Thursday, 31 May 2012

Rough water handling

After looking back at the photos from the previous days surfing, both Anita and Nick had been given the task of considering were to paddle based on what they wanted from there last day and as it happens, both were on for rough water, turning in wind and self rescues ... so with a F3/4 with gusts of F5 SW Rhoscolyn was the place ...

A few balance exercises provided a good opportunity for assisted rescues and contact tows and we explored the use of a short link to clip kayaks.

Push + pull methods were tried, with the casualty on the down or up wind side ...

Then it was out to Beacon for some rougher water ....

A couple of laps were done, with into wind and down wind runs and Nick was given the role of leading and managing his position, in relation to Anita ...

The day was finished off with self rescues, back deck and re entry and roll, producing good food for thought.  Back at Menai Bridge we reflected back on the week, wondering if this was the end of the summer!!

roger chandler

north wales sea kayaking
sea kayak anglesey

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A long but magic day!

With 0.6 of a metre swell and f2/3 winds forecast Bardsey Island was on, with all coming together for this advanced trip.  Kevin was joining us today, so a short change over of kit and his sea kayak was soon on the roof and we were off to Aberdaron on the Lleyn, were we were due to meet Olly and his team to sort out a shuttle.

First off the beach was Anita, it was a little cooler today.

Both Anita and Nick had looked at a plan, which was to get Bardsey Island light house in sight and cross the flood stream, by keeping the larger mass of Bardsey and the lighthouse in line.  This meant we would cross high, avoid any rough water, although more paddling into/across current.

Lunch just above the slip way, with 5 different countries sitting down together!!  We met Steve, the warden who kindly invited us up and we sat down for some tea/coffee and chatted.  Mist had began rolling in and Olly and myself joked that we might have to really work on the way back, if we couldn't see land!!

As we approached the end of Bardsey Island, the mainland began to show its self ... nice 1

The wind had gently picked up so we travelled across the sound fairly quickly ...

A quick look back at Bardsey ...

Before some excitement began ... the last 1.5k or so we changed angle so that we were more into tide and now ferry gliding back to the mainland and as the current pushed past, super short fast waves were set up, and provide some great surfing opportunities, the closer we got to Braich y Pwll.

Once round the headland, we had a gentle eddy stream against us which was flowing into a f3 wind which was now on our backs and some wind against tide ... now the swell had increased from the start of the day and close into the cliffs there was a reasonable ground swell, although we were both surprised at the Surf at Porth Oer ...

Which was fairly sizable in the middle of the bay ....

and had a good punch!

Anita showing some super balance .... and her first time beach surfing a sea kayak .... go girl!!

The cafe was still open, so thanks for the ice cream Anita and by the time we were loaded and driving away, it was the other side of 1800, but it didn't matter, as it had been a magic day!

Thanks to Steve for his hospitality and to Olly and team for helping with a shuttle.

roger chandler
sea kayak courses
north wales sea kayaking

What a view ... from the Skerries

With another super forecast, the plan was a paddle out to the Skerries, of the NW tip of Anglesey, which is an advanced journey, due to tides/currents, exposure and commitment.  Both Anita and Nick had done some great planning the night before, so after a coffee, it was clear they both had a plan.  It was Nicks task to get us out there!

We saw Olly and his team on the beach at Church Bay as we arrived and we were soon on the water heading out towards a cardinal mark, which we couldn't see to begin with, so a compass bearing was used and a gentle vector to allow for drift.  We soon spotted it, way off in the distance (2.5nm) and once South and North Stack were in alignment, he took angle towards the Skerries, but with the aim of bringing Langdon Ridge cardinal in alignment with N + S Stack.  As we got closer it was the small roof of the white building below that we needed to keep insight so we could come round to the left of the lighthouse ...

Nick did a super job and Anita, was working very well with a gentle following sea and getting more used to keeping her vision up and taking in the big picture, rather than just her bow!

It was great to be here, and the first time this year (?) and even more so because the terns were in true spirit ... fantastic.  We also passed many rafts of Puffins on the way in ...  

Olly had reserved us a space on the roof top terrace and what a top spot ... even more so as they had a car at Cemais and could give me a lift back to the van!

The terns were fantastic and we could watch a couple of seals lounging in the shallows ...

We set off and crossed a couple of gentle eddy streams, and talked about anticipation, "what would you expect to potentially be happening here?" so that we can be better prepared and then entered the main silky flood.  Did some in line towing and a rafted tow for practise and then each led a spot on leg to a buoy ...

Victoria Bank cardinal mark and then on to Harry Furlongs ... we were soon in the bay, changed and I was on my way back to the van.  BIG thanks for this, Olly.

So with another top forecast, both have the task of looking and planning a trip to Bardsey Island ... Island in the Tides  ... must go goes I have Flood tide to catch!

roger chandler
sea kayak courses
sea kayaking north wales

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A top day at The Races

This was day 3 for Anita, who's from Switzerland and the first day for Nick from Belgium, on our Xplore sea kayaking course, which is at Intermediate level.  It was was also great to meet Nick again, after 4 years! 

The Stacks is always a super trip, that demands respect and with more super light winds the plan was to do an a-a trip, from Poryh Dafarch to Parliament House cave and back, so after some planning over a coffee we were off ...

The silky calm start just had a small swell running, but 0.7 that was forecast??

That is until our angle changed and the swells ... this was the action before the race, on the small rock/island headland ... never know what this ones called ... and Nick throwing down good timing and speed ...

and catching some air in the mean time ... mmmm Penrhyn Mawr was likely to be big, despite a neap tide and now the 0.7 metre swell forecast was looking

We worked wide and close eddy turns and coming into the same eddy and then crossing in an S to the other side ... It was good to see Nick looking comfortable and really getting into it ....Olly Sanders joined us with two of his clients and they were on the main race ...

Anita, working well in new conditions for here and to be honest the top end of Xplore ... with surging eddies and pulsing swell ...

I set Nick off on the main race to catch a few waves, closer to the top .... notice I say close the top, as the top 6-8 mt was really curling, very steep and unpredictable ...

It was super to be out in short sleeves and we stayed with the race for about 1 hour before moving out from the shore to get on the flood to round South Stack ...

Once round we continued out from the shore, to avoid the eddy stream and headed towards parliament house cave ... the bay was a little confused, with eddy streams, flow, swell and reflective waves, as we got closer in.  It soon became clear that landing was going to be very difficult ... and not for today ...

We headed back towards South Stack but this time much closer in, really feeling the ground swell and pulled into a small sunny cove and joined Olly and his team for lunch.  He was heading on to Soldiers Point, having drop off his bike earlier to then cycle back to collect his vehicle ... while we were going to rest up for an hour and allow the flood to settle and then sneak back via Annie s Arch (the gap/bridge crossing to South Stack island) and use the eddy stream to push us across the bay ...

It was a great quick return journey, the arch was very gentle, the raft of sea birds were quite stunning and we soon back at Penryhn Mawr (headland in the distance) ... in fact earlier than expected and the flow was still VERY evident.  In parked the group and went for a look, all of the inner channels now had a good ground swell thumping through, so were out of the question ... so we sat for 30/40 minutes and chatted about the day.

Aiming for Rhoscolyn Beacon we took a wide angle out into the bay and soon were out of the last of the flood and paddling back into the bay and closing on our start.  What a top day!

roger chandler
north wales sea kayak
anglesey sea kayaking

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunny sea kayaking & sparkling seas!

What a super sunny weekend, with temperatures well into the 20c for our Improve sea kayaking course, also known as an Intro-mediate.  With winds forecast f4-6 East, Y Felinheli on the Straits provided enough shelter plus exciting conditions, when we wanted them.   We had wind against tide, and as we crossed to Anglesey the rougher it got, while closer to the main land the calmer it was, so perfect conditions to work with. Turning in swell, use of skeg and stern rudders was the main emphasis of the day ...

Ewan on an early down wind run ...

Bill moving out into the bigger stuff and choosing his moment to turn ...

Dave feeling the force of the wind ... and as the current slowed down we worked on ferry glides, using transits, to provide a visual on our track.

Sunday morning after a short session on tidal planning it was off from Trearddur Bay to Rhoscolyn and then back.

On the way out we looked for channels to paddle through, working edge and leaned turns ...

Lesley with Ewan in the back ground

Anita on a narrower gully ...

 Then at Rhoscolyn head, enjoying the coolness of a cave!

Frank joined us for today in his nice new kayak ...

Took lunch opposite the Beacon, and talked through a plan for after lunch.  The plan was to cross to the islands on a ferry glide and then look for some channels of water to work on eddy turns ...

Here we have Dave coming in ... in his new kayak and Frank in the back ground ... we did a couple of circuits and then paddled towards the main island and worked our way through the channels, spotted a lone grey seal sunning its self and then Ewan led us back across the open water to Rhoscolyn headland.

As we were now close to high water slack more channels and arches were possible, which we made the most of.  Back close to our starting point a couple more rolls were attempted and were successful!

Great sea kayaking weekend and I wish you all well with continued paddling & adventures.  Be safe & have fun.

roger chandler
intro-mediate sea kayaking
north wales sea kayak courses

Friday, 25 May 2012

Lighthouses, Puffins and Rolling

This was the third day of a Bespoke sea kayak course for Rich and Franks first day although I had paddle with both of them before.  In fact one year ago, with their respective partners they had done a Discover sea kayaking course and one year on they can both roll!! 

The third lighthouse for Rich, was at Penmon Point, just across from Puffin Island and with Frank joining us today, it was the perfect trip.  Penmon Sound would provide current, eddies, eddy streams, bird life and seals in a stunning situation.  It was also the first time out there for Frank. 

Frank above crossing a gentle left -right flow and about to move into an eddy.  We did a few circuits and then crossed to the red central channel beacon and began our journey round the island.

Saw a fox in the distance wondering along a beach and quite a few Eider ducks, a male one above ... ever wondered where your eider down feathers came from!!

and we saw some of these little fellows, in fact more Puffins than Seals!

We then landed on the island for lunch and waited for the sound to build.  We had crossed about 1 hour before high water slack, and now it was beginning to ebb.  Because of the reef extending from Puffin Island, the first couple of hours after high water tend to provide rougher water.  This was what we were waiting for!  We did a run across to the red central beacon and used the eddy, with Rich working on ferry glides, holding position and using speed to gently surf his kayak forwards, while Frank worked left and right eddy turns ... both to great success.

The photo above I posted on facebook, as Rich had learnt to roll with Cheri & Turner, of "this is the roll fame", over the weekend and my job was to put him into a more dynamic context ... well

as you can see, first time up and nice and smooth he does it ... no dramas!

BIG thanks to Rich for pulling the dates together for this bespoke sea kayaking course and I look forward to paddling with the four of you at some point in the future.

roger chandler
bespoke sea kayaking course
sea kayaking north wales