Saturday, March 04, 2017

Blowing the Cobwebs Away

The team of Manchester Canoe Club sea kayak leaders has been on Anglesey riding winter waves, practicing rescues and brushing up on navigation.

The choppy waters of Trearddur Bay looked challenging. The force 5 wind was onshore giving us the required safety net. If anything went badly wrong, we would just be washed ashore. There are numerous coves for shelter as well as treacherous jagged reefs that must be avoided at all costs! We started by working our way gradually to the eastern edge of the bay. This brought us to Raven’s point where the swell was reaching close to 3 metres. With some of these waves beginning to break we didn’t stay for long.

After lunch we indulged in some incident management in amongst the reefs. The increasing wind made rigging towlines difficult, but the experience will be worthwhile in the long run. The same goes for the various deep-water rescues and rolling puzzles we set about.

After tea and cakes at the Anglesey OutdoorCentre we set off for The Menai Straits. The shelter of the northern section was perfect for an introduction to night navigation. Each leader took it in turn to manage the group and navigate by compass bearing, timing and map reading. The exercise went well and we were back at the centre in time for food and beer in The Paddlers Return Bar.

The objective on Sunday was to reach ‘The Skerries’ which is a group of small rocky islands off the north west point of Anglesey. There are strong tidal streams here and timing is crucial. On this occasion, it meant getting out of bed at 6.30am! There was barely enough time to have a brew and a biscuit before driving to Cemlyn Bay and getting on the water soon after 8am. A chilly breeze, swirling mists and howling grey seals greeted our arrival. The Skerries fog horn sounded as we finished our breakfast. As the fog closed in, we found our navigation skills all in order for the return journey.

We look forward to the program of trips and events in the Manchester Canoe Club sea kayaking calendar for the coming year. Come and join us.