Saturday, 29 August 2009

Ramsey Island - Seals Young & Old 29/08/2009

With the wind finally easing and the sea calming down quite considerably, I was back in the sea kayak after yesterday's surfing session.
Although the sea had calmed down a lot there was still quite a large swell which I was able to use to help me around Penrhyn Dalar against the increasing flood tide.

Reaching Pen Dal-aderyn, the southern tip of the Ramsey Sound mainland, the conditions weren't too bad and I didn't lose too much ground as I made the crossing against the tidal flow over to Ramsey Island and shelter from the constant SW wind.

Even though I was sheltered from the wind, there was still quite a swell especially by the arch at Penrhyn Twll. Paddling past the steep pebbled beach there were a number of seals hauled out, I think they were mostly bulls hence it is sometimes known as the Batchelor Beach.

As usual I am followed closely behind by a couple of the bulls constantly splashing and snorting making sure I am aware of their presence.

Coming in the other direction is a large sailing boat obviously making use of the strong wind and the north flowing flood tide.

Reaching Twyll y Dillyn I felt the full force of the wind again and seeing one of the boat trip RIBs turning round and coming back I decided it wasn't a wise move to continue on any further.

Even though I have paddled here on many occasions, the ruggedness and beauty of the coastline on the island still takes my breath away as I paddle back northwards towards the Bitches.

There are a few pups already on the sheltered beaches, keeping my distance though I wave to Tim of Venture Jet as he speeds by.

I don't paddle through the Bitches but through the narrow gap between the mainland and the Bitches and through the arch and into the calmer water near the landing jetty.

Whilst having a drink and a rest I watch another sailing boat making good progress through the Sound and a boat trip RIB speeding through the turbulent water of the Bitches.

There are 2 very healthy looking seal pups on the small beach by the jetty. I am soon joined by a very large bull, I have seen him quite often over the years, he has the biggest head I have seen on a bull seal and reminds me of the Sontarans from Dr Who which I am often forced to watch by my sons Bobby and Harry. He follows me for a short while but is far more interested in having his evil way with the mothers of the pups!

I paddle northwards along the island passing the first sailing boat I saw earlier which is now anchored in the calm water of Rhod Isaf. I then paddle out into the Sound taking a last look back southward passing a young gull who didn't seem too bothered about me.

Whilst crossing the Sound,a Fulmar constantly circles around me gliding effortlessly just above the sea, I am quite pleased with the photos from my new Pentax Optio W80 as they fly at quite a speed.

I pass quite close to the turbulent water around Horse Rock which even though the tide is easing off is still quite confused.
I then let the tide take me down to St John's point where again the water is a little choppy.

It is then a short paddle back to Porthsele where, hopefully, the weather will continue to improve.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Hurricane Bill 28/08/2009

All the rumours from yesterday appeared to be true as the weather again took a turn for the worse through the night with winds up to force 8, as a result the sea picked up considerably.
I don't know if it was the remnants of Hurricane Bill that had come across the Atlantic or not but the sea state was pretty impressive.
Whitesands was totally blown out with the waves breaking a few hundred yards out so I decided to give Porthsele a go, it was a bit more sheltered but with some large waves coming through.
They weren't ideal waves with most closing out quickly but they were very powerful with plenty of impressive wipe outs which proved quite popular with the holidaymakers on the beach.
After a cracked deck on the surf kayak and the feeling that I had been through a washing machine a few times I had a great time.
Here are a few photos of my 27 year old Palm Ultimate Surf Kayak which I promised to Corgimas (Rob).

Thursday, 27 August 2009

A Blustery Day! 27/08/2009

With the weather again taking a turn for the worst, and with rumours that the remnants of hurricane Bill were on its way I wasn't going to be paddling far again today!

Porthsele was sheltered from the brunt of the wind so I was able to play around in the surf even though the waves were dumping a bit, so it was a matter of getting off before they broke.

I stayed for a while playing in the surf which was getting more congested by the minute with body boarders etc. I paddled off around Fisherman's point towards St John's point. The nearer I got to St John's point the wind increased, and on rounding St John's it was like hitting a brick wall, with both tide and wind against me.

After struggling for a while I gave in and practiced my boat handling skills in the slightly less windy conditions between St John's and Fisherman's point.

I then returned to Porthsele hoping that the rumours of the forthcoming storm were not true.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

An Ocean Sunfish 25/08/2008

With the wind much the same as yesterday there was to be no paddling of any distance again.
I paddled out of Porthsele and along a very congested Whitesands Bay with the occasional decent wave rolling in.

Paddling out to St David's Head the sea conditions weren't too bad with the chance to experiment with the camera.
On rounding the head the sea livened up considerably and the tide was flowing southward at quite a rate. It would have been quite a struggle to paddle any further so I took the easy option and go with the flow as it were southwards to Ramsey Island.

I made good progress even against the strong wind and nearing Gwahan I spotted what at first I thought was a seal swimming on the surface ahead of me, but on catching it up, it was a sunfish. They apparently grow to, on average, 6ft long, but this one was about 4ft in diameter.

It seemed quite cumbersome as it was tossed about on the surface by the choppy conditions, but as it swam under the kayak it very quickly disappeared down into the depths.
I stayed around for a while but it did not reappear, obviously looking for it's diet of jellyfish in the calmer water below. It's sad to think that many of these amazing fish fall foul to plastic bags mistaken for jellyfish.

I soon reached the shelter at the north end of Ramsey where I stop for a quick chat with Tim of Venture Jet who seems pretty busy.

He speeds off and I spend a bit of time playing in the overfalls at Trwyn Ogof Hen where another of the Island boat trip RIB's speeds by.

I then paddle with the tide through Ramsey Sound down to Carn ar Wig where the increasing southerly wind aids my progress northwards back through the Sound and back to Porthsele.

Only a short paddle again but great to see the amazing sunfish even though the sea conditions weren't ideal for taking photos.