Saturday, 7 February 2009

What's Occurring....? 07/02/2009

With the weather at last looking a bit more favourable I was back in the sea kayak for the first time in over a month.

I launched from the slipway at Sully Yacht Club which according to their website is the longest in the Bristol Channel.
It was still cold as can be seen by the pools above the high water mark frozen over and the snow still covering the hills of North Devon across the channel, but the sun was out and the wind wasn't as strong as it has been of late.

Paddling westward I pass Ty Hafan Children's Hospice which this year is celebrating it's 10th year. It was established entirely from public donations and it's running costs are only 17% funded by the Government.

Just along the coast is Bendrick Rock which is just submerged on high spring tides and it is by here there are dinosaur footprints in the rocks along the shore, some of which have been quarried away and attempted to be sold on Ebay.

Passing the entrance to Barry Dock I round Nell's Point with it's Coastwatch Station, one of the volunteers popped outside to watch my progress through the small overfalls and into Whitmore Bay or as it's more commonly known, Barry Island.

Barry Island has received a bit more attention due to the popularity of the Gavin and Stacey series that is partly filmed here.

I paddled straight across the bay and round Friar's Point across Barry Harbour which with the tide out is just a large sandy beach and over to the South Cardinal marker off Cold Knap Point.

Reaching here I decided to turn back as the easterly flood tide is now flowing quite strongly so I paddle back into the sheltered water of Whitmore Bay.

On the sea front is Barry Island Pleasure Park, I couldn't see if Nessa was working or not today!

Barry Island used to be an island but was joined to the mainland in the 1880's when the Docks were built. It was quite busy in the Channel today with 1 ship anchored and whilst I was enjoying a nice warm coffee from my flask another large container ship came up the channel and with that the pilot launch came out of Barry Dock and headed out to it to put the pilot on board.

Finishing my coffee I paddled around Nell's Point and into Jackson's Bay, a small sheltered sandy beach between the West Breakwater and the cliffs at Nell's Point.

At the end of the Breakwater I pass the 30ft high cast iron lighthouse which marks the entrance to Barry Dock. Work started on Barry Docks in 1884 and the first dock basin was opened in 1889 followed by two other docks. Trade grew from one million tons in the first year to over nine million tons in 1903. By 1913 Barry was the largest coal exporting port in the world handling 4000 ships and over 11 million tons of coal. All that has long gone and the docks are very quiet now.

Barry Dock is the home of the Inner Wheel II, the Barry Dock Lifeboat. It is a trent class lifeboat which is designed to remain moored afloat, it is 14 metres long with a range of 250 nautical miles and a top speed of 25 knots.

Whilst taking photos of the Inner Wheel II a crew member of the Port of Bristol Pilot Launch, which is also moored nearby, came out and kindly offered me a cuppa! After a long chat I carried on my way paddling past the one shut and one open entrance of the docks and back out into the Channel.
The progress back to the slipway was rapid, aided by the ever increasing flood tide, passing the fast disappearing Bendrick Rock with some good views of the container ship between Steep Holm and Flat Holm.
A leisurely paddle with plenty of interest, covering a distance of 7.15 nautical miles (approx. 8.5 miles or 13.5 km).

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