Sunday, 14 March 2010

An Alien In A Cave 14-03-2010

Although it was a lovely sunny day the wind had increased through the night and as a result I had to change my plans to paddle around Ramsey Island which would have been the third Pembrokeshire Island of the weekend but at least I am on the water.

I decided to paddle out to St David's Head straight into the northerly wind and then let the ebbing tide take me down to Ramsey Island.
The paddle out to St David's Head and into the tide stream past the head was quite interesting with the wind and tide creating a few areas of standing waves and confused water.

The paddle from St David's Head to Gwahan, the small rock to the north of Ramsey Island, was also pretty interesting and I made good progress even though it was mostly against the wind.

The sea around Gwahan as usual was worth a play with the NE corner having some reasonable standing waves.

As I paddle into Ramsey Sound and along the eastern side of Ramsey Island I am sheltered from the wind and the sea conditions calm right down. The sun overhead silhouettes menacingly the jagged line of The Bitches as they jut out across Ramsey Sound.

Paddling into the numerous small coves and inlets on Ramsey there are large areas of exposed kelp as the tides at the moment are pretty low building to the spring tide on Thursday.

In Rhod Uchaf there are more large exposed kelp beds and numerous Fulmars starting to nest on the cliffs all around.

In Rhod Uchaf there is a cave which runs straight through the headland but today the tide is too low so I will have to paddle the long way around.

As I paddle out of Rhod Uchaf there are good views northward of the Ramsey coastline with the St David's Head peninsula in the distance. A small fishing boat is also taking advantage of the ebbing tide to aid their progress through the sound.

Paddling around the headland and into Rhod Isaf the Bitches look even more ominous as I get nearer.

As I paddle into Rhod Isaf I notice a small cave just big enough to squeeze the kayak in. On the cave wall on my left is a very strange looking thing which I haven't got a clue what it is. I half expect it to fly off the wall and latch onto my face like something out of the film Alien. I have been trying to find out what it is but so far no luck. If anyone can help identify please get in touch.

I pass the other entrance to the cave which goes between Rhod Uchaf and Rhod Isaf but the tide is too low to get anywhere near it so I paddle down to the Bitches.

Again there are large patches of kelp exposed around the large jagged rocks and the tide is flowing quite fast through the gaps between the rocks that make up the Bitches.

I manage to position the kayak on a little shelf to take the above photos of the water pouring through the gap in the rocks. In a few hours these rocks will form the main surfing wave as the tide starts to flow northward.

I paddle along the Bitches to the last rock then paddle northward for a while before starting to ferry glide across the southerly flowing tide flow back to the mainland.

For a moment I thought I had misjudged my ferry glide but after putting on a spurt I was out of the main flow and paddling along the coast to a deserted St Justinian, which in a couple of weeks will start to fill up with the boat trip RIBs.

Rounding St John's Point I lose my protection from the wind and the conditions liven up a bit on the rest of the paddle back to Porthsele.

A paddle of just over 7 and a half nautical miles (14 kms) in some quite lively sea conditions, a cracking way to end another great weekend paddling in Pembrokeshire, Aliens and all!


eurion said...

Glad you managed to get out after. Love the 5th picture of the bow crashing down, very dynamic.
Truly weird things in the cave, sack like - wonder if they are egg sacks of some kind? Shall wait with interest and hope you find out.

stoney (Martyn) said...

Sorry, can't help you with that one!
I can't wait to get out down there soon though, 3 weeks to go!

stoney (Martyn) said...

Just found this.....Maybe?

Richard said...

The tide race was pretty lively, great fun,Eurion you will have to get out here soon and sample it.
I am beginning to wish I hadn't gone into that cave, I've lost count of the emails I have sent! I thought at first it was some sort of egg case but it now seems to be leaning towards an anemone, sea squirt or sponge. I will keep you updated.

Paula said...

It's a sea anemone, hanging up-side down. Most of us are used to seeing them with the base down and the tentacles extended like a flower.
We have them here, too. You can see photos of ones we've come across, on our paddle group's website
If the anemones are base-down, at low tide they look like a little puddle of gooey stuff. If the base is attached in a way that lets the rest of the anemone hang down at low tide, it looks like your photo.
I call 'em jelly goobies when they look like this. When the tide comes in, the anemone opens up and floats sideways from its base, drifting in the water.

Anonymous said...

Gents I would love to do this and have set a goal to my son that this year i am going to loose weight and get fit enough to get in a sea kayak. any tips for a fat welsh man. all tips greatfully received at


Richard said...

Thanks Paula for the info it does seem the general consensus that it is a sea anemone with Sagartia Elegans being mentioned a few times.

Hi Mike, your best bet is to join your local canoe club where you can practice in a nice warm pool and also should be able to try out various boats on their organised trips.