Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Anglesey Sunset

My 'group tent' got shredded on Sunday night. Effectively the UV detoriation killed it after 6 seasons of 'base-camp' use. The windward side, buffeted by wind, was still holding on, but the whole front door flap was ripping all over the place. Kind of 'open plan' camping.

For the last two days I have been staying with Petr from Czech. He kindly offered me a place to sleep. A few years ago Petr built his own carbon/kevlar racing sea kayak in Prague. Put it in the water there and paddled all the way to Nordkapp and partly back; a 5000 km trip...

After dinner we drove the scenic coastal road back and took a small detour twards South Stack for this nice sunset picture.

Now it is packing-up and driving back to the Netherlands via Hull ferry. Hope to be back soon!

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Big Rush

The last day of the group in Anglesey. We did not have a proper play in Penrhyn Mawr earlier in the week because of the tidal times. Leaving the campground at 8 AM to be on the water at 9 AM for the last half of the flood to get the most out of it. Hardly any wind and no swell; might be too flat and easy?

I should have known better because of earlier experiences. Too eager to have them have a good time at Penrhyn Mawr...

Penrhyn Mawr mid-flood at spring tide is very, very hard work. Ear deafening water rushing, boiling, swirling. Knife sharp eddylines. Burning-up our final reserves of this weeks energy very quickly. Getting to the gully to have a break was a real challenge.

The last hour of the flood gave us some nice and gentle waves to finish a great week in Anglesey.

Never again a 'big rush' to get to Penrhyn Mawr at mid-tide Springs.

Penrhyn Mawr 'Chicken Run' at mid-tide Springs

Thursday, May 11, 2017

In Running Order

Today we paddled from Moelfre to Camaes bay visiting the historic brickworks ruins at Porth Wen.

For the 18! years now that I have visited this place I spun this wheel. All is still in 'running order' although a bit rusty and squeaky at times.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Figuring out (eight) Bardsey

Bardsey is a beautiful island off the south end of the Llynn Peninsula. The only drawback being the relative long drive from Holyhead (almost two hours) and a little more complicated (=interesting) tides.

With the weather forecast of light winds and a last day of full sunshine in the forecast it was too good of an opportunity to miss. The tide was not so perfect and I did not have the information with me for the exact timings of the ebb and flood in Bardsey Sound. How 'right' are some 'random' internet pages on Bardsey Sound?

The crossing to Bardsey was on a perfectly straight line on an increasing ebb tide; at least that part I had right. A nice long lunch and hike on Bardsey. Nagging at me when exactly the flood would start and/or when eddies would kick in... Around the top end of the Island and crossing back over to the mainland. Still ebbing, nice, but for how long?

The crossing back turned out super safe but has room for improvement. At least our route today shows a nice figure of eight on the GPS track. Adding some more information about how and where the eddies and countercurrents affected us both in direction and speed. A strong tide-race in an eddy in a smooth sea state is allways interesting to encounter and think about.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Scenic route to the Skerries

A sunny day is a great day to paddle to the Skerries. After a short play in the race at Cemlyn we took the scenic route to the Skerries.

The cardinal buoys at Victoria Bank and Coal Rock are great for positional fixes on this classic navigation to the Skerries out of Cemlyn. We did not need to 'hit' them but they offer great photo opportunities and a bit of an extra challenge to get to them on a chosen compass course. No distant clouds today to do an easy transit on. The GPS track shows a nice curved route 'hitting' both of them and the Skerries.

Another great day. The sun allways shines on the Skerries.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Keel Stripping

The catch phrase of this week is probably 'Keel Strip'. We have repeatedly discussed the advantages and disadvantages of a keel strip. Frank does not have one. Luut and Bart did it the KeelEasy way. I have a diolene/gelcoat keel strip. Paddling through rock gardens inevitable gets one some scratches, however well we try to judge and time our runs through it.

Today we paddled from Porth Dafarch to Rhoscolyn. The wind was quite strong and chilly from the northeast. We kept close to the shore and paddled through every gully and over every pour-over we could find; hence the occasional scratch and shouting 'keel strip'!

We are getting into the habbit of having two lunch breaks a day. The first long break was out of the wind in the sun at Rhoscolyn Bay. Second lunch was at Porth Diana on our way back.

The next two days promise to be sunny with little wind, and the tide is right...

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Stacks Vista

A beautiful sunny first day of our Peddelpraat Anglesey week with Bart, Frank and Luut. Gentle races at North Stack, South Stack, Penrhyn Mawr and South Stack again (on the flood).

The photo is of our rocky landing lunch spot with South Stack vista.