Thursday, 30 May 2013

19th day Ireland Circumnavigation

Noel of Irish Adventures finally got rid of us this morning! We were on the water for 9am and I was so happy that we'd had the last 2 days off! There was a 2 metre swell running with messy and reflected waves. It was fun and the wind was lighter than forecast, so good to be putting this section of coast behind us. We arrived at Fahamore, Co Kerry having paddled about 17 miles. Harold and Betty Whelan (Harry Whelans parents) picked us up from the slipway and took us to their caravan. A lovely lunch of smoked salmon and mugs of tea. (Harry and Geoff hold the record of 25 days!)

Were now off to a pub which we've been told has the best Guinness in Ireland! Ill let you know........!

 Starting off after a few days pause....

Taking a break before crossing the bay....


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Day 18 Ireland Wednesday 29th May 2013

Today we were up and out checking out the conditions with Noels van and based on what we saw decided we would have a rest day! The swell is due to drop by one metre, it will be another day after a big Spring tide and with hopefully lighter winds!

So were being tourists and going to cook a roast chicken dinner!

Dingle is a super town! A couple of great galleries with brilliant art and the people are lovely too. Weve had top fish and chips (first time Ive ever had battered Monkfish!), and Sea salt and brown bread ice cream!! Were having a good day!!!


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Day 17 Ireland Circumnavigation

Were off the sea today as the forecast of a northwesterly F5 and 6 is here! Noel O Leary from Irish Adventures found us and offered us a bed for the night last night so we took the tents could we refuse?!! Thank you so much Noel. Were here again tonight...awesome!

My new friend...!

This evening Noel kindly took us out to find Fungie the local resident Dolphin. It was blowing out of Dingle Harbour F5/6 and we were borrowing paddles, kit and kayaks. The kayaks were 1 metre shorter than what we had been paddling which proved great for surfing! It was on the way back that Fungi made a brief appearance!!

Looking for Fungie


Ireland Day 16

We left James on Great Blasket and headed off east around Sybil Head with strong westerly winds on our tail! With a 3-4 metre swell and a tide running in the opposite direction we had some excitement with the most gripping conditions yet! Landing in Smerwick Harbour after 6 nautical miles we decided to stay put in view of the increasing forecast.

View to Fastnet Rock

James having arrived on Friday evening, whose doing as much paddling around Ireland as he can in 6 weeks....

Crossing from  Mizen Head on Saturday


Sunday, 26 May 2013

Day 15 Ireland Circumnavigation

On the water at 6.30 to start our 12 nm crossing to the Skelligs. The approach was stunning with alpine mountain tops poking out of the sea and 30,000 pairs of Gannets. A hundred or so soared above us...magic. Justine managed thirty minutes on the island in between the tourist boats arriving and saw the bee hive huts and thousands of Puffins only a metre away!

(We then had a 20nm crossing to the north east tip of Great Blasket.) One of the tourist boats mentioned a gale warning..time for us to go. the wind was mainly on our backs F3/4 and then James who had chosen to join us pointed at the sea and on cue 15 Risso's Dolphins surged forwards..fantastic.what a day!


Saturday, 25 May 2013

Ireland and Day 14!

Later on Friday night (yesterday) another paddler arrived! His name was James and he had 6 weeks off to paddle and explore Ireland. Today we were up at 05.30, it was calm and clear. Paddling past Mizen Head with the Fastnet lighthouse to the left we crossed to Dursey Island and had lunch. We decided on an Island camp tonight on Deenish Island. 32 nautical miles and a happier Barry! Hoorah! Its a good grassy camp...


Friday, 24 May 2013

Day 13 Around Ireland

14 nautical miles today and having done two short days seems to have worked well as Barry is feeling better! We woke to light winds and navigated our way through the islands. In to the last couple of hours of paddling, winds increased to a Force 4 offshore. Were now at a beautiful beach, East of Barley Cove but its a little public, so we wont put the tents up till later!
Were now well placed for getting round Mizen Head in the morning...

 Friday morning start...

Thursday nights camp in beautiful sunshine...


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Day 11/12 Around Ireland Cicumnavigation

Barry managed to get a bowl of porridge down but still felt sick. The West Cork Hotel would give us a significantly reduced cost second night so we chose to stay! Following morning we all met at breakfast and had delicious eggy bread with Maple syrup, bananas and roasted almonds. Barry was also looking much better! Jim picked us up and dropped us back at our boats and soon we were off again with Barry leading and setting a fair old pace!! The flood tide had begun and could be felt at the headland off of Toe Head, the wind was blowing offshore with a few strong gusts. At 1pm we took a lunch break and shortly after found a camp spot, super small but grassy and flat. 12nm and 4 hours on the water.

Is it a boat, is it SOT, is it a kayak...? NO its a bath!!!
And a fantastic one too courtesy of the West Cork Hotel


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Day 10 Ireland and a little respite

Up at 7am, an hour later than normal (!), did some stretches and a little sorting, then....into the salt water spa pool for a 15 minute swim and to experience the various jet showers on my shoulders!! Managed to get a massage in from the spa too!

Barry is not too hot so Justine and I have been helping Jim Kennedy from Atlantic Sea Kayaking with a group of magazine editiors from Vogue and Hello!!! Its a variable life!! Jim has also called in another favour so weve been offered some further fab accommodation in the West Cork Hotel..........could get used to this! Thanks Jim!

Just to prove Im eating properly.....!


Monday, 20 May 2013

Day 7-9 Circumnavigation Around Ireland

Sightings of whales moving slowly along the coast.....a day of paddling mainly from point to point with some super cave and arch amazing tunnel 100 meters long and 3 meters wide.....Seven Heads and Durnworth Bay......

On Monday following a super double fried egg wrap, thanks to Barry (!) we were on the water at 08.00 and started with a 5nm crossing to Dunowen Head and we FELT the offshore wind!! From there we paddled into the next bay working hard as the wind increased. The plan was to head for Castletown End 19nm away from our previous camp and to meet up with Jim of Atlantic Sea Kayaking. He had a luvly 5* spa hotel booked for us!!! Yeha!! When Justine had spoken with Jim the night before we were speechless, that is except Barry who thought it was a windup!!!

So here we are at the  Hotel and Spa
NOW with 2 double rooms, fantastic sea views, super helpful staff...theyve even taken my smelly washing! time for a salt water pool swim, food, a point of the dark stuff and see what surprises Tuesday brings!!! Thank you so much!


Sunday, 19 May 2013

6th day of paddling around Ireland

After breakfast with Mick's whole family and various admin tasks we were on the water by 11.30. Winds were generally ok apart from when a squall came crashing through. As with earlier in the week we had another  heavy hail shower. Paddled on until 8pm, making up our time and camping at a cove just west of Mine Head. A light tea of salami, couscous and red pepper, washed down with a nice mug of tea..............


Friday, 17 May 2013

Ireland Day 5

Super day today, weve been put up by a paddler that previously held the record and have a chicken casserole with spuds!

Sky blue calm day today, kept close to the shore as the tide was against us at the start and made our way to Kilmore Quay and with an hours wait the "chippy" was open!! Beer battered haddock and top chips!!! Back on the water and heading for the "Saltees" and the Gannets colony. Amazing..! We paddled to the large Saltee, got on the tide and headed across to Hook Head, our first bigger open crossing.

Justine had a call earlier in the week from Mick O Meara about picking us up and the offer of showers and a floor to sleep on. Justine gave him a bell whilst we were on the water and we aimed for Ballymacaw 5 nautical miles away. Got there just before 21.00 and Mick soon arrived. Fab evening and so welcoming...big thanks Mick.


Day 4 Ireland Circumnavigation

Relaxed start to the day, crossing was super with gannets soaring in the wind and over 100 seals bathing on a sandbar. Landed just round from Carnsore Point covering the 12 miles in 2hrs 10 due to a gentle  F3 and a following sea. Staying put here for a bit, Justine's not feeling too hot and Ive developed a rub. Time for a mug of tea..................


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Day 3 Ireland

Woke to a sore back and on closer inspection I realised it was bruised! Probably due to the extra rotation I was throwing in! I decided to cut the waist band of my fleece trousers which I thought was the likely culprit! It worked! Fun and games continued though with me further snapping a tent pole as I shook the sand out of it whilst breaking camp! Fortunately had a repair sleeve so could fix it straight away! Lovely bright morning with the day bringing much better weather and lighter winds than forecast. About 25 nautical miles covered today.


2nd day of paddling around Ireland

We passed into the county of Wexford today with some hard earned miles. 16 nautical miles and our slowest speed ever at 1.7k as we clawed our way around a headland with flow! We managed to find a sheltered lunch spot and even had a snooze! We were tempted to stay but following our siesta we now had current assisting us so would'nt be a good move! Good camp spot for the night and who knows maybe a new county tomorrow!!!


Monday, 13 May 2013

Around Ireland 2013 Day 1 on the water at last!

After a late night, showers and a good breakfast of porridge, toast and honey and eggs (Thanks Sonja, Ireland!) kit was loaded into the deep blue sea kayaking van and we drove to pick up our kayaks and pack them a short distance away. Packing went smoothly and just at the right time a team of paddlers arrived to help us carry them to the waters edge! It was a super send off and the guys paddled with us for 10km. We crossed to Dalkey Island and crossed the bay into a F4 headwind. A welcome headland provided shelter from the wind and a super lunch stop in a small rocky cove. Thanks to Sonja, Wales! for the surprise yummy smoked cheese! Back on the water and Justine's GPS showed 5knots which was much better than the previous 2.7 knots! We realised at this point that we could make it round the point and our first significant lighthouse, here we reached 6knots!! Now all keen for a camp we landed just before Ardmore Point. With boats to move and arrival at low water Barry was on the case and soon had the kayak trolley set up! 45km or so in the bag today and our position will help us tomorrow morning, which is looking like the wind will be stronger and the weather wet!!!


Saturday, 11 May 2013

Arrival in Ireland

Up at 7, breakfast of toast, honey and a banana. Then up to Justine & Barry's to pick them up and then back down to pick up Craig, who had kindly driven across to help with the drive? Into Holyhead with lots of time to spare, and a helpful Stena Line ferry staff, the process of checking in was very smooth. Big thanks to Craig (the one on the right) for then driving my van back home, so Sonja has it.

It felt great to be on the way and seeing North Stack from another perspective. Soon the mountains of Ireland were coming into view, and the coastline beginning to shape up. It's been a windy day, with rain and showers of hail ... With some super sunny periods.

We were welcomed by two friends of Des and Sonja's (another one), helped with all the kit and where able to the kayaks and food in a lock up, right close to a slip way. Then taken back to Des and Sonja's place to settle in.

I'm nervous and excited .. I've done as much as I can to prepare and feel both
physically and physiological strong. And it will be interesting to see how I manage the next few weeks and months, which I'm looking forward to.

Hungry now and we are soon to be off to the local pub, for food, a pint of the dark stuff and Justine has a presentation to deliver ... Early to bed, maybe?!? But at least we have a gentle start and hope to be on the water for 1100. Winds have improved although gone initially into a head wind before going westerly. Westerly is good, NW would be great ....


Thursday, 9 May 2013

Around Ireland Final Preparations ....

Its been a busy week, make that two what have i been up to.  A few weeks back now I had a good day out with Justine and Barry testing out and getting a feel for our boats.  While paddling on Skye, I had found the Cetus hv, to turn into wind a fair bit and although I could easily control this with the rudder, I wasn't happy having to rely on the rudder ... what if it broke!  Once back, courses and admin sucked my time away, until the evening before our planned paddle.  I had decided to take the seat out, hoping that I could move the seat back.  There was no hole's pre drilled, but I soon created a couple and was able to move the seat back by about 20mm. But what would it be like now, would it help?

 Once on the water at Bull Bay on the North coast of Anglesey, I couldn't believe the difference a small change could make.  The wind dropped, which is what we all wanted ... but Middle Mouse race was chunky and provided suitable rough conditions ... and i was a happy boy again ...

 Since then I have been out in my boat eight times working with clients and Ive been very happy.  Ive also received spare cables and a rudder blade from Pez at P&H Custom Sea Kayaks, thanks for your help.

Ive also received all of my Kokatat paddle wear now, so thank you to Lisa and her team for getting it out to me, with time to spare.  I plan to wear the Gore-Tex Whirlpool Bib, Tec Tour Jacket, (will have the expedition dry suit in a dry bag behind my foot pegs, ready for those wet and surf happening days).  Gore-Tex Storm Cag in my day hatch for some quick warmth and it also doubles as an emergency spray deck, Tributary rear hydration pocket with the Ronin Buoyancy aid, small pocket but very comfortable cut.

My just giving page is up for Cancer Research and thanks to Stephanie for the stickers and the t shirt, to further promote my fund raising.  Thank you to those who have donated so far. You can give by following the link on the right of my blog page and its easy to do.

I would also like to thank Leonie of Art and Sea for sponsoring me the logos ...

Above is food for 10 days. It may not look like it but the weight feels like it ... I tend to keep my Breakfast, lunch and dinner each in its own dry bag.  This means I can delve in and have a choice.  I tend to have 5 meals in each and then the rest is then doubled bagged and will be pushed into the stern, behind the skeg box area of the kayak.  Each evening I then top up my deck bag and the deck fore hatch with lunch stuff.

I keep a separate brew kit with pasta soups in my day hatch next to my stove.  I try and limit how many cans, plastic containers and glass  I carry, as this just ups the weight.  Peanut butter, Manuka honey and a Guacamole in a squeezable container, I've got in plastic containers and there good pick me up foods, that can go super in a wrap, or a good sauce with noodles can easily be made up.  I like things to have more than one use. ...

My joint favourite item's or ingredient's have to be  .... small sachets of coconut milk.   These I can add to my porridge, evening meal or rice pudding, to change flavour, add flavour and increase calories.  And the rice pudding, Ive got 10 of them.  Its dehydrated and fairly easy to do in a jet boil (which says something!), got it from ASDA, made by Aunt Bessie's.  Took about 3 minutes and then left to stand for another 3 or so (with a lid on), delicious!

Last few days Ive been photo copying and laminating tidal stream hourly flows and been thinking about maintaining motivation and how I will celebrate what has been achieved.  One way I hope to be able to manage is sending a postcard home to Sonja and my parents, each time I cross into a new County.  There's 17 coastal Counties (20 if you included those at the back end of an estuary or inlet).  The girls, Erin and Alice who paddled from England to Finland sent post cards as they crossed into a new country, which i thought was a great idea.

Eight Imray charts make up the coast line of Ireland (big thanks to Marcus Demuth for loaning me his charts ...promise to get you over for diner on my return!) and these I will also send back home.  Sonja did this with the OS maps when she cycled around Wales and again this was a good motivator.

Paddling from the East, South, West, North and back to the East, seeing ones compass change are more obvious motivators and super opportunities to celebrate  ... mmmmm, a gentle pint of the dark stuff may be ...

This Saturday, 11th May at 1030 we board the Stena Line ferry to Dun Laoghaire, blue pin above.  Stena Line have been super in sponsoring us and our kayaks as foot passengers with return tickets, many thanks and to Justine for enquiring with in the first place.

On arrival, we are then being picked up by Des Keaney, of Deep Blue Sea Kayaking and Justine will be doing a talk about her recent dvd, that evening.  The following morning we aim to begin our paddle, if the winds allow us.  Yesterday the Windfinder forecast was showing f5-7 SW ... :( which would be into a head wind ... today its more hopeful F4-6 ... so we will just have to see on the day.  Our hopeful time of departure is 1100.

Where I can, I will up date the Blog my self, other wise I will text Sonja, so she can then update my post.  Photos will be limited and down to whether or not I can Blog or do I have a 3G connection, or enough battery life to send anything back.  Justine will also be keeping a Blog, which can be found here and a spot locator beacon which will be live on her Blog and show our progress.


roger chandler

expedition sea kayaking
sea kayaking course's