Paddles with an Anas acuta...... unashamedly biased toward the sea kayak of that name (actually the voyages of two boats, one 'traffic over gold', one 'quill')

Thursday, 31 December 2009

Just before Christmas

Some father-son bonding traversing Cross Fell, led to 4 hours in thick cloud walking on refrozen slush. On the way down a party of 4 walkers came in from a strange angle and seemed very pleased to see us. They were even more pleased to hear that we believed that we knew where we were going, they having made an unexpected tour of Upper Teesdale after some navigational errors. We came out of the cloud 200m away, but in parallel with the path. In the days of the 'one inch' OS this would have been good navigation and we could have patted ourselves on the back, but with a modern 1:25,000 map and compass, we could have done slightly better. The GPS user must really miss out on the self-congratulation at finding the summit or coming out of the cloud just right.

Later on we met classic conditions in North Wales, 5 hours in thick cloud around the Snowdon horseshoe. No navigational problems, and not too much ice,

but gale force gusts slowed progress. It was pitch dark before we arrived back at Pen-y-pass, and no torches.

Back on the water

The long break in posts was because work reared its ugly head and I was away in warmer climes for 3 months. Instead of a gentle introduction, month by month, it was straight into cold water.  

Paddling in a wintery scene off Hayling Island.

There was a clean swell, which encouraged waiting around, paddle parked in its usual place.

Three Anas acutas under a leaden sky.

Steve waiting for a ride as the waves curled along the beach.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Another lighthouse

Calm, lazy, conditions this weekend,

for another lighthouse.

Beachy Head, but what foredeck is this?

A demo Tahe Marine Greenlander from Shoreham Seakayaks . The demo, always a dangerous activity, can prove expensive. You may be seeing more of this deck, but in black!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Home waters

We launched in evening sunshine last night at Dell Quay,

followed by a fine sunset off Chidham Point.

With no moon, it was dark on the way home.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Philip Plisson

Philip Plisson took some photographs as we left the Aber Ildut on the way to Ile Molene. Liz is a white boat, red cag and blue BA, myself blue cag with fluo yellow hood, yellow boat.

Capturing the atmosphere of slight trepidation, but growing confidence.

As nice as the Anas acuta? This is the Tahe Marine Greenlander, not so versatile, but a lovely day boat.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

CKmer meeting in Brittany

We were in Brittany for the CKmer international gathering and after a few days on our own, made our way to Landeda near Aber Wrac'h. Here are just a fraction of the 120 boats.
Taking advantage of local knowledge, small sub groups made a great variety of interesting trips.

Ascending the Abers from the open sea to fresh water, here the head waters of the Aber Wrac'h.

By contrast an open sea crossing to Ile Molene, paddling 7 miles due west from Aber Ildut, the tide carried us 4 miles south to the island. The return was 3 miles following the islands and skerries towards the south-east, like crossing a series of fast flowing rivers. Followed by 4 miles paddling due east across the Chenal du Four, in which time the tide had carried us 5.5 miles north back to Aber Ildut. The week flashed past as fast as the 110 coefficient tide.

The ship graveyard in the river Aulne.

It was nice for me, as there were many greenland style paddlers and we could go along in a group maintaining our rapid but effortless cadence. A blind paddler in a double recognised us individually by our stroke pattern, but we felt as if we were in time. Along with the greenland paddles were a good collection of Anas acutas, almost every colour Valley supplies. Here I am, admiring a rarer boat, paddled to good effect by a 12 year old with a scaled down greenland paddle, it is an Anas chick.

Ile Vierge, Aber Wrac'h

This one is the tallest lighthouse in Europe, 82.9m, with a magnificent spiral staircase occupying the empty centre.

Phare du Corn C'hai

Another lighthouse Phare du Corn C'hai, 2nm off Portsall

Phare du Four

Another Brittany lighthouse for our collection, Phare du Four 1.5 nm off Argenton, calm except for a lazy swell, though the tide was running at a good speed. Philip Plisson was there in more demanding sea conditions!

copyright Philip Plisson

Baie des Trepasses

Attacked by a strange sea monster,

Steve fights it off with his paddle

Raz de Sein in a calm mood

Raz de Sein? yes it is, we had hit a day without swell, the sea like a mirror, and waited for LW slack (Brest -1 hour). An hour earlier it had been standing waves falling in white sheets, but now was an eerie calm.

We circumnavigated the two lighthouses.

Philip Plisson, as always, was there in stormy weather, this image is from his website.

Then, as the tide started to run, already forming strange eddies and boils, we headed back into the Baie des Trepasses, the Bay of the Dead. An hour later it was all white water again. A Breton kayaker said that it was no place to play, a quiet and respectful passage over the many dead mariners was more appropriate.

On the way back, the quiet sea allowed deep passage into the caves.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Loch Scavaig and the Cullin

Next day we left the boats at Coruisk,

to go for a walk.

By now the wind had dropped to nothing, and we met several basking sharks

on the way back to Glen Brittle. A great end to the week.

Lizzies 50th Birthday

More settled weather let us paddle to Soay

for Liz to cut the cake, looking out to the Cullin,

but we paddled round to the windward side to camp, out of the midges,

before the celebration evening out.

Lunch in Loch Bracadale

Next day the wind was SW5-6 with a large swell, so a short paddle in Loch Bracadale and some island walking kept us occupied.

Glen Brittle to Loch Harport

The forecast was SE 4-7 and it turned out near the upper end,

blowing us along the coast in fine style. Around every salient point, the long fetch and clapotis made for tricky seas and it was always a relief to glide into the shelter behind the stacks, here Stac a' Mheadais.

Lunch at Talisker,

sunbathing 'August in Skye' style.

McFarlane's rock was the final obstacle,

and a sheltered cave gave respite from the wind.

However, the swell kept trying to sweep me deeper into the inky blackness to who knows what horrors judging by the sound behind me.

Round the corner in Loch Bracadale we were out of the wind for the final few miles.