Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Kissing Noorderhaaks

A Peddelpraat trip from Callantsoog to Huisduinen and 'kissing' Noorderhaaks before a downwind run back to Callantsoog. The trip was led by Marian & Ria. Paddling through a fluffy foam patch got me above picture.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Tern back on the Skerries

Another gorgeous day, my last paddling day in Anglesey this time around. A perfect day for the Skerries to check if the Terns have arrived. With this tide I have guestimated a crossing on 300 degrees compass course. During the crossing I notice I am closing in on a couple. It is Rich and ? It turns out that it is their first visit to the Skerries. They spent all yesterday evening in the Paddler's Return pub on the tidal calculations having three sources saying them somewhat different things. I congratulate them on their spot-on navigation.

We're not alone at the Skerries. The screeching sounds are proof that the Arctic Terns arrived back in numbers for the season. Just three days ago it was still quiet. The RSPB warden tells me that the Terns hardly go quiet and that he uses ear plugs for sleeping. Two other paddling groups arrive with Phil and Nigel.

For the return journey I waited a bit for the tide to strengthen. In the meantime I played at still small races around the Skerries. I set my compass course out to 'intercept' West Mouse. I am amazed at the roughness of the sea between the Skerries and West Mouse for it is near neaps and only blowing a Northerly force 3 Beaufort. In front of West Mouse a sizeable race is running. A fast surf ending in bracing on a foam pile; maybe not the best of ideas to play here longer as a solo paddler... Staying well outside the inshore eddy, I used the 'conveyer belt' back to Harry Furloughs rocks. I add another sunny day to my Skerries statistics.

Today (May 15)is a good friends' Birthday. A perfect day and place to celebrate lifetime adventures.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Joining the club

After 14 days on the water everyday, coaching and guiding in Anglesey, this Saturday would be my first day 'off'. It is a georgeous sunny day with little wind, so it would be a shame not to be on the water in any form or way. On the land I am rather tired, but in my kayak I quickly have my energy back.

I headed out (solo) from Porth Dafarch to Penrhyn Mawr. An hour later than yesterday when it ran great early, but strangely not much happening today. I landed on the middle rock for a nap. When after an hour or so I went back on the water I found the 'Saturday Club' playing in a gentle outer race. After a little play they invited me to join them towards South Stack race.

I am less familiar with South Stack race on the flood, so I would not have gone there on my own today. South Stack race was running like magic. Smooth long steep waves with the odd foam pile at first. Great for long and fast surfs. When the foam piles got more powerfull and less forgiving it was time to call it a day and we had lunch at Parliament House Cave.

Thanks Richard, Paul, Rachel, Mirco, Ed and Geafin for a great day with the Saturday Club.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Rocking Sea

A beautiful day with wave action. Most in our group today are from Iceland and from the way they choose their route it looks that they are in a familiar environment.

After lunch, Rhoscolyn race had just started, but it did not look good to play there, because I soon lost sight of most of the paddlers. The first paddler I saw again I directed back to the eddy. Naturally the paddlers were a bit dissapointed that they could not play more than these few minutes in the race, but I knew this could only get worse by every minute passing.

Closely folowing the coastline playing with the wave action, I had to do a precautionary capsize when I saw a cresting wave threaten to set the paddler next to me on top of me from a meter above. I had unclipped my helmet because of neck chaffing and was reminded that this is not a good idea for when I rolled back up it came off my head and I had to 'fish' for it to get it back. In the end we had not collided. We made our way rock hopping back to Trearddur Bay.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

T-Bay Remit

Trearddur Bay is a coaches' dream venue, even (or especially) in a force 6. Today, the 2nd day of the annual Anglesey Sea Kayak Symposium, the 'remit' for our 4* skills session was just up to the east entrance and into Porth Diana, only 250 meters away. Outside of that (and the west entrance) would be beyond 5*. And the area just sea-side of what local coaches call the 'Magnetic Rocks', only 100 meters away from the beach, is also 'out-of-remit'. The fringes of this area today provide great 'big water' training grounds.

It is like paddling in a 'stormy open sea simulation'; challenging conditions, low consequences. One hardly (rather not) goes out for real in these conditions, but a great opportunity to experience them nevertheless in relative safety. The big outside waves are 'dampened' closer inshore and depending on wind direction sometimes even without a surf zone, like today.

Inside of the Magnetic Rocks we play on aerated white foam water; noticable providing less bracing support. And learning to judge the energy of waves by shape and not only by the whiteness of them.