Monday, 11 March 2013

Flow, wind and magic light ..

This was the last of the Winters series of Perform, where the aim is to enable paddlers to develop over the Winter, keeping active so as the summer arrives skill set, understanding, body and mind are stronger.  Perform is my advanced sea kayaking course for paddlers who have completed the 4 star leader training course.  After coffee and a discussion on venues an A-B journey from 4 mile bridge, down the Cymyran Strait, round Rhoscolyn head to Trearddur Bay was the plan.  Thanks goes to Andy who was helping with the shuttle, which made the trip possible. 

Tavi, Gary and Andy were out on the Saturday and Zoe joined for the Sunday.

By the time we were packed and on the ebb current had begun, providing a good jet of water to work with ...

And then we were off following the current out to the sea.  It was a grey day and the wind was cold and there was a lot of waders enjoying what the newly exposed sand provided ....

Now i've heard it said that the entrance to the Cymyran Strait is the coast guards No2 hot spot, (No1 being Puffin Sound) but to be honest never really experienced challenging conditions there.  That is until now!  The current was probably going at 2knots, with an off shore wind and swell rolling wind was 1.5 as max, with smaller sets in between.  I suggested some surf as it was pealing clean and Silver Bay round the corner can some times be dumping.

All three saw the sea bed at some point. With a successful 2nd roll from Gary and a tow of Tavi on his stern, while Andy completed a swim towline self rescue.  With various incident management techniques employed, what stood out for me was each persons super calm approach.  Good skills and some super learning.

After a debrief and hot drinks we headed on to Rhoscolyn, for some shelter and lunch.  The winds were now increasing, as we headed out to Rhoscolyn Beacon, at the start of the flood, and then on towards the head.  We now had a head wind and each kept a good paddle rate as we worked towards Trearddur Bay.  Rolls in the bay ... fair-play and then to Trearddur Bay hotel for hot chocolates!

Sundays forecast was f5-7 and from the East and Menai Bridge was taking a full hit.  We headed down to the other side of Britannia Bridge and experienced F3/4.  The Straits was ebbing so we sneaked up on the Anglesey side, under the bridge and worked one of the eddies.  It was a spring tide, so the eddy line was fairly boily.  Speed, Angle, committed lean and looking to wear you wanted to be (rather than at the boil!!) ... was the goal.  Gary kindly provided the group with a rescue, which Zoe took on, with Tavi giving support and Andy starting an anchored tow ... Tavi then left the raft.

We paddled on down towards Moel y Don, and working in buddies, various exercise's in positioning and approaching a casualty and repairing a hole under the seat of a kayak ...

We had some hail and super light, which sometimes is just so surprising ...

Once back at our start, some lunch and back on the water with some short circuits, into and down wind and contact tows ..

The cloud was now lifting and snow could be seen on the mountains .. Gary making the most of the conditions.

We wrapped up the day with hot drinks in Dylan's at Menai Bridge and individual debriefs.  It had been another super and challenging weekend, with much learning and growth overall, since the first course back in December.  New goals set and with the summer approaching, it can only get better.  Well done to all, its been a pleasure working with you.

roger chandler

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