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Welcome To The Go Sea Kayak Blog...
This Blog is A Record Of My Personal Adventures And Wonderful Kayaking Lifestyle. It Is Also A Taster Of What You Can Expect If You're Adventurous Enough To Tag Along. Why Not Get In Touch And Join One Of Go Sea Kayaks Guided Trips On The Beautiful Mediterranean Island Of Sardinia, You Won't Regret it!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Dreaming Of Vectors...

5:00AM & my alarm raises me from my sleep & I rise excitedly as I'm looking forward to this trip, I'll be heading to Steep Holm in Darkness though it should be pretty light by the time I get there.
I've been practicing my tidal plans & vector diagrams for days now so that it becomes second nature to me, in readiness for my 5 star assessment. Trouble is that I've been doing the planning & vectors but not actually paddling them. After three months of paddling almost everyday working as a guide its fair to say my motivation is lacking a wee bit.
I'll be trying my new deck compass too so I'll leave the GPS switched off.
I didn't rush getting ready, I thought I'd left plenty of time but at a casual glance at the time I noticed I was cutting it a bit fine, (whoops). In fact I was about 15 minutes late getting on the water & would have to get keep a good pace if I'm to leave Steep Holm just as the tide turns to make the 3 Nautical Mile crossing to Flat Holm.
Behind me the full moon set the dappled clouds glowing & lit my way nicely during the darkest part of the trip. As the sun rose the horizon glowed like scrub fires held the hill alight.

I held my focus as best I could during this wonderful show & tried to concentrate on my bearing.

It getting on a bit time wise due to me being late. The original plan had no allowance for being behind schedule as that would mean getting up evan earlier, A plan B was needed so I turned for the East of the Island in the slackening tide as this would save me a good 10 minutes by not circumnavigating the Island from the West.
The last 15 minutes before landing were pretty tough, I was pushing hard to regain some time but the building following sea kept pushing me left & right as the waves caught the boat. I was sweating quite a bit when I landed. Good fitness training.
I didn't stop long on Steep Holm, 5 minutes tops as I needed to push on for Flat Holm before the tide really got going. I made good progress till the halfway buoy, ferrying very accurately but as I approached closer to the Island the tide gripped me more & more & I was noticeably losing ground.
Just 300 metres from the shore the tide really showed its hand, the race was kicking up some playful surfs & I was losing speed rapidly. With a 100 metres to go I was barely making 1KMH & really fighting to reach the Eastern side of Lighthouse point. I could have just took it easy & headed for the West of the Island letting the tide take me but I wanted to land on the Eastern Beach & was in a fighting mood.
I was breathing heavy & groaning as my tired arms fought for each metre. Occasional shouts of "Come On You Slag" to my kayak made little difference & it was clear I was going to loose the battle, but not the war!
I chose to let the tide push me past the wrong side of the headland as I knew that I could charge out of the eddy & push the short distance through the tide into the next bay. I lined myself up & went for it & I went from 1KMH to a heady 9.2KMH as I entered the back eddy of the sheltered bay. I could literally see the sea swirling.
Just one more headland to pass, Jackdaw Point & I'll make the East beach, I paddled into position & sat awestruck, it looked like the Menai Straight as the tide shot past me like a river. Hmmm, hope my arms got some oomph left.
I pulled into the flow & dug in hard hugging the cliff, if I drifted out I then I put my blade in the water & feathered the angle letting the flow pull me back over.
When I finally reached the shore I figured this should probably be a quick stop too, 10 minutes tops. Getting a good workout today :)
Leaving the Island the tide was really shifting now & the water level dropped about a foot through the gap at Castle Rock & was swirling all over the place, nice :)
To reach Sully in this flow I would have to aim almost to Penarth, effectively paddling very sideways. At least I was in no rush now, I just enjoyed, (as much as my tired body would let me) & got on with it.
I drifted just North of the Wolves but the bearing looked good & sure enough brought me to Sully with distance to spare.
The thought of tea & biscuits really kept me going on the last stretch. Bliss!
My Route Around Flat Holm...

                                          The Overall Route From Sully...


  1. nice pics you nerdy vector maths early bird nerdy dude. nerd.