Thursday, 28 April 2011

Skomer Island.....Carbon Free! 28-04-2011

With everyone on about their Carbon Footprint I thought I would do my bit and instead of driving to Martin's Haven in the Land Rover and paddling around Skomer I would paddle there and back from Porthsele.
Leaving Porthsele at low water I would have the last 3 hours or so of the South flowing ebb tide to take me through Ramsey Sound and across St Bride's Bay and hopefully arrive at Skomer at slack water.

The Coastguard wanted me to report in to them every hour and on my first stop I took a photo of one of the many ships at anchor in St Bride's Bay and also of the first Puffin of the trip.

I was making good progress with Skomer increasing in size quickly and passing more ships at anchor.

After about 2.5 hours I arrive at Skomer passing through Little Sound and starting to paddle around the sheltered South of the Island.

There are large rafts of Puffins and Razorbills the further West I paddle along the South of Skomer.

The South coast is quite sheltered from the increasing Northerly wind, it could be a bit of a slog paddling back across St Bride's Bay.

South Haven is full of birds and not just Puffins but plenty of Fulmars and Guillemots as well.

There are Puffins everywhere on the water and also plenty in the air a bit different to last month when I was here last.

On reaching the Mew Stone I take a last look back at the sheltered South of Skomer before starting my paddle along the West coast.

It is still reasonably sheltered as I paddle past The Wick but I know once I round Skomer Head I will be paddling into the full force of the wind.

At the Bull Hole the cliffs are starting to turn white with vast numbers of Guillemots and Razorbills nesting there.

Paddling up to the Garland Stone I was starting to see what I had to look forward to for the next few hours as the wind was increasing all the time.
At the Garland Stone I reported into the Coastguard before leaving Skomer and beginning the long slog across St Bride's Bay into the relentless Northerly wind. 
The photo taking was suspended on the way back as the paddle was quite an effort with me losing 400 or 500 yards every time I radio'd the Coastguard. After just over 3 hours I was back at Porthsele completing a paddle of 23 nautical miles, the paddle back had taken about 45 minutes more than the paddle to Skomer.
I reckon my Carbon Footprint was bigger paddling than driving as I must have exhaled a lot more Carbon Dioxide  on the paddle back than the Land Rover would have emitted!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

A Tale Of Two Bishops 27-04-2011

With the wind forecast to pick up later the idea was to use the last of the ebb tide to take me through Ramsey Sound and out into St Bride's Bay and then for the flood tide to bring me back up to South Bishop and then to North Bishop and back to Porthsele,  hopefully before the wind picks up.

Paddling Southward the sea was glassy flat and I saw an Otter and Porpoises near Pen Dal-ederyn as well as catching my first glimpse of South Bishop through Twyll y Dillyn

The paddle out to South Bishop Lighthouse was uneventful and I was quite surprised by the lack of bird life.

 I paddled clockwise round the small island  which has had a lighthouse on it since 1839.

I stopped by the main landing steps and had a rest whilst taking some photos of the Bishops and Clerks and the view back across to Ramsey Island and the St David's Head peninsula.

After my rest I start again on my paddle Northward to the second of the Bishops taking a last look back at South Bishop.

As I paddle North I first pass Daufraich the first of the Clerks and then Carreg Rhoson the second Clerk and after about 45 minutes North Bishop.

I paddle anti clockwise around North Bishop and encounter the first Puffins of the trip and also some Razorbills which aren't so camera shy.

Completing my circumnavigation of North Bishop I meet a couple fishing in a RIB who seem quite surprised to see me  especially when I put on my best Irish accent and ask for directions!
After another short break I begin the long ferry glide back to the mainland which was a bit lumpy in places as the wind, as forecast, had increased and was against the flooding tide.
After about an hour I was back at St John's Point taking one last look at North Bishop before paddling  back to Porthsele to complete a round trip of 15 nautical miles.