Wednesday, 2 June 2010

St Bride's Bay 02/06/2010

Leaving Porthsele at around 4 in the afternoon my plan today was to use the last couple of hours of the south flowing ebb tide to take me through Ramsey Sound and out into St Bride's Bay, hopefully to Skomer Island, and then come back with the north flowing flood tide.
Like yesterday the Sound was flat calm until I reached the southern end, conditions chopped up a touch.As I paddled out of Ramsey Sound the sea calmed down but the tide flow continued well into St Brides Bay.About half way across St Brides Bay I was disturbed by a small group of Manx Shearwaters who appeared from nowhere, circled around me just giving me time to grab my camera before they flew off into the distance. This was a good start as this was one of the reasons for this paddle, to see the Shearwaters returning back to Skomer for the night.
Paddling past the CPO Russia, a 185 metre long tanker built in August 2008, at anchor I see my first Puffin of the trip at close quarters.
After about one and a half hours of easy paddling across a glassy flat calm sea I am fast approaching Skomer as a solitary Gannet circles overhead.
As I paddle in to North Haven on Skomer a Guillemot glides effortlessly out of my way. I am surprised how quickly I have got here covering a distance of 10 nautical miles in 2 hours.
I now decide to spend a while just floating amongst the numerous groups of Puffins in North Haven, apologies for the numerous photos but I just love these little birds.
I paddle as little as possible so as not to disturb the Puffins and I manage to get pretty close to them. I drift past a yacht moored up, what a place to spend the night!
After a much too quick half an hour I take my last photos and say my goodbyes or au revoir to the Puffins, though hopefully it won't be too long till my return.
As I paddle away from Skomer the Puffin numbers decrease but I start to see more Shearwaters.
Again my paddle back is interrupted by Manx Shearwaters but this time by much larger groups.
I am right amongst them and and at times they are swerving away from me at the last minute, pretty amazing!
As I near the north coast of St Brides Bay the wind picks up slightly creating a rippled effect on the water.
The sun is just starting to set slowly over Ramsey Island as I paddle into Ramsey Sound aided by the now flooding tide.
What a perfect way to end the paddle as I go through the Sound watching the sun slipping behind the horizon.
Paddling into Porthsele I turn the kayak round and watch the final throws of the setting sun.
Landing on Porthsele I am greeted by the family and some toasted marshmallows courtesy of Kurt, Phillippa and family, a cracking way to end a paddle of 20 nautical miles (37 km).

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