Sunday, 29 January 2012

Something Different - Holyhead to Cardiff and back via the coast!

Sonja on a training ride a few weeks back

Sonja is Making the most of this quieter time of year and begun a journey she first thought of last April 2011, while I was leading our paddle round Wales. Her plan is to cycle from Holyhead to Cardiff (approx 5 days), mainly on the Lo Las Cymru and then back via the coast (approx 6 days).

She is travelling light and mainly using YHA's and bunk houses, although as she found out a few days ago, when attempting to book, many are only open this time of the year for large groups! She has a jet boil stove, to brew up when needed and decided on putting in a small sleeping bag in just in case some bunkhouse have no linen ... Mondays forecast is for snow, so providing this is on the higher ground she will be arriving at Brecon, then hopefully Cardiff by Tuesday. Then somewhat dependant on mileage and what accommodation is available, the Gower and on to Pembroke!

Ozzy and me have some male bonding to do ... we wish you well xx

A calm Winters day on the sea - Improve sea kayak course

With a super looking forecast and a great view as I drove into work, I was really looking forward to the day ...

After a coffee and some planning, Rhoscolyn was the paddle for the day and it was great to see, Simon, Richard and Shaun again.

Not a bad start to the day ...

We managed to get the last two ours of the flood tide, which was producing a gentle rolling race just of the end of the island and gave every one something to work with. I was stepping back again more today and encouraging individuals to make decisions and put ideas into action.

Simon, in his new Cetus MV ...

having some more fun ...

I then gave the 3 of them a small bay to locate and we paddled through a couple of the arches on the way ... the black arch above

Richard locating and the group discussing options, having had a land break and now with a new location to find. Just inside the cove of the white arch.

Now with the ebb tide with us ... we went over using transits to assist us in keeping appropriate angle when crossing channels and sounds ...

Shaun and Rich, leading back across and returning to Rhoscolyn ...

One of the local fishermen checking his pots, as the light begins to fade.

Although the air was much cooler towards the end of the day, it had been a super day, with great light, no wind, some swell and current.

We were soon back at the boatyard, transferring personal kit back to cars and saying good byes, that is until next time!

north wales sea kayak courses
roger chandler

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Rapid Development Xpedition (RDX) - further date for 2012

New date for our successful RDX later in the year, with the main 16 day expedition from 22nd September - 7th October 2012. gain an early bird discount of £100, see details here
roger chandler

Sunday, 22 January 2012

showers, sunshine and wind - xplore winter skills

With a forecast of F6 gusting F7/8 westerly a paddle in the Straits was the plan and it was great to see Sue, Keith & Simon again ... plus Tracy & Andy who were out the previous weekend. We got on at Menai Bridge and did about an hours work on ferry glides and positioning in pairs, for some this was a re familiarisation with their kayak, before paddling on into a headwind and into the Swellies. Wind was more F4 with occasional gusts of F5 and not forecast ...rain!!

After a short brake and a brief strong shower, the sun showed its self and the wind dropped ... we paddled on under the a55 bridge towards the NT trust property and took another short brake.

Mole y Don was our aim and soon we were on the way back with some gentle pushes from the wind and tide and sunshine!! We met some other paddlers and friends out on the water, who were also enjoying the sudden arrival of the blue sky ...

One of the great benefits this time of the year is the masses of birds ... there must have been over 100 Oyster Catchers here, which we gave a wide birth so as to avoid them taking off and wasting energy, when food sources are at a premium at this time of year.

We were soon back, loading kayaks on to roofs and the trailer, changed and then in to the newly refurbished Liverpool Arms, to wrap up the day.

north wales sea kayaking courses
roger chandler
L5 Coach Sea

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Stretching it out - bespoke sea kayaking

"What we want is more distance and increased conditions" came out over our coffee and discussion first thing on Monday morning. Impressed that both Zoe and Richard had remained reasonable warm overnight, despite my van showing -2 just out side the house, in the morning!

With the 4th day of sunshine and being out on the water again I was in my element ....
Trearddur Bay to Rhoscolyn, back Via Porth Dafarch then on to Trearddur Bay, was the plan.

a gentle rolling spell and a light breeze ...

one of the arches with an exciting entry and even more, of an exciting exit!!

just round Rhoscolyn head and a confused sea ... with monsters in the back of the cave, I'm sure of it ..
then pushing up and eddy hoping against the last couple of hours of the flood, before some lunch and jumping back on before the ebb ...

the plan now was for them both to share decisions on the return journey, locating a couple of bays on the way ..
Round the headland looking towards Holyhead Mountain, and the ebb with a gentle wind against tide was just beginning to make the swell steeper ...

Black arch can just be seen on the right and a reasonable 2-3ft swell ...

after successfully locating both bays, and a short break we were then off towards the final destination, with glorious winter light ... i hate my job!!

roger chandler
sea kayak north wales

sea kayak festivals - some info

1-4th June 2012 is the 5th Stackpool Sea Kayak Festival - Pembrokeshire. Ive worked on the first couple and the last one in 2010 (festival runs every other year) and its a super relaxed, friendly event, guiding rather than coaching sessions and a super way to be introduced to a stunning part of our coastline. For details look here

Paul with a beach full of seals

latter in the year is the 1st Essentials Sea kayak Festival Anglesey - North Wales. Nick and Matt were key elements in the success of the 2011 Anglesey Storm Gathering, so this promises to be a super well organised and memorable event - For details look here.

Becoming self- sufficient ... bespoke sea kayaking courses

Both Zoe and Richard had expressed a goal of becoming self-sufficient, moving out and working towards planning and paddling their own trips, so i left them the task overnight of considering the wind and conditions and planning their own paddle, for the day.

The North coast Anglesey was their chosen venue due to a South wind and ranging from F3-5 ...although one forecast had gust up to f6! After dropping their vehicle and changing at Porth Eilian we all drove of to Cemaes Bay.

My role was so be in the back ground, to occasionally question, highlight situations, be their as a sounding board and back up.

Contemplating a paddle out to Middle Mouse ... which they managed very well and further helped with understanding of current, flow, eddies and back eddies.

In the back of Hells Mouth and looking down the coast at Middle Mouse, just before spotting a peregrine falcon!

Into the brick works, for some lunch ...

The main cave along the coast ... with many a porpoise sighting and fair amount of sea birds for the time of year ... they too must have been enjoying the sunshine. We were soon at the end and loading boats and reflecting on a well managed and super step towards moving out and becoming self - sufficient.

xplore. dream. discover

roger chandler
north wales sea kayak

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Sun, sea & surf - Xplore sea kayaking course

With a super forecast and our intermediate winter course, I was looking forward meeting up with Jon, Gary, Tracy & Andy again, following the Christmas break. After coffees and some time for the group to create a plan, Carmell Head was the decision, on the East coast of Anglesey. My plan was to be involved as little as I could and allow the group to make decisions, almost as if i wasn't their ...

We arrived 1.5 hours before Hw, so made the most of the caves and arches, before paddling on around the headland, in the last of the flood. A break and some lunch, was also useful as we were able to watch the increasing ebb current begin to move closer to the coast.

We had a stiff paddle & ferry glide out towards, west mouse and made the eddy. Providing a helpful exercise in appreciating the speed of the current ... now the task was to get back!!

Clouds began to gather and form ... the light was fantastic ... we kept out in the ebb current and paddled close to headland as we paddled back round and then moved out, from the coastline and making the most of the flow. We did a few towing scenarios, to keep skills refreshed and then cut back into the coast before the last bay. This provided a strong back eddy, for the group to manage, which provided a useful discussion latter.

Sunday - Porth Dafarch

Following more coffee, planning and discussions, a trip round the Stacks looked possible, with the last of the flood, so we could go from Porth Dafarch, although as we drove from Trearddur Bay, a big line of white and rough water could be seen .... on arrival surf was coming into the beach and the sea looked confused and messy ...

There was a good 1.5-2mt swell running, so we decided to paddle a couple of circuits, to get a feel for it all, before making a decision.

Decision was to remain in the bay area, do a couple more runs out and then back in and make the most of the surf ...

Which we certainly did ... it was great to see individuals, experimenting and apply skills, with great effect

We finished as we had started, with amazing blue skies, surprisingly big swell, little wind and big grins spread across our faces, what a bonus for this time of year!

roger chandler

Friday, 13 January 2012

Blue skies ...Rhoscolyn

With such a super forecast, we just had to get out and Craig was able to join us for a paddle on Anglesey, Holy Island from Rhoscolyn to Trearddour Bay and back. Emphasis was on navigation and locating specific points while being aware and positioning self best for the group.

silky seas ...

Gentle current and flow ...

Well I think were here ...although ...

We paddled into the bay towards the white arch, for some exploring and rock hoping ... and then on to locate a lunch spot ...when suddenly something happen to Craigs head ..

Back on and out to Rhoscolyn head and on to the beacon ...

With the tide now begin to ebb, we watched this fellow, slow begin to claim his rock and enjoy some of that Winters sunshine ... and the good news its likely to be in for the next few days :-o

roger chandler
north wales sea kayaking

Monday, 9 January 2012

Bardsey Island - island in/of the tides

Following a call from Justine on Saturday, her and Barry were keen to paddle over to Bardsey Island, would I be interested ... I jumped at the opportunity. Up early to make the most of the day, Marcus joined me and the 1.5 hour drive through mist and drizzle was soon completed as we reached Aberdaron, on the Llyn Peninsular.

The forecast had been F4/5 but we only had a F3 against us. The ebbing current which was flowing against us was stronger than I had expected and quite close in so we had to make the use of the eddies, although due to swell we couldn't get that close and gain much shelter. This made for some excitement, but nothing hairy.

I hadn't been out to Bardsey Island for may be a year. Back in April when paddling round Wales, we had made the most of the good weather and after a short break at Aberdaron had pushed on straight through the sound. So I was really looking forward to visiting the island.

We headed on the northerly headland to make the most of the ebbing current to cross to the island.

The wind had began to drop, as we entered the rough water and began our ferry glide ...

The skies began to brighten as we approached the island. A small boat approached us and this were Barry and Justines friends, the Porters who look after the island and despite them going to the mainland Steve invited us to there house and told us to go up and help our selfs to a pot of tea ...

Our welcome team ...

Steve and Ben once back joined us for some tea and we chatted for a while, before taking a walk to the top of the island. We had a super view and a gentle breath of the wind.

Back down we were introduced to a couple more of the locals ... before heading back. It was great to have met Steve, a paddler him self who has been solo round Wales, Scotland and crossed the Irish sea and put a name to a face.

Crossing back there was very little wind and we were treated to the amazing changing colours and light from the descending sun ...

Once back on the beach, the colours were stunning ... I had to remind myself this was January, as it was so mild

Justine made the most of some lovely steep swell, in the fading light and what had been a super Winters day on the sea ... happy days!!

Justines blog can be seen here and photos taken by Marcus can be seen here

roger chandler