst on the south side of the island another large ship heading westward came into sight and was then passed by another ship coming eastward with a small sailing boat being dwarfed by both. My thoughts turned to Eurion and Hywel who were yesterday paddling across the Bristol Channel from St Donat's to Porlock, I hope it wasn't this busy!

Looking west towards Barry from Sully Island

Bull rock in the foreground with Marconi Holiday
Park at Lavernock to the rear

Often Sully Sound, the stretch of water between the island and the mainland, can get very rough, but today it was flat calm with hardly any tide flow.

It was an easy paddle back to Lavernock Point which is where on 13th May 1897 Marconi transmitted and received the first wireless signals over open sea between Lavernock Point and Flat Holm Island.

On rounding the headland it is then a long straight paddle back to Penarth finishing off a round trip of just over 8 nautical miles (approximately 9.75 miles or 15km).

No comments: