Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Storm Gathering - Anglesey 27th October 2008

Final day of Storm Gathering symposium.

Launched from Porth Dafarch and paddled out to Penrhyn Mawr. NW F4-5 winds. When we started out the tide was still ebbing, so no race was present but conditions N of the headland were very choppy with fairly large swell occasionally breaking (not steep, so easy to just brace on if necessary).

Paddled back through the rocks off the headland doing some rock hopping negotiating small channels that were quite exciting with the swell/breaking waves. One member of the group capsized in one of the channels and failed to roll due to being pinned to rocks, so I performed rescue.

Stopped for lunch at a small beach just S of the headland. After lunch we returned to the headland as the tide had turned and the flow was now moving through the rocks. The flow running against the swell was creating large waves. Group was surfing and playing in the waves for about an hour. Waves were generally building in size and getting steeper and breaking more violently. One member of the group looped, capsized and rolled, so they must have been quite big. After that, conditions were too exciting to have a large number of people out so the coaches got us all out of the race and paddled back to the beach.

If anyone had fallen in on the main race it would have been quite exciting to rescue them with the wave train going on for a long way. Likely outcome would have been that rescued person would be back in their boat, but with breaking waves likely to have swamped the cockpit while getting back in and putting spray deck on. Wobbly boat then needing lengthy assisted tow to calmer water to empty rest of the water out and then to paddle back up to the headland....

Coached by Tony Hammock initially, then by Nick Cunliffe (who runs surflines in Llanberis) in the rough stuff. Tony commented that my forward stroke did not seem to go deep enough, so I concentrated on a deeper, longer stroke that seemed to increase my speed into headwinds. Typical problem with ex-slalom paddlers apparently...

Storm Gathering - Anglesey 26th October 2008

Second day of Storm Gathering symposium.

Wind had died down to only F5-6 W. Mainly sunny overhead conditions, but with the occassional heavy shower passing through quickly.

Launched at Porth Eilian. Nice sheltered pebble beach.

Paddled out to Point Lynas to play in the ebbing tide that was creating a small race off the end of the point. W'ly swell was against the E -> W flowing tide creating (small) waves that could be surfed.

After playing for about 30 minutes, turned round to paddle W into very strong winds. Had lunch stop in Amlwch harbour. After lunch the tide had turned and we attempted to carry on to Bull Bay but were battling tide and wind now and not all the group were strong enough to get through the channel between East Mouse Island and the headland (I got through with 3 others but had to turn round to rejoin main group with the coaches).

Group returned quickly to Porth Eilian. We were coached by Sid Sinfield and Guto Wyn.

Storm Gathering - Anglesey 25th October 2008

First day of the 3 day "Storm Gathering" symposium based at Anglesey Outdoors on Holy Island. The event was organised by Mark Tozer who arranged a number of coaches to attend to run sessions over the 3 days.

Inshore weather forecast was for F9 SW gales, so the only sensible place to paddle was in the Menai Straights. Launched from a slipway in the village of Menai Bridge, just a couple of hundred metres NE of the bridge on the N side of the channel.

Coached by Phil Clegg on basic technique obviously adapted to cope with the wind conditions. Wind was still gusting along the straights, but still just possible to paddle into. Some moving water in the area between the two bridges allowing break-in/break-out practice. Didn't get to play on the "swellies" wave just slightly nearer to the Britannia Bridge.

We were on the water for a couple of hours.

Prior to paddling we had a indoor session on route planning. Involved looking at charts, plotting routes using tide flows etc.

Friday, 17 October 2008

New purchase!

Bought a typhoon Multisport dry suit for the winter. Going to the Storm Gathering symposium on Anglesey next weekend and needed something more substantial if we will be doing rescues.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Abersoch and St Tudwal's East - 12th October 2008

Returned to St Tudwal's but in calm and sunny conditions. Seals and Cormorants present again. About 4.3 miles round trip.

Nice caves...

Returned to Abersoch beach to paddle with Kieron Hudson, Andy Smith and Stephen Gunby. Andy and Kieron had a go in my Capella and appreciated its performance compared to the rotobat and SoT that we had with us. Converts?... maybe next time.

St Tudwal's East and West Island - 11th October 2008

Launched from the town beach in Abersoch. Paddled round the coast to Trwyn Yr Wylfa before crossing to St Tudwal's Island West then on to St Tudwal's Island East and then back to Abersoch. About 6.5 miles round trip.

Launched around midday, low tide was 13:19, returned 13:40. No appreciable tide.

Weather was overcast with moderate visibility to start with, worsening in rain such that compass was used to return to Abersoch as mainland was not visible.

Wind about SW F3, about 3 foot swell near Twryn Yr Wylfa. Quite confused waves due to reflection from cliffs. Much calmer once round to E of St Tudwal's East which was a lee shore. Woman on moored yacht offered me a cup of tea! (refused because I was needing a pee already....)

Cormorants and seals around St Tudwal's East along with more interesting cliff scenary. No place to land easily on either island. One seal followed me closely for 500 metres from St Tudwal's East on return to Abersoch.