Monday, 26 December 2011

Into wind ... a Christmas eve paddle on the Straits

F6/7 SW was the forecast and following texts and a brief conversation with Justine and Barry a paddle on the Straits from Gallows point to Y Felinheli and back seemed a reasonable option ... Sonja and myself picked up our kayaks on the way across and met them in the lay-by.

It was windy, but more like F4/5 as we got on and attempted to find a rhythm ...

We cut closer in as we approached Menai Bridge and saw loads of Oyster Catchers, a few Herons and Egrets.

Past Britannia Bridge we picked up on some good wind against tide and rougher water ...

The last k or so was more open and we felt the force of the wind, but with the Garddfon Inn at
our half way mark at least we had something to look forward to ... the 4 of us with cags and dry suits dripping were fully welcomed and a log fire was lit ... 4 super hot chocolates and 2 bowls of chips latter ... (it is Christmas after all) we were ready to get the 1400 tide back up and enjoy the wind behind us ...

Sonja enjoying our down wind run ...

Justine and Bangor Pier in the distance ...

It took about 1 .5 hours to get back, and the day light was beginning to fade, although the rain and wind was increasing ... now to find a suitable landing point ... we paddled just around Gallows Point, to the steeper ground and found solid ground to land on and just in time as the wind was now a strong F5/6 and making carrying the kayaks difficult!

We were soon loaded and back to Menai Bridge for a quick Christmas drink in the recently renovated and just open Liverpool Arms ... happy days and a Happy Christmas to all!

See Justines blog of the day here
roger chandler
sea kayaking north wales
specialist sea kayaking 2012

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Achievements, photos & reflections from 2011

I would like to take this moment to say a BIG thanks to those who have chosen and paddled with Coastal Spirit in 2011 and would like to share some significant achievements that individuals have made, with us and beyond ... plus a few of my favourite photos. These are from November, through to Jan 2011 and I hope you enjoy them ...

The following achievements come in no order and apologies if ive missed you out!

Gary for achieving his 3 star sea, completing the Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning (CNTP) Award and a successful Coastal Spirit expedition round Anglesey in 3.5 days. Gary also has achieved a number of other 3 star awards, through his canoe club and has started arranging and planning his own trips ... nice one.

Keith for achieving his 2 star, managing a significant paddle to the Skerries and back and for his continued focus

Tracy & Andy for a significant paddle to the Skerries and back, plus have begun planning their own paddles and managing difficult seas

John for achieving his 3 star sea, completing 4 star sea leader training, CNTP and a Coastal Spirit expedition round Anglesey in 3.5 days, plus buying him self a sea kayak ... even if it was Sonjas blue Romany s!

Taran for achieving his 3 star sea with us and going on to a successful 4 star leader assessment, 5 star leader training and I believe has the 5 star sea leader assessment booked for early 2012. We wish you well. Its also worth highlighting his successful solo paddle of the welsh coastline, although thwarted by wild weather he managed to come back at latter stages to continue his journey, nice 1.

Craig & Julie for planning their own paddles, which includes a successful paddle round Anglesey.

Pat for his determination and achievement of the 3 star sea award, despite the distance.

Paul for achieving the 3 star sea, 4 star leader training, CNTP and a super 1000k paddle round Wales. He plans to paddle round the UK in 2012, we wish them well and you can follow here

To the Ladies who Launch and to Cherry for organising a super few days, for a 2nd year

Di for good paddling form, up beat personality with our 1000k paddle round Wales, her super article Eat. Sleep. Paddle. and achieving the L3 canoe training and moderate water award

Having provided their training over a year ago, congratulations to Beat from Switzerland, Mikael from Sweden and Francesco from Sicily for achieving the 4 star sea leader (at the anglesey storm gathering)

Sue for her effort and extending herself with over 750k achieved paddling round Wales

Sonja for learning to roll and achieving the 3 star sea award and L2 coach award UKCC (with another provider).

And to many others who have chosen to take up sea kayaking and have moved away from the shore, we look forward to coaching and guiding you on your journey in 2012.

I would also like to thank both Pete from Summit to Sea and Phil from Surf-lines for their support in 2011 and I look forward to working with you both again in 2012. To Justine for the involvement in the forthcoming rolling dvd and Olly with an expedition skills dvd, thanks.

And lastly my thanks go to Lance, of Mitchell Blades who are sponsoring me in 2012 ... happy days!

See you on the water,


roger chandler
L5 coach - sea

Monday, 19 December 2011

Snow ..... and catching up with family & friends

Just back from a super few days up North visiting parents and friends. Sonja, Dad and Ozzy taking in the view on a calm fresh but bright day, Arne Side Knot looking down on the estuary.

Ozz enjoying catching a snow ball

Back at sea level and time for a mug of tea and some lunch :-) before returning to another super dinner, this time roast turkey with all the trimmings ... and desert ... thanks mum.

roger chandler
north wales sea kayaking
sea kayaking courses 2012

Monday, 12 December 2011

The Usual Suspects - round the Stacks for a personal paddle

Saturday night and a quick chat it sounded like The Stacks could be an option. Forecast was W f6/7 overnight and then due to drop to f3!! Plan was to meet at Porth Dafarch and paddle out eddy hoping the bays, to ideally reach Parliament House cave for some lunch and then get the last of the ebb tide back ... before it turned. The morning saw what was becoming ... The Usual Suspects of ... Marcus, Barry & Justine.

There was some nice swell and surf rolling into the beach, so we made the most of it ... Marcus above

Photo above of me taken by Barry Shaw (thanks)

We then headed out towards Penrhyn Mawr, which had some big swell and boomers. Interestingly getting into Abrahams Bosum was for me the most challenging part of the day, with current flowing out of the bay, into wind and some significant swell ...deciding how far out or how close to keep it and watching the swell surging forwards ... i felt good and in control, but wished id gone for the longer paddles

At the back of the bay we moved in and out of the rocky channels, Marcus above with me in the back ground ...

I decided to hold ground while some big swell pushed through ... (both photos above taken by Barry)
At South Stack, with Barry on the left and Justine holding ground from a big hit ... I paddled round this one ...

At Parliament House cave, with occasional big sets coming in ... and a welcomed lunch break

... before jumping on the tide, with a few big swells pushing through (photo by Barry) ...
Running closer to South Stack, I attempted to capture the size of the swell ... mince pies and tea at Pete's shop summit to sea, finished off another super day ...

Justines Blog of the day can be followed here
roger chandler
L5 coach - sea

Sunshine, blue skies & dolphins - Improve sea kayaking course north wales

Improve is our intro-mediate sea kayaking course and we had a super forecast for the day. After a coffee at Menai Bridge, Douglas had done some tidal planning for the day and due to the westerly winds we went for Moelfre and a paddle out to the island of Ynis Dulas and then back. This would give some protection from the swell, while exposing us to varied offshore winds, current and picking up on a small target, while staying together.

The plan was also for me to have a more of a back ground role, allowing Richard and Douglas to make more of the decisions, being sure of there plan and options as we went along.

Rich doing a few circuits in the Cetus mv, with an ominous looking bank of cloud pushing through

As we began to cross to the island the wind was funnelling out of one of the bays and appropriate change of course was clearly discussed between them both and heads down as we paddled into a good F4 wind

a little closer than before!!

After discussing the possibility of not being able to land on the island, we stopped for a leg stretch and some food and talked through the 2nd phase of dropping on to the island and the ferry glide back to the main land ... whats more the sun came out

Douglas approaching the island ..but we decided not to and due to a large number of seals sunning them selves ( the light grey on the photo close to the water is 30 or so grey seals). A course was set to ferry glide the 1k back to the main land and then some easy eddy hoping.

landing on a super sandy, sunny beach we had a late lunch ...

looking back out to the island, I saw, what i thought was porpoises in the bay, about 200mt away, although they were moving much quicker and their dorsal fins, seemed longer and at a steeper angle, then one breached ... Dolphins I shouted ... we paddled out and watched them breach another dozen or so times ... before turning and paddling back to Moelfre. What a fantastic end to a Winters day and my last working one for a few weeks ... happy days ;-)

roger chandler
sea kayaking courses north wales

Monday, 5 December 2011

Re discovering my mojo ... Anglesey north coast, fun & enjoyment!

Having decided to cancel the weekends sea kayaking course, due to strong winds (F6-8) and rain I was hoping id made the right decision. After a coastal walk on Saturday, feeling the wind & spray, seeing the foam and surf I was happy with the decision. The air was also so much colder, with wind chill around 2-6c. Photo above, was taken at Treadour Bay on Saturday, which even attracted a surfer!!

Speaking with Barry Shaw on Saturday night, Justine and he were on for a paddle and there was also a chance of the super funny Marcus Demuth ... Barry I think your very funny as well ;-) Out line was similar to the week before, beginning at Cemais Bay (north coast Anglesey) but to extend it to point lynas and go with the tide.

The model above I tend to use with clients, now it was time to use with myself!! I was pleased to have been out sea kayak surfing during the week, catching some good waves and rolling in the surf, and re discovering my mojo. I had also been working on coaching my mind, through strong associated imagery each day, connecting positive similar events and increasing my comfort zone. I had more experiences that were similar, which I could draw upon ... hence more control. An interesting point is that its often the Psychological element, that loses out as the other three are more tangible so easier to focus on and work with. However top athletes say that their success is down to 50% of their focus being Psychological and the other 3 elements sharing the remaining 50%! ... In brief ... I was ready to "expect the unexpected" -samurai saying?

We soon were at Cemais Bay, unloading kayaks and packing boats. It was a neap tide and about 40 mins before it was due to flood, wind with tide rather than the previous wind against so a different ride, was to be expected, although the surf was much bigger. We took some waves in the bay and I felt that exhilaration again ... plus control .. I was beginning to re discover my Mojo.

The wind was stronger than the previous week, swell was pushing through fast and it was great to be out there and loving it ...

As we approached the most Northerly headland, I was a different place to the week before, and despite huge banks of water pushing through, I had a different feeling to the environment. Rather than .... "oh ...." it was "wow' as each bank pushed fast. I was working much harder, being more dynamic, chasing and surfing waves ... whooping as I went!

Barry, Justine and Marcus (on the right and forward) at Middle Mouse ... it was great watching each other having fun and catching waves ..

The wind brought sleet and we were all glad to be waring paddle mitts, plus that it was also blow on our backs, rather than blowing into our faces ...

Probably the best perspective shot I got of the day, with Justine backing off and looking down on ME ... (decided Ive got to get on that gym ball and work on improving my balance more, so I can take more photos in the BIG stuff!!)

We were soon at the end, with smiles all round ... as Justine said ... "if only we could get a boat to take us back and do it all over again" ... what an idea.

I seemed to get a lot of photos of the sky and sea, many were out of focus and few of Marcus ... he was mainly up front enjoying his fairly new and light Carbon Kevlar kayak, skipping and running down the waves ... but what a difference a week can make with focus and a goal ... we were soon loaded and driving back to Cemais, with the prospect of hot chocolates at Marcus house ... we were not disappointed!!

Thanks to the three of you for a great day. R

PS: Justines blog of the day can be seen here

roger chandler
north wales sea kayaking 2012 courses