Monday, 27 June 2016

Two months and counting!

It's been a an incredible few weeks (okay, month and a half) since the last full update. There's a ton of organising ongoing...and with exactly two months to go until the start of the trip, everything seems to be coming together - phew!  

Training has been top of the agenda and it was kicked up a notch at the start of the month with a five-day sea kayaking course at Sea Kayaking Anglesey.

Encompassing large chunks of Anglesey, we got into some serious learning. Including self-rescues, edging into and out of flows, using transit points, towing, caving and rock hopping. The latter relies on good timing and is better still with a seal or three spectating. 

We also learnt another use for the term 'crux', why you shouldn't ruin yourself before you reach it, and that a kayak can be jackknifed. 

We spent time on the Strait, in the Skerries, ferry-gliding through Penrhyn Mawr and chasing the flow (and a couple of actual ferries) from North to South Stack. All of which where beyond spectacular in the glistening sunshine.

Anglesey is a beautiful part of the world. Even more so when viewed from the cockpit of a kayak.

The Stacks threw up some gems
We also took a trip to Porthcawl to test full-carbon crank paddles for the first time with Gus from Escape Watersports - without whom, we would be boatless. It was a good chance too for scoping out the landing spot for stage 11 of the trip, when we arrive from Rhossili and land on the same bit of beach on the 8th of September! 

Barks of encouragement are always welcome
The search for support boats (kayakers, sailors and even coracle-owners) to join us on each of the 13 legs of the trip has been the main focus of the last few weeks, aside from training. Thanks in no small part to some great support from our club - Croesyceiliog - and sister clubs in Pembroke Dock and Carmarthen, our home town. We have also had a fantastic response from other kayakers and sailing clubs in our quest for people to join us along the way, thank you everyone!

The folks at Croesy have also been helping us plan the finer detail of the trip's route - map coming soon - and we'll be looking at tide windows with Phil and Stuart at Sea Kayaking Anglesey when we spend two days there next week. Also on the agenda is practicing rescues in the tandem. Just in case, you know...  

Stay tuned!

Ben and Tom

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Sunday, 26 June 2016

To the Taff, for Paddle Out Loud

What an epic weekend it's been! With the clock ticking on the launch date for the trip, we were lucky enough to get out on the the rivers of Cardiff with a cracking crew of fellow paddlers for Paddle Out Loud. 

The day's paddle was organised by Dani Robertson from the Wave Project, helping kids become more self-confident through surfing. 

Starting at Sofia Gardens, we made our merry way down the Taff and then into the Bay for a colourful trip with a sombrero-wearing paddle-boarder called Rusty and a stuffed turtle. Not forgetting of course Bethany (occasionally on tow), Laura (occasionally in the rather murky Taff) and Rhys (often upside down). 

Here's a snapshot...

Rusty, Laura, Bethany and Tom

Mexican stand on/off

Rhys seeing things from another perspective

We'll definitely be back next year and hope to see them all again soon!
Stay tuned!

Ben and Tom    

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