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')

Monday, 18 November 2013

An ideal Xmas present

A review from Canoeist Magazine November 2013, page 63

Whilst this is what Kevin Mansell said:
If you are considering a kayaking trip to Brittany then this recently published guide is a must have book.  Written by two Breton paddlers it has been translated into English by Peter Bisset, a member of the Portsmouth Canoe Club.
Jammed full of useful information there are hours of reading, not only about the 60 recommended paddles but also about the wider issues of paddling in France.
If you are considering a visit to this delightful region of France, where there is huge sea kayaking potential for paddlers of all ability levels, then this book is a must have item.

The cooler water makes me hesitate a second before my end-of-trip practice roll or two at this time of year. The sudden shock of cold water must be good for you??!! Now is the time to think ahead to the warmer water and what better destination for the European sea paddler than Brittany.

Brittany is also one of the better destinations for non-kayaking family members. Putting a copy of this guide under the Xmas tree might head off a trip to somewhere less family friendly.

It should be easy to find a copy at your local canoe shop, bookshop or on-line seller, but if you have any problems drop me a line.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Local paddling

 Last weekend we stayed in Swanage -I can recommend the auberge- on the Saturday we were caught in the F9 in Poole Harbour, it blew up a couple of hours earlier than expected. A good learning experience with various incidents, swims, people loosing control of their boats, tow lines tangled around the mooring buoys that litter the harbour. Luckily the trusty Anas always turns into the wind and rocks happily in the wind blown chop awaiting further instructions from the paddler who only has to relax.

Sunday it was a strong offshore wind and we had a lazy paddle around Studland Bay taking care not to be carried through the gaps at Old Harry.
Eastney pier, the third Portsmouth pier? The old outfall behind produces sport the last couple of hours of the flood, the Bitches in miniature!?  Dangerous obstructions lurk to seaward, avoid this playspot on the ebb.
Yesterday it was a trip across the Solent; Eastney to Bembridge. The forecast had been anything from F8 to F3 and from north to south. The NW 4 didn't feel very threatening and we had a nice crossing in a lively sea keeping on a steady 210 magnetic which took us well out to sea, crossing the channel near Dean Elbow and making best use of the tide. A tanker was coming in to anchor off St. Helen's travelling little faster than ourselves. However it was great to hear the anchor clang and rattle out. The wall of metal which was its bow had been sneaking up ominously as I kept glancing over my shoulder.

On the way back we crossed near the Werner, making good time with little tidal help and a cross-wind making the 6 or 7 miles in under 2 hours.

Shetland: Muckle Flugga and Out Stack

 An optimistic start from Burrafirth. Despite the exposed nature of the top of the UK, the long slack between the violent easterly and westerly flows makes it a simple paddle.
 Wheeling gannets, and the aerial combat with the bonxies,
the winners take the spoils leaving some scraps for the mallies (fulmars). It was like being inside a wildlife documentary, you could almost hear the Attenborough voice-over.
 Lashing rain failed to spoil our enjoyment, although it did leave some smudges on the camera lens.
 On the way around Out Stack, rain on a calm sea.
 Some bright periods,
 a promise of better weather to come?
Sure enough, next morning we were enjoying the sunshine, launching at Norwick and making use of the tide to carry us there and back. We saw several minke close to, but they were busy feeding and paid us no attention at all.