Sunday, 9 August 2009

A Bristol Channel Millpond 09/08/2009

After another hectic 6 days in work it was great to get out on a perfect August Sunday morning. Like last Sunday I launched from the slipway at Penarth but with even better conditions than last week.
With not much of a plan I decide to paddle Northeast with the last hour or so of the flood tide and then use the first of the outgoing tide to take me down to Monkstone Lighthouse.

It was effortless paddling until drawing level with the Cardiff Bay Barrage when I had to put on a little sprint to get out of the way of the UKD Bluefin a 98 metre long dredger, one of two dredgers steaming back and for from the Barrage entrance out into the Bristol Channel.

There was not a breath of wind as I paddled on for about an hour across a glassy flat millpond like sea.

Stopping for a well deserved rest as it was getting very warm I noticed I was starting to drift backwards, the tide had turned so taking a photo looking back at Cardiff Docks I paddle further out into the Channel to the Welsh Water Buoy where I definately see that the tide has changed.

I now set a course for Monkstone Lighthouse with the islands of Flat Holm and Steep Holm behind.

With the ever increasing tide in my favour I make good progress to the lighthouse. Monkstone Lighthouse was built in 1839 on a rock outcrop nearly 4 miles from Penarth which is underwater apart from just before and after low water.

As can be seen from the photos the tide flows very quickly here and it is amazing to think how they managed to build the lighthouse back in the 1830s.

It is now a very long ferry glide back to Penarth across the shipping lane which today is exceptionally busy. The first of two ships leaving Cardiff Docks is a large cargo vessel which I couldn't quite make out it's name.

The second is the Soul Sound which is a 78 metre long cargo ship built in 1983.

The two dredgers are still busy and then the Balmoral puts in an appearance and like last week I follow her into Penarth where she docks at the Pier to pick up more daytrippers.

A paddle of just over 10 and a half nautical miles (just over 12 miles or nearly 20kms) in near perfect conditions.

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