Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Black Hole

This evening I paddled with Justine and Stuart on the Swellies wave. Sharing it with quite a few playboaters.

I was totally oblivious to the holding power of the stopper forming behind it, only until I saw Stuart sideways in the stopper, partly engulfed in his sea kayak. On the pictures it still looks 'benign' for the light was too low to keep making pictures.

We stopped when it got too dark to see the black hole in the front and the other padders. It is difficult (for me) to stay on the wave with a 'long boat'. But I get better at it for it was an extra big spring tide; 10.4 meter (one of the biggest ever) today and I felt more comfortable then ever before here.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bardsey Ferry

I have been to Bardsey only three times before and that was allways with others leading the way. I have only a black-and-white copy of a chart and no detailed information on the currents in the sound. We start out of Aberdaron.

We first paddle all the way up the eddy along the south coast of the Llyn Peninsula. Races are visible in and across the sound. We cross to Bardsey at 240 degrees. First we are 'unexpectedly' going southwest, only to be explained by the eddy current initially bouncing wide off the southwest corner of the Llyn. The visible 'race' off the southwest corner just being the strong eddy hitting and merging with the main ebb flow. But soon thereafter we are swept southeastwards.

As soon as we are near the northeast corner of Bardsey I am surfing standing waves; against a current; a tide-race in the eddy off Bardsey. Going wider to get into the main flow again.

Off the southeast corner a nice small but rough race gets us into the landing spot on Bardsey. A tour boat drops off and picks up visitors. After a nice walk to the lighthouse we start on our return journey.

It is still ebbing, but for exactly how long we do not know (in the Sound). With a steady 45 degrees on the compass at some point it looks like we will definitively drop too low; transits are moving. The spring-tide ebb aparently is quite strong still. Maybe 45 degrees was a bit over-ambitious.

But as soon as we are nearing the southeast corner of the Llyn an eddy current sweeps us north-west again, s-curving us precisely to the corner. 30 degrees (Fred's choice) would definitively have been the safer 'bet', but I am quite chuffed how chance-perfect these Bardsey ferries today turned out to be.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Wave Train Timetables

Wave trains at Penrhyn Mawr, Anglesey, 2015
With an early start at the Holyhead Marina we paddled around the breakwater to North Stack. Not much going on there with no swell. Heading out wide to drop down to South Stack where the waves were steep enough for a while to get long rides.

Wave trains at South Stack, Anglesey, 2015

Sunny warm lunch in Abraham's Bossom. Arriving very early for Penrhyn Mawr, I climbed out onto one of the exposed so-called 'fangs'. And looked for a 'switch' to turn Penrhyn Mawr 'on'.

Climbing out on the Fangs, Penrhyn Mawr, Anglesey, 2015 (Photo: FK)

All the time in front of us there was a group of dolphins. But however close I drifted they allways had their distance. Roger (of Coastal Spirit) made a stunning picture.

More and more paddlers started to arrive waiting for the wave train to arrive. Penrhyn Mawr was very nice today. Great rides. Not very rough but good rides with lots of opportunities for manouevering on the waves.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

In Transit

I arrived in Anglesey with incredible beautiful weather. Fred and Walter came over for a long weekend. Not a difficult decision to go to the Skerries when also the tide is perfect for it. Halfway between Victoria Bank and Coal Rock a group of 10+ dolphins crossed our transit.
It was quiet on the Skerries. The Terns (and Puffins) that loudly occupied it when I was here last in May left and also the bird wardens. The seals are still there quietly enjoying a nap, like I am.

I found my trusted old Tweety Explorer in enclosed confinement. Protected from itself and/or from others? Thank you Nigel and Sea Kayaking UK for having me use my most trusted sea kayak. Enjoying to be out there again.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Both Hands Free

Went with Barry & Justine for an afternoon paddle on the Menai Strait. Best workouts are against the flow, made a little bit easier today for me for the fact that I was in my Taran16. And with both hands free it is also easy to take on new challenges.