Sunday, 21 March 2010

Where To Go? 21/03/2010

With the wind dropping a lot since yesterday, I was up and on the water early to take full advantage, as it is forecast to pick up again later today. The only thing was I didn't have any idea where I was going to paddle.

Paddling out from the Sully YC slipway I knew I had the last hour or two of the easterly flood tide so maybe I could paddle to Monkstone Lighthouse but at the moment it was hidden in a bank of early morning mist.

I decided to paddle out towards Steep Holm and let the tide take me past Flat Holm and then hopefully down to Monkstone Lighthouse if the tide hadn't turned by then.

As I paddle I am overtaken by the See Stern, an 83 metre long General Cargo Ship on her way to Newport. I pass well south of the Lavernock Spit South Cardinal Buoy with the large caravan site above St Mary's Well Bay in the background.

Although flat calm the GPS showed I was averaging a speed of just over 5 knots as the tide took me down towards Flat Holm. As I got closer to Flat Holm the amount of Gulls began to increase and more annoyingly so did the noise!

Before I knew it I was swept past the lighthouse and disused gun emplacement at Lighthouse Point, all the time surrounded by the incessant gulls, whose numbers have increased hugely since I was last here only 2 weeks ago.

I stop for a quick drink underneath the lighthouse and the now derelict Cholera Isolation Hospital and watch the Arklow Rainbow another General Cargo Ship this time on the way to Bristol.

The tide is still flowing eastward so I decide to carry on the two and a half nautical miles to Monkstone Lighthouse taking a last look at Castle Rock and the island's landing jetty.

I stop about half way to the lighthouse for another drink and take a look back at Flat Holm, I think the tide is starting to ease off as my progress is starting to slow but it's not too far now.

It didn't take too long to get to the light and as I thought the tide had turned and was starting to flow westward so just right for my return paddle. Monkstone Lighthouse was built in 1839 on a small area of rock that dries out at low tide.

The lighthouse has remained virtually unchanged since it was built until it was converted to solar power and it's original iron tower was replaced by a red GRP one in 1993.

As I leave Monkstone the tide is already starting to pick up speed and I decide to follow the line of three buoys which should take me nicely back towards Sully YC. The first buoy I reach is the Cardiff Spit red port buoy.

The second buoy is the South Cardiff Cardinal Buoy and the tide is really picking up speed as I cruise past at just under 6 knots.

The last buoy I cruise past is the yellow special marker buoy marking a discharge pipe, this has been an effortless paddle back taking full advantage of the ebbing tide.

I am soon paddling into Sully Sound, the narrow stretch of water between Sully Island and the mainland When I near the slipway there are numerous sailing boats from the yacht club also enjoying the near perfect conditions.

A quick tide assisted paddle of 12 nautical miles (22kms), not bad considering I didn't really know where I was going today.

1 comment:

jim said...

great blog, love the way you have put it together. A fascinating pictorial journey of your trips. Will be looking in again.