Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jersey Canoe Club

The 9th Jersey Sea Kayak Symposium was a resounding success. Unlike many Symposia round the World, it is run on a voluntary, non profit basis by a local canoe club.

Peter Hargreaves is one of the very many members who gave their time voluntarily either on the water or washing up in the kitchen after the barbeque.

I am paricularly grateful to Kevin and Nicki Mansell, Alan Blampied and Peter Hargreaves.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Les Écréhous, Jersey

Jersey Canoe Club exceled themselves again by organising a trip out to Les Écréhous a reef 10 km off the NE coast of Jersey. The trip involves crossing some of the most tidal waters in the UK. Several groups returned at various ferry angles. The quickest was to cross the main current at 90 degrees then work the way back up the coast in slack water.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Amazingly the wind dropped.

Tour de Rozel, Jersey, Channel Islands.

We left St Catherine's in the NE of Jersey with the wind gusting to force 7 but it was veering rapidly from NE to SE. The water rounding Le Coupe Point was quite rough but once round we had calm seas and were shelteed from the winds all the way to Greve de Lecq. Amazingly Jersey canoe club had managed to lay on another great day despite the winds.

The last day barbecue was held in torrential rains and the local roads were like red rivers. The soil from the recently lifted potato fields was carried towards the sea.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunshine and shade on Jersey

Midday sun at Greve de Lecq, Jersey, Channel Islands

We lost count of the huge caves to the east of the cove.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Corbiere lighthouse, Jersey

Despite strong NE winds Jersey canoe club laid on a superb days sea kayaking on the first day of the symposium.

Corbiere lighthouse on the sheltered SW side of the island was one of the destinations.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Little Greve de Lecq, Jersey

The 9th Jersey Sea Kayak symposium starts tomorrow. It is hosted by the Jersey canoe club.

Jersey has a stunning coastline. This beach can only be reached by boat or by some serious coasteering involving climbing, swimming and caving!


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sweet dreams are made of this.

"Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
Travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody's looking for something"

Imagine the crackle of the fire over the distant low murmur of the Grey Dogs tidal race. The aromatic smell of well seasoned driftwood mingles with the peaty aroma of a Jura malt whisky. In the distance the embers of the dying sun linger behind distant Ben More on Mull. Slowly darkness encroaches and the cobbles on the beach are lit with the flickering light of the fire. Tales of great seakayaking voyages are exchanged in hushed tones until tiredness brings on silent contemplation.

Sea kayaking dreams are made of this and we found and lived them on Scarba.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Dog's Bollocks

Tony prepares the balls!

Then he tossed them into the slavering jowls of the Grey Dogs tidal race....

and they promptly disappeared over the horizon into the sunset.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A camp by the Dogs.

After unloading the kayaks...

We set up camp and climbed the hill behind the beach where we glimpsed tomorrows destination, the Garvellachs on the horizon.

Looking the other way we caught sight of the Grey Dogs tidal race on full flood. That standing wave is about eight feet high.

The tide fair rips through the gap at over 22km/hr.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Seakayaking the west and north coasts of Scarba

Emerging from the Gulf of Corryvreckan we turned northwards. The west coast of Scarba is a wild place. Photo Jennifer Wilcox.

There is almost nowhere to land.

There is a very high raised beach then a cliff falls precipitously to the swell zone below.

The first landing spot is once you round Rhuba nam Faoileann. There is an ancient settlement on the flatter land above the cliffs.

As you continue round the coast you meet the current from the Grey Dogs tidal race to the north of Scarba.

We stopped at caves for a breather.

But we were quite tired at the end of the day. There are no pubs on Jura but we had brought such essentials of sustenance as cans of Guinness and bottles of Jura and Speyside malts.....


Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Gulf of Corryvreckan by sea kayak.

The ebb was still running fast through the Corryvreckan and impeding our westward progress so we stopped for a rest below this old cottage on the SE of Scarba...where we took our second luncheon.

The mist was glowering low on the hills as we entered the Corryvreckan against the last of the ebb. A west wind had picked up and it is always a worry what conditions may lie outside. The transit of the Corryvreckan is about 5km so you will not get the whole way through at slack water, not that there is a great deal of slack anyway!

We made steady progress but we passed the site of the great submarine pinnacle of rock, which extends up from deep within the great rock trench of the Gulf, the waters started moving uneasily and with increasing restlessness. It is a grim place and it fills insignificant kayakers with awe.

Then as we approached the western end, the mist began to clear.

Our mood changed as we saw that outside the Gulf the winds were still light....

...and there was only a moderate swell.

Then we were through but did we have a thirst?


Saturday, May 17, 2008

22.4 km/hr in the Sound of Luing

Leaving Easdale there was not a breath of wind and away from the rocks the swell was just a lazy roll in the ocean.

We were headed down the Sound of Luing with the ebb tide.

Gradually the pace picked up and we fairly whizzed past Belnahua, Fladda (with its lighthouse) and little Ormsa. (Photo Jennifer Wilcox)

At the north end of Lunga the GPS hit 22.4 km/hr and where the tides from the west and the north east of the island converged, there was a very impressive whirlpool about 15m in diameter with a bright green eye

The current only backed off once we were south of the Grey Dogs. (Photo Jennifer Wilcox)

We were soon under the wooded slopes of eastern Scarba and Kilmory Lodge.

In the lee of Scarba all was calm again as the tides died away.

To the south east corner of Scarba from Belnahua is 10 km and we had averaged 12 km/hr. Now, as we turned the corner, we could see the great Gulf of Coryvreckan ahead. We would need to wait till the last of the ebb before we forced a way through.


Friday, May 16, 2008

The flooded quarries of Easdale

We left from the village of Ellenabeich on the island of Seil in the Firth of Lorne.

Mist hung lowout in the Sound of Luing to the south so we thoug w had eter check our maps. We also duoble checked our tide times as we were heading for the fearsome Gulf of Corryvreckan.

A short crossing took us to the island of Easdale. As it was high tide we were able to us the swells to carry us over the lip of the flooded quarry to enter the deep calm water within.

Photo by Jennifer Wilcox showing the surge of the swell.

After a little drift about the mist began to lift and we had a tide to catch!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

U2 can Bono Rock

U2 can Bono Rock in the Sound of Luing, if you have a sea kayak!

But you had better look for it 750m to the NE of where the chart says it is!