Saturday, 14 February 2009

Sully Island and The Lavernock Spit 14/02/2009

Launching again from the slipway in Sully I paddled in the opposite direction to last weekend, eastwards this week towards Sully Island.

Leaving just after high water the island was cut off from the mainland but 3 hours either side of low water it is accessible via a rocky causeway.

With the Bristol Channel having the 2nd highest tidal range in the world, many drownings have occurred with people being caught out by the speed of the incoming tide.

Staying close to the layered cliffs of the south side of Sully Island I used an eddy to take me against the main flow to East Point where the westerly flowing ebb tide was starting to pick up speed.

Paddling tight to the rocks I slipped round the point and into the more placid water of Swanbridge Bay where I continued eastwards across St Mary's Well Bay, again aided by another eddy and was quite surprised glancing at the GPS to see I was averaging about 4 knots.

I then reached Lavernock Point where on May 13th 1897 Marconi transmitted and received the first wireless signals over open sea from here to Flat Holm Island.

Here my progress was halted as the tide was speeding past the point, I decided to ferry glide out into the channel and then paddle with the tide down to the Lavernock Spit South Cardinal Buoy avoiding the occasional tree being swept along by the tide.

Progress was very rapid to the buoy with the GPS showing I was paddling between 8.5 and 9.5 knots with very little effort.

Before I knew I was at the buoy and then passed it. The buoy marks the southern most point of the Lavernock Spit, a large sandbank that extends out to sea for well over a nautical mile. The buoys shows that the clear water is to the south.

It was now another ferry glide back across to Sully Island again dodging yet another tree!

At the eastern and highest side of the island there are the remains of a Saxon Fort and also evidence has been found from the Romans, Vikings and also that Pirates have used it as a base for their activities.

Paddling through Sully Sound the sea level is perfect to take photos of the shipwreck on the North Shore of the island.

I am not sure of the history but it appears to be too small to be that of the Antarctic Survey ship the Scotia which was wrecked here as that had a length of about 130 feet and this one is only about 50-60 feet long.

Paddling over the submerged causeway the standing waves are just starting to build but not quite enough to surf on yet, maybe another time.

It was now an easy paddle back to the slipway. This was only a short paddle of nearly 6 nautical miles ( just over 6.5 miles or 10.5km) but quite a rapid one at times.

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