Sunday, 1 March 2009

The Early Bird catches the Tide 01/03/09

I wasn't the early bird this morning which kind of put an end to my planned paddle. I had planned to paddle straight out southward from the Sully YC slipway into the last of the easterly flowing flood tide and let it take me down onto Flat Holm Island.

Arriving at the slipway the tide had already turned and looking out to sea I could see the Lavernock Spit buoy already leaning at an angle as the westerly flowing ebb tide strained its moorings.

My revised plan was to follow the same route as a fortnight ago through Sully Sound and to Lavernock Point, hopefully get round the point, and then on to Flat Holm, simple!

There was a little adverse tide through Sully Sound but once I passed Sully Island I made good progress onto Lavernock Point and even the sun came out. As I approached the point a Royal Navy patrol boat motored out towards Flat Holm, where another boat appeared to be waiting for it.

I got round the point but made the mistake of taking the above photo and before I knew it I was into the tide stream and being taken back round the point. My only option was to attempt a very long ferry glide. I lined up some transits on the mainland which showed although I was making good progress away from Lavernock Point I was also losing ground and being taken westerly.

On reaching the unnamed yellow special mark buoy south of the Ranie buoy it was obvious I wasn't going to make Flat Holm but I decided to carry on with the ferry glide until I heard the noise of engines behind me, it was the two navy patrol boats returning back from their jolly!

The first one was the P163 HMS Express, the only black hulled surface vessel in the Royal Navy. She is an Archer Class or P2000 patrol and training vessel.

This was closely followed by the P167 HMS Exploit, another Archer Class patrol boat. They are both University Royal Naval Unit Vessels, P163 assigned to the Welsh Universities and P167 assigned to Birmingham University.

Whilst watching the two boats pass by I had been taken quite a way westward so I decided to call it a day and head back towards Sully Island.

Whilst paddling along the south side of Sully Island I came across a group of kayakers heading in the opposide direction, one of whom was Hywel who I paddled around Skomer and Skokholm last summer. He is off to the Scilly Isles at the end of the month for a week, hope the weather holds out for him!

Rounding the SW corner of the island I watched 3 anglers taking their lives in their hands crossing the submerged causeway between the mainland and the island.

Approaching the slipway another ship passed me by, it sure was a busy day out in the channel.

Almost the same paddle as a fortnight ago but thats what happens when you have an extra hour lay in but still good ferry glide practice!


Hywel said...

I looked you up again! Glad to see we made it into your trip report. Two of those paddling with me were members of Dragon Paddlers. The 3 of us did a trip back in December which gave a few beautiful photos, blogged here: Jackson Bay to Lavernock


Anonymous said...

I live in south wales - a family friend owns a caravan on the site, just before the beach, if i'm ever down there we see the big ferry's going across, and when the tide is out, we walk across to the island and pick blackberries, and go right up to the point of the island.