Sunday, 24 January 2010

Cardiff Bay to Barry Island

With the conditions being a lot more favourable today I
decided to hitch a lift into Cardiff in the afternoon with
the Mrs and make my way home with the ebbing tide.

I launched from the slip way just opposite the RLNI station
in Penarth and headed out toward Cardiff Bay. It was impossible
to drift anywhere near the Pier without the danger of getting
tangled in the fishing lines which stretched out into the sea.
Unfortunately I had to give the camera up to my wife, which
doesn't make for a good blog post.

I made a sharp U-turn around a red channel marker as I
approached Cardiff Bay and headed back on myself on my
course East. The ebb tide had only just started but without
paddling I flew past the marker buoy at 3.5 knots. Heading
for my first way point at Lavernock Point my ground speed
was showing 6.5 knots. As I passed over the tide race flowing
around Lavernock Point I hit 7.5 knots. As I came around
the head into the bay my speed drastically dropped to 2.4 knots
as I paddled into a Westerly headwind. The wind wasn't terribly
Strong but made for tough paddling.

Sully Island never seemed to be getting any closer but I made
course for the East side of the Island out of the wind. Landing
on the shingle beach looking back on Flat and Steep
Holm was the highlight of my trip. Flat Holm was picture perfect
(typical as I didn't have the camera) with the low winter sun catching
the light house and farm houses. As I sat there drinking my tea
enjoying the view I thought this is the life! I set off again into sully
sound and made a bee line for the breakwater light off the entrance
to Barry dock. Not in a hurry I had a little nose around the dock for
a close up of the RLNI Barry Life Boat and Barry Pilot Boat.

Leaving the docks, once again dodging the fishing lines I headed for
Nellspoint and into the watchful eye of a member of the national
coast watch station with his binoculars. A phone call off the wife
ended my trip here with a landing at Whitmore Bay, Barry Island
complete with yapping miniature dogs at my bow.

Only a short nearly 15km trip but it was nice to finally get out on
the sea. It was also good to put the wealth of reading material I
went through this Christmas in to practice. It's not the most
scenic part of the Welsh Coast but looking back as Sully Island, Flat
and Steep Holm and the English coast was like a a stretch of stepping
stones laid across the sea, perfect!

Next on my list is the gap between Llantwit Major and Southerndown
to explore the caves and possibly paddle out to the Mid Nash Buoy
6km off the coast. That should finish off the South East Coastline,
then off toward Swansea and the Gower and hopefully a bit of
camping in West Wales in the Spring.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Great British weather!!!

Once again I was all packed up with the promise of a force
2, light NE wind and good visibility and I was met with this!

Visibility was terrible and there was a hefty dumping swell.
I could see 5 sets of 1.5-2m steep waves before they disappeared
into the mist. Desperate but not that desperate.
My youngest son Zakk laughing at the crashing waves.
The wife was off to Cardiff Bay to do some shopping so I
thought I might as well go down the bay (again!) seeing as
I had the boat all packed up.
And I Finally got to play with my new toy.
I took the following photo's a few weeks ago when we had
the big freeze. Me and the dog went for a walk along the
coastal path from Llantwit to Nash Point light house.
I was gutted when I saw how peaceful the sea was.
Icicles on the cliffs near St Donnats castle.
One of the caves between Llantwit and St Donnats which I was
hoping to paddle in today.
Looking East toward Llantwit and Aberthaw with the cooling
tank just visible

Nash Point light house

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Introduction to River Paddling

Myself and a few other new members of Glam Boaters
went for a gentle introductory paddle down the River Taff.
Having ever only paddled in my 15ft sea boat the hardest
thing was to paddle in a straight line!

We launched near the Pottery pub in Trefforest.

One of the coaches Nik showing us how it's done
We paddled back to the cars at Radyr Weir. Only a short
trip but really enjoyed myself.