Saturday, 31 October 2009

RNLB Garside 47-026 31/10/2009

Yet again the forecast was not looking too promising and with no plan for a paddle as yet today I was soon spurred into action when I heard the familiar sound of the St David's Lifeboat's engines. When she came round the point and cruised into the bay, I donned my drysuit and paddled out in pursuit.
Luckily they were practising hauling the anchor so I soon caught up with the Garside. The Garside was donated to the RNLI by Thomas Garside and his sister Dorothy and allocated to St Davids in 1988.
Garside is a 47' long Tyne class steel hulled lifeboat powered by Twin 6 cylinder General Motors diesel engines each producing 425 hp with a maximum speed of 17 and a half knots with a range of 240 nautical miles.

I have a quick chat with the Coxswain who tells me to make the most of it as a possible Force 10 is on the way!

The Garside then speeds back into Ramsey Sound with me in hot pursuit around to St Justinian.

When I finally get to St Justinian the Garside has been joined by the ILB Myrtle and Trevor Gurr which is the second St David's ILB, replacing the first Dewi Sant in December 2008.

I watch them practice for a while and then paddle the short distance back to Porthsele before the wind rises too much.
It was good to see both boats so close in the water, it makes you realise what a fantastic job they do, lets hope I never need them to get any closer for any other reason!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Respite at Solva 29/10/2009

With the tide right, the wind still showing no sign of easing and Bobby not yet having the chance to paddle his kayak it was an ideal day to go for a paddle at the sheltered harbour of Solva.

The part of the harbour where the boats were moored was calm and sheltered from the wind and ideal for Bobby to get the feel of his kayak again.

Rounding the right angle bend at the seaward end of the harbour we lost the protection from the wind and there was a small swell coming into the harbour which was great for Bobby to get his confidence in slightly rougher water than he is used to paddling in. He was a bit tentative at first but soon was loving it, getting very wet in the process.

After a good half hour in the harbour entrance we paddled back to the car park where Harry seemed more interested in rock climbing than kayaking still a good time was had by all.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Ramsey Sound Playtime 28/10/2009

The wind and sea conditions abated enough through the night for me to venture back out in the sea kayak. Although they had eased the forecast wasn't brilliant so once again there wasn't to be any paddling of any distance but I decided to have some fun in the Ramsey Sound tiderace.

It was only a small tide but there was still quite a swell running which would make things a bit more interesting. This soon became apparent on reaching Pen dal-ederyn at the southerly end of the Sound.

I paddle out into the main flow and let it take me back northward past the Bitches and into the eddy which takes me back southward into the calmer water behind the outermost Bitch (rock) from the Island.

After having a brief rest here I then make my way from rock to rock across the Bitches over towards Ramsey Island and again have another rest behind the Bitch nearest to the main wave where there are a group of Cormorants or Shags trying to get some shelter from the wind.

I have a bit of play in the water around the Bitches and then head back across and back out into the northerly flowing tiderace but instead of letting it take me back up through the Sound I ferry glide across to the mainland and then paddle southward back up to Pen dal-ederyn and then out into the tide flow again.

This time I stay in the main tiderace and let it take me northward up to St David's Head where I stop and take some photos of the sun trying to break through the cloud over Ramsey Island. I follow the coast around across Whitesands Bay and back over to Porthsele, a very exhilarating paddle and great practise of paddling in tideraces, great fun!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Milford Haven Seal Hospital 27/10/2009

Today's windy and unsettled weather made it an ideal day to make our annual visit to the Milford Haven Seal Hospital which is housed in a disused oil refinery storage tank at the entrance to the docks.
There were 5 pups in the hospital today and apparantely so far this year it has been a lot quieter than last year probably because of the very settled weather we have had recently but I am sure this will change especially after the wind and rough seas we have had over the last few days.

The pups are kept in heated compartments with 2 small pools which the pups are constantly in and out learning their swimming skills.

It is well worth a visit especially at this time of year with both Bobby and Harry really looking forward to our visit.

We spent a very pleasurable hour there watching the pups being fed whole Mackerel. Terry and his volunteer staff do a fantastic job and as the hospital relies solely on donations they need all the financial help they can get.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Seal Pups Galore 26/10/2009

Once again when I decide to take a few days off work the weather also decides to take a turn for the worse.
With the shipping forecast predicting wind increasing through the day, my paddling options were pretty limited once again.
With no real plan I paddle out to the jagged group of rocks of Carreg Gafeilliog which stand at the northern entrance to Ramsey Sound, passing a Guillemot which is already in it's Winter plumage.
I decide to follow the mainland coast of the Sound, cross over to Ramsey Island, paddle along the eastern side and then cross back over the sound to Porthsele.

Just before St Justinian I spot a very white fluffy seal near the water's edge on one of the numerous isolated beaches.

Passing St Justinian I paddle over to Ogof Mary where last night's rainfall is still seeping through the cave entrance onto the algae covered rocks below.
Paddling on I pass the natural arch and onto the sheltered beach at Carn ar Wig, where surprisingly there are no seal pups. On reaching Pen Dal-adeyrn, the southern most end of the Ramsey Sound mainland, there is very little tidal flow so I am able to paddle southwesterly without being dragged back northwards towards the Bitches. I paddle towards Ynys Eilun, the rocky outcrop that lies to the South of Ramsey Island.
The nearer I get to Ynys Eilun the more the wind starts to pick up and makes my progress quite hard. I cut my losses before reaching Ynys Eilun and let the wind and what little tide there is take me northward back along the east side of Ramsey Island. I make rapid progress past the high cliffs at the south of the Island passing quite a few seal pups dotted on the numerous small bays and inlets on the way.

Nearing the Bitches, the weather really closes in with the wind increasing and misty rain starting to fall. I pass through the Bitches with no tide flow which doesn't happen very often and stop for a chat with Tim of Venture Jet, we both comment about the glorious weather! Good to see he is still staying quite busy.
On the small beach by the landing jetty there are 2 more pups with a bull trying to have his wicked way with one of the pup's mothers so I leave them to it and paddle northward to Trwyn Ogof Hen.

At the headland looking back down to the Bitches and across to St David's Head, the weather is getting worse and I am undecided whether to carry on round to Bay Ogof Hen or head back across the Sound.
I decide on the first option and am rewarded by finding another pup snuggled upon a sheltered rocky ledge above the high water mark.
I watch him for a while before I am joined by a large bull who kindly escorts me out of the large bay and halfway across Ramsey Sound when I stop to take a photo of Carnysgubor and the north of the island disappearing into the mist.
Reaching St John's point I take a last look at Ramsey and wonder what the weather has instore for tomorrow, but at least I managed a decent if not shortish paddle today.