ISLAND HOPPING

ISLE OF MAN

So we landed on Thursday night and found shelter in Mariners’ Shelter in St Mary’s harbour. Next day we were given the forecast by the harbour office and it was clear that we were going nowhere for the next few days. The main problem had to be sorted, where to stay. This wasn’t our first visit to the island. We came here two years ago to kayak with Adventurous Experiences. And so Kieron it was to whom we sent a text. Him being away, paddling at Aleutian Islands, his colleague Sam answered. World is small, it was Sam with whom we paddled last time.
And so we set off from Port St Mary, hoping to get as far as Peel, or maybe Niarbyl, just a bit closer for our next journey and for the pick up. The wind was force 4, due to pick up by 4pm. We made it through the Sound of Calf before it became a Tiderace and continued past Port Erin. The wind was strong from the side. Hidden under the cliffs we enjoyed a bit of coast exploration.

20120527-203032.jpg

But this did not last long, the wind followed the cliffs and soon became a headwind. We pushed as far as we could, being carried by tide, but soon the kayak started to reverse, being blown by the wind. The water was being taken by the wind from the surface and thrown into our faces, there it was a clear F7. We had no other option than to turn (not fun) and go back to Port Erin hoping that we can make into the harbour against the wind. Eventually we did. Many people were on the beach enjoying the hot weather and Friday afternoon unaware of the drama we went through.

20120527-203121.jpg

Now we only had to wait for the pick up. Sam took us to their head quarters at Ballabrooie Farm.

20120527-203220.jpg

We camped here for two nights and were made to feel very welcome by everyone living here.

20120527-203548.jpg

Jim (Kieron’s dad) even lent us a car to ease our exploring of the island. Which we enjoyed and really liked the wild forests they have here and the beautiful coastline.

20120527-203327.jpg

The only complication was that it was the beginning of TT Race. Again. It was same the last time we came here, and so we had to negotiate few road closures and many motorbike.

20120527-203417.jpg
I have to admit we never heard of TT Race till two years ago, and failed to see how important is was in the history of racing sport. Well, we do know now, and the next time we come here, we will try to avoid it.

20120527-203454.jpg

Advertisements

Gone with the wind

The farmer, his name is Andrew, was true to his word and came in the morning with his daughter, Saffron, and brought us coffee. We had a chat and the he took us to local shop. He was also offering showers. But just having left Lundy campsite we didn’t want to become spoilt. He also offered teas and charging stuff but we politely declined all. Then he mentioned wi fi and got our attention. We then spent the rest of the morning in his kitchen.
Saffron draw a cool picture for us, which is bellow.

20120513-171545.jpg
Then it was time when the tide turned in our direction and time for us to go paddling again. Unfortunately the wind beat us yet again. It was solid F6 against which we stood no chance. The target of our today’s journey got shorter and shorter till we ended in Barafundle Bay, whole 2,5nm from Freshwater East. Hopefully when we reach Scotland we will be able to fight more and longer.

” … and we will find you…”

We received a message from Barbara and Ian:”We have your dry suits, John is bringing you bag of goodies, we will find you during the weekend.”
This is something that made me realise how important it is knowing that there are people who are looking out for us, who think about us and support us. Doing this trip without having family in the country and hence not reliable support can be hard at times. But people like Barbara and Ian, John, Howard, Jason, Mark and Sherril, Alastair, Jean-Pierre , Andy – Midlife are supplying this. They don’t ask what we need or want, they don’t wait, they are there, thinking about us and doing stuff we realised we needed once it was done. Thank you.
There are also many people who there and now send us messages of support via the blog or text message or email, this also makes us feel that we are not alone. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy being here, doing what we do, we already know that we would do it again, but I am glad we have such great people around.
I will send some donation to the young people at Shadwell and Josh saying that there will always be someone who will believe in and support what you’re doing, you may just be a bit surprised who it is.

As for events of the day today. We went through our first tide race in our Tideraces around Dinas Head. And we were also reunited with our long lost companion, the headwind, so our progress slowed down again.

20120505-214247.jpg
We were met by a photographer on a beach this morning, so famous we are!

20120505-214418.jpg
And once again, we now both have one new and one repaired dry suit, so dry happy days, see how long for.

20120505-214532.jpg

20120505-214713.jpg
To end the day, we met a man with a four by four, who reminded me of a game keeper from Roal Dahl, who made us move from his side of the beach to his neighbour’s side of the beach.

Around the most southerly Point

Last two days were very exciting and lots of stuff happened. Firstly we left the warm welcome of Andy Midlife’s house to camp on a wet field in force 8, we couldn’t do anything else than to survive, and so we did.
Finally the day came and we could leave. That day we reliazed that starting to paddle late during the day is not our cup of tea. It doesn’t matter what time we leave, I get tired by 3pm and everything after that is a bother, so starting at noon doesn’t give us lot of pleasant time. Needing to use the lavatory (love this word) we stopped at surf beach and not really paying attention I could show to present group of kayakers how to swim around Britain. They were fine about it, fished me out, and we reliazed that their leader was Martin, a former member of Tower Hamlets Canoe Club, who moved to Falmouth a while ago. It is a small world.

We did not stop at St Andrew’s lighthouse to regroup with other circumnavigators and continued at our pace. The conditions in the bay were a bit choppy and I found them hard and tiring and everything was wrong. Fortunately this changed later and we had great evening paddle to Cadwith.

There we camped on the only available spot, by the look out bench. Now this village has very sophisticated pub where they sell take away pints in take away containers, so dinner had extra ingredient. Bliss.

Next day we agreed that morning paddles are our cup of tea and got up early to leave at 7 am, failing to achieve that, due to our slowness and fishermen launching their boats, we left at 8. Lizzard Point, the most southerly point, was quiet, little bit choppy, some swell but all together a piece of cake.

We arrived at Mullion and met many many people. Let me list. We met the MK circumnavigators who were waiting for their film crew. You are reading it right, a film crew. So after inviting ourselves into their house, nearly gate crashing their leaving party, we managed to get our five minutes of fame and their cameras pointing at us, too.
We also met a local historian called Bob Felce who told us mainly about the first sail from Boston to Lizard at the end of 19th. century.
We also had a chat with owner of local cafe, the pasties we ate were made by a Frenchman, he said.

Then we left straight for Lamorna. Crossing was almost uneventful. Only the navy helicopter kept flying quite low above our heads and we had a close encounter with a fisherman. He was obviously heading home, letting the boat lead the way, a bit like cowboys used to do with their horses when returning from a bar. Obviously he wasn’t looking, minding his own business, fish, but kept approaching fast from behind. You can’t compete with an engine, Michal started whistling and I was waiting for the crash. He saw us in last minute and jumped to steer the boat away, it was very close. I then needed about half hour to reach normal heart beat again.
Then we reached Lamorna, but decided to go as far as Portgwarra since we like it there better.

20120503-101207.jpg

20120503-101231.jpg

20120503-101245.jpg

20120503-101303.jpg

20120503-101326.jpg

20120503-101344.jpg

20120503-101400.jpg

20120503-101414.jpg

20120503-102839.jpg

THE STORY OF SOCIAL PADDLE CONTINUES

The weather is non-paddling again, for two days at least. Knowing that we decided it was time to leave Devon and move to Cornwall, anyway Michal wanted to be there last week already and I wanted to there by 29th at least. But you have seen our progress in the last two weeks and it didn’t look like it.

Till this two day window appeared. We took a chance; being only able to paddle for half a day on Friday, we decided on long day for the next day. We got up at 4 in the morning and left just after 6 am, yes we can do 2 hours if we don’t unpack fully and cook something quick for breakfast. I like this early morning paddles, everything was clam and passing Plymouth was uneventful. After short stop we crossed the White Sands Bay, when we were crossing the St Austell Bay the predicted wind picked up already and we had good following sea.

At Dodman Point we were thinking of stopping in Veyran Bay, but the lack of amenities there and the idea of going to cheer Midlifekayak on their leaving next day (we didn’t know at that time that they postponed) made us to stretch it to Portscatho. Ok it was our 14th hour and the last one was the hardest one, we realised how cold we were, when the water started to feel warm. But we made it and I even enjoyed the landing in the little surf wave.

We pitched by the BBQ. It’s only in the early morning when the wind and rain really picked up, we started to make enquiries about the weather and Midlifekayak whereabouts. Both JP and Barbara send messages to their website and just when we were ready to leave for the village, Andy came to see us.

And so the story of social paddle around UK continues, we just had great breakfast and were offered a bed for the night.

20120429-163353.jpg

PRESENT MEETS FUTURE

On Friday we were leaving Hallsands, we couldn’t start to paddle till 1pm as we had to wait till the tide turns the right way for us. While we were enjoying the sunand the leisury packing we saw a kayaker going towards Beesand. Quite unusual sight as we have not seen many so far. We saw him agawhence afloat, but he was paddling backfrom Beesands and disappearing fast in the distance.

However later, just past Start Point by Lanacombe Bay we met him again and exchanged few words, and although he said he would paddle with us for and chat. Nice idea but he had Rockpool Taran, yellow and green, very nice), wing paddles and great paddling style so he disappeared again in no time. No chat then. Fortunately he waited again after Prowley Point and suggested where to meet for lunch.

And so we did. During lunch we exchanged formalities and paddling plans and found out that he was Nick Arding from Around Britain 4 Britain, and planning to do it next year.

20120429-160154.jpg

20120429-160207.jpg

20120429-160221.jpg

From Purbeck to South West Coast

20120416-214548.jpg

Yesterday evening when we were sitting at Kimmeridge and enjoying the evening sun, thinking about where to pitch our tent, Mark Rainsley visited us again. We were also discussing our plans for the following day. The forecast for the following few days promised strong winds and not much paddling for us. The tides to go around Portland were running early morning. There would be firing from the firing range between Kimmeridge and Lulworth cove from 9.30 am to 5pm. This combination of information did not sound good, on top of that we knew that we could get away with only one night at Kimmeridge.

In the end with the help of Mark’s presence the hard and only decisions was made. We would be getting up early, silly o’clock early, and would be paddling forever to get as far as possible to the other side. We had one little help to motivate ourselves. We were offered bed and shower at Burton Bradstock by Barbara and Ian.

And so this morning we woke up at 2.30 finished our precooked breakfast, packed and left at 4.30am, With half the stuff packed already it took us only 2 hours! The paddle was calm, the day broke and everything was peaceful. We crossed straight to the Bill, about 15NM. We got there at about 10 am! Made a short stop and continued towards Chesil Beach making another crossing, landing for a short lunch and continuing in deteriorating conditions to Burton.

Barbara and Ian were waiting on a beach giving us encouragements and then waiting again at the place of landing. Unloading and getting to their house was fast and straightforward. We had paddled for 12 hours.

20120416-214616.jpg

20120416-214623.jpg

20120416-215423.jpg

20120416-215433.jpg

20120416-215439.jpg

Jurassic Coast (written on Sunday, unable to upload)

20120416-214231.jpg

Yesterday evening we met with Mark Rainsley and had dinner with him and Heather in their local pub in Corfte Castle. We are also now taking their spare tent pegs on a sea kayak trip. Thank you.
Today started with a sunny and warm morning and the day ahead looked promising. Our plan was to leave early as possible, achieved this 9.30am, and caught the end of the ebbing tide around St Alban’s Head, stopped for lunch at Kimmeridge and continued towards Portland. There we wanted to camp on a beach close to Pensylvania Castle. We had a great paddle with following sea all the way to St Alban’s. There we met a fleet of yachts and had to do yacht dodging as some of them tried to run us over. This was only the beginning.
Once we passed the headland the wind picked up and we had a real struggle to paddle against it. We made it towards Chapman’s pool and continued, but the last five hundred metres before Kimmeridge I thought of getting out and pulling the boat behind me.
In Kimmeridge we reliazed that we had no energy to continue, both of us were also very cold. We called it a day.
Before that we had to make a hard decision of not continuing towards Portland and maybe risking some unfavourable conditions for the next few days, but will worry about that later. Now we need to get some rest and renew our energy levels. After all we have been paddling for 14 days, not living out usual routine, and every morning and evening is hard work to get started or settled.

20120416-214254.jpg

20120416-214310.jpg

Harry’s to Harry’s

We left Bournemouth and decided to cross straight to Old Harry Rocks. On the way we met the fast ferry from Jersey.
I like Old Harry Rocks. In our early kayaking days we came here on a day trip with an instructor. We went from Studland Bay, had lunch in Ballard’s Bay and went back. I thought it was the best place ever. Well, one of many. But I still think that paddle around Old Harry Rocks is one of “the best paddles in the world”.
I liked it yesterday even though I wasn’t alowed to go through the gaps with my heavy loaded boat as Michal claimed there wasn’t enough water. But he doesn’t like it there much.

Photos will follow

Thank you, John

We landed at Bournemouth needing to meet Kerri & Andy to get a new camping matt as ours gave up last night.
We walked across the road towards Harry Ramsden and there was a stranger with two cups of hot chocolate asking for our names and then  giving us the drink and then he said that all food is on John Miller.
We still can’t believe the kindness of a total stranger, we ate and are absolutelly amazed by this.

20120414-154304.jpg