Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Monday, May 08, 2006

Puffin Island Seals

It is a very grey and rainy day. A difficult call for going out to paddle. It is the second day for a Dutch group of paddlers. Yesterday was fine, a trip from Porth Dafarch to Rhoscolyn. What to do? It is neaps, so no real fun to be had in the Menai Strait, and no high winds to have some 'safe' excitement there. So far I was only 'grounded' at Anglesey with winds of 8 Beaufort (35 knots) or more. Stay inside and watch sea kayaking video's? No, let's go to Puffin Island! Changing into paddling clothes in the rain, launching in the rain. A very grey dull wet paddling day? Not quite! We are welcomed by very inquisitive seals off Puffin Island. They nibble at our toggles and give us lots of opportunity to make close-up photo's. On the south side of the Islands lots of guillemots, razorbills and yes, Puffins. More Puffins than I have seen there before; they are back! During lunch there is a glimpse of the sun, but soon the grey low cloud cover takes over again. It stops raining. A most memorable beautiful Anglesey grey seal paddling day.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Anglesey Sea Kayaking Symposium

From my first experience with tidal races and overfalls during my 2000 May visit, this year marks my seventh Anglesey symposium. Still I am amazed at the variety of conditions I am experiencing here. I can even consider these now to be my 'home waters', from the number of times I have paddled here above anywhere else. Have these waters changed over the years? Or is it my expanded knowledge of where to paddle when and seek out the variety by experience and improved sea kayak handling skills? Recognizing the anxiety on the faces of the 'first-timers'. I must have looked the same then, in 2000; the New York slanged voice of Bill still echoing: "When in doubt, paddle even harder!".