Saturday, 6 July 2013

Xplore - Intermediate sea kayaking

Day 1 Intermediate sea kayaking - Having paddled with Steve in 2012, it was good to see him again.  Over a coffee we talked through what he wanted to achieve.  Overall it was gaining more control and independence.  Looking at the forecast and talking through options Steve then created a plan for Puffin Island.  An area that would provide some current, offshore wind, various sea states and lots of wild life.

A few of the local inhabitants below ... 

Steve keeping a good eye on the map ... before a paddle into wind ...

Day 2 - Bull Bay.

This was Chris first day out and with the winds the North Coast was chosen.  This would provide some current, swell and rock hoping. Steve had completed a tidal plan and we used the tide to travel along the coast to begin with, and did a few turns, with emphasis on body and then into stern rudders.

After lunch we paddled out to Middle Mouse close to slack water and then headed back.  the island was teaming with birds and we kept our distance. A great day for wild life as we saw a few porpoises, peregrine falcon and many other sea birds

Day 3 - With a forecast in the morning of F5-6, a couple of options existed and a rough water day at Trearddur Bay, provided more options.  This was from working in wind and swell, using body and considering various turns, down wind running and surfing. As well as appropriate shelter!

Steve setting him self up for a good few runs and working on a high stern rudder and active looking ...

Steve on the left and Chris on the right.  Chris had never surfed a sea kayak before, or a river kayak but has paddled a fair amount of white water and managed to transfer these skills effectively into a sound performance ... both had some good waves. 

By the afternoon the wind was very light, so we paddled out of the bay and the guys had a navigation task to locate a small cove.  The swell provided great conditions, which were quite atmospheric ...

Chris setting up his paddle float, for a well balanced self rescue  ... which had been one of his goals.

Day 4 - The Stacks.  With a super sunny light wind forecast, a paddle round to South Stack looked promising.  Steve had done the tidal planning and had never paddled in this area.  We would avoid the ebb tide, and do as much rock hoping as the swell would allow.

It was also Paul's first day of the course, due to his car breaking down in the week, so I was mindful of this.  The area provided a blend of conditions, so both could push them selves or take time out.

One of the stunning areas of rock folds and formations, below.

South Stack light house, a first for them both ...

And now time to play in the race and the last of the ebb ... It was great seeing Steve looking comfortable and confident, despite taking a few knocks ..

After working on eddy turns, carrying speed with edge into a turn and ferry glides, we jumped on the ebb to take us partly back to the start ...

As we paddled back a shape in the water caught my eye, a fin ... there was may be 5 or more Risso  Dolphins (very sharp and upright dorsal fin and white marks on a steep forehead) just South of the bay of Abraham's Bosom, slowly swimming and I guess feeding against the first of the flood tide ... wow, a super finish to a great 4 days!!


roger chandler

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