Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Silky seas & porpoises

The paddle challenge guys were now on there last training two days and as there such a lovely bunch and as a contribution to their cause, I threw in my time for an overnight camp free.  The plan involved a fair amount of driving to get vehicles in place, as the starting point was llandudno Bay, past the Great Orme and then a 30k open crossing to Point Lynas and then on to the brick works for our camp.  Day two was too Carmell Head, rescues and crossing to Holyhead Harbour, avoiding ferries and other crafts along the way (they would pass many BIG ports along there journey, so I wanted to give them an insight into it all).  All my photos were taken on my SLR, so no rough water hots, sorry! 

Perfect sea kayak open crossing weather, with Anglesey and Point Lynas in the distance.

There was four large tankers mored up ... they will see many more of these on their journey ...

We paddled past a number of sea birds just enjoying the calm of the day, this one was having a splash and a bath ... and then we came across a super sized bloom of Moon Jellyfish.  Sitting in my kayak looking down at the moving shapes was really beautiful ...yep I was glad I was in my kayak!

Just under 5 hours and we were rounding Point Lynas and the tide had just turned ...phew ...

Within moments of paddling past the point we were joined by a couple of porpoises.  One of was about 0.3mt in length!

The brick works, truly a stunning campsite ... and an 8am start, was a gentle welcome to a stunning morning ... it had been a late night due to shuttling cars ... and a lovely chicken curry, thanks guys for that!

It really was idyllic ... and I could have happy lounged around enjoying the song of the birds and the warmth of the sun on my face ...

Erin, Alice and Mark, in their P&H sea kayaks and creaming up for another sunny day. We paddle out of the bay into Hells Mouth which had a super gentle 0.5mt wave chain.  We were soon greeted by another pod of Porpoises (5 we saw over the day and really close, 4 mts at one point).  Out to Middle Mouse and then on to Cemlyn Bay, for rescue practise.  As there kayaks were reasonably loaded I was keen to put them through their paces.  On the west edge of Cemlyn a small tidal race/overfall works on the ebb and we got there just into the first hour.  Capsize and rolling in the current and assisted rescue if a roll was missed, then into to add some variety ... deck off and legs out eddying in and paddling down before i shouted capsize while one of the others carried out a rescue.  All worked hard despite some initial hesitations.  Mark kindly offered to capsize again and this time it was Alice's to turn to put him back in and manage the situation in 0.5mt chop.


We looked for a sunny spot out of the light breeze, and choose this rocky small island, for some lunch and an opportunity for them all to consider were they were and how long to Holyhead Harbour.  Two seals watched us while we sat, eat and chatted and many terns flew by ... We hit Carmell Head at full pace, with f2/3 wind against tide an exciting fast ride with 2.5 mts curling tops and then set out towards a tall chimney.  One Irish ferry came into the port ahead of us and as we neared, it was clear we had picked up the eddy stream again, but this time we just had to deal with it!

Close to the entrance of the Port we held ground for 10 minutes as a ferry loomed on the horizon and then passed us by.  Heads down we paddled across the entrance and then along the inside of the breakwater towards our beach.

It had been a super two days, with natural stuff happening and tasks given, to really get the group working.  They had done really well and with just over 10 days to go before the beginning of their adventure, they still have some time to put finishing touches to personal outfitting of the sea kayaks, food and what works practically, some further personal rescue practise and developing an effective group pace.  Their blog and further information about their adventure can be seen and followed here 

I look forward to paddling the English Channel with the three of them on the1st July, winds permitting and will let you know how it all goes!

roger chandler
north wales sea kayaking
expedition support 

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