Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Isle of Skye - eXpedition Preparation

This year's Rapid Development eXpedition (RDX) is to the Isle of Skye and Saturday saw Zoe, Gary and Sonja packing their kayaks with much more kit than usual to replicate a bigger day out on the sea.  The plan was to paddle between 30-40k and with a good wind forecast, Zoe and Gary planned a journey on the SW corner of Anglesey. Due to there being access/building work at Newborough, we decided to launch from Dinas Dinlle, doing an A-A trip.  In the sunshine the beach looked super and for the excitement of some there was even a chip shop .... although closed for the winter!!

Zoe and Gary created the plan and we were soon at the beach for about 900 ... Gary packing his kayak. 

There was even some gentle surf rolling in ... not the 1.5 mt predicted for further up the coast, but it was certainly something ... Sonja making some adjustments.

As we paddled directly over to Llanddwyn Island we got a reasonable push from the flood tide as we crossed shallower water and sand banks. Gary and Zoe, below. 

The light during the whole day was fantastic ... but Sonja wasn't, she was feeling sick.  Now in the time i've paddled with Sonja, (10-15 years) she's only ever been sea sick once ... so this was unusual.  We headed across Maltreath Bay and then on to Aberffraw.  Sonja was no better so the plan was to leave her and phone a couple of friends to see if they could pick her up.  We snacked briefly and paddled on round the headland towards Cable Bay

 Surprisingly there was no surf, not even a ripple at Cable Bay.  We landed, stretched legs and then back on to get out on the ebbing tide ... with further super light displays as we headed for the mainland.

As we approached the beach from where we had left 6 hours ago and 36k, the light shone  on to a 'Push Moraine' left over from when the ice sheets flowed in these parts ...

The sun was just going down.  Tired, we unpacked the kayaks and carried them back to the car park. Looking back at a super sight.

Sunday - The plan was to go through assisted rescues, self rescues and rolling, with loaded boats and in some swell and wind.  Unfortunately Sonja was still feeling sick (she has only felt better after 3 days) and Zoe's wrist was sore.  The skeg on her kayak had not been working the previous day and due to a loaded boat, wind blowing on the stern, she had stressed her wrist ... Zoe got on with an empty boat and crossed the bay and despite strapping it was clear there was discomfort.  Best to play it safe, we carried her boat above the high water mark, and I gave her the keys to the van.  Due to doing more planning later that day, my aim was to be off by 1300, so a couple of hours sitting around.

After some towing in and out of swell, Gary pulling off a solid roll, me jumping in and Gary completing an assisted rescue and an all in rescue which Garry managed with a re-entry and roll.  It was time for some surf, and surf he did, with some super runs in ....

After sorting boats out and cups of tea we went through various arrangements and preparations for Skye.  All in all it had been a super weekend, with good learning and even with low moments like a strained wrist, creating greater awareness.  Better to have it all happen now with two months before the big trip, than on the trip!

roger chandler

PS: big thanks to Barry Shaw who managed to get to Sonja within the hour and drop her back home.

sea kayak development expeditions
north wales sea kayaking

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