Risso’s Dolphin’s off Porth Iago, Llŷn Peninsula – 27-28 August, 2016

The first day paddling with seabeyondisability’s Ben Bostock and Tom Clark down the Llŷn Peninsula was a great experience. The highlight of the day was approaching Porth Iago and our destination of Porth Or (Whistling Sands).

A video link to the Llŷn Penisula’s Risso’s Dolphin’s taken from Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s Youtube channel.

We rounded the headland with the daylight soon fading at 7:30 pm to find some huge animals in the water in front of us. Moving very slowly they broke the water only to breathe noisily. My initial impression was that they were some kind of whales. Then the long curving dorsal fins made me think of orca. Finally, when the whiteness on their bodies became evident I thought of the Risso’s Dolphin. This was confirmed a little later when two breached the water, revealing the lack of a bottlenose and extensive whiteness. The animals split, at least two large (the breachers) swimming West and a calf and adult into the bay. We were careful not to pursue the animals once we’d stumbled upon them and were very content to watch them move off.

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Ben Bostock and Tom Clark paddling almost the entire north coast of the Llŷn Peninsula in a day

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Anglesey Circumnavigation Mini Expedition Sept/Oct 2016

The circumnavigation of Anglesey is a fantastic 120 km seafaring challenge. The kayaking time record for this trip is 9 hours and 24 minutes and was set in 2014 by John Willacy. Most people attempting this trip allow around 4 days to complete the expedition at a more leisurely pace.

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This expedition combines impressive scenery, exposed coastline, tide races, wildlife, open crossings, and fast-flowing Menai Straits into one unique kayaking experience. Our camping sites will be in some of the most stunning wild coastal locations. This is the ultimate short multi-day circumnavigation, a sea kayaking challenge that never fails to inspire!

September 30 – October 4

Price

  • £490 including kayak and other equipment
  • £350 not including equipment

Previous paddling experience required

Environmental Condition Definitions

British Canoeing Environmental Condition Definitions

Sheltered Tidal Water/Sea

Small enclosed bays, enclosed harbours, where there is minimal possibility of being blown offshore; defined beaches (a short section of beach with easy landing throughout, no tide races or overfalls beyond the beach), in conditions in which swimmers and beach craft could be happily operating winds not above Beaufort force 3 (Beaufort force 2 if offshore when greatest of caution must be exercised); the upper reaches of some suitable, slow moving estuaries during neap tides. In all cases the wind and weather conditions must be favourable.

Moderate Tidal Water/Sea

A stretch of coastline with available landings every one to two miles or one hour paddling, including areas where it is not easy to land. Crossings not exceeding two nautical miles. Up to 2 knots of tide (but not involving tide races or overfalls). Winds not exceeding Beaufort force 4 . Launching and landing through surf (up to 1 metre, trough to crest height).

Advanced Tidal Water/Sea

Any journey on the sea where tidal races, overfalls or open crossings may be encountered, which cannot be avoided; sections of coastline where landings may not be possible or difficult; difficult sea states and/or stronger winds (Beaufort force 4 or above); launching and landing through surf (up to 1.5 metres trough to crest height).

The Delphin MKII 155 Corelite X at Penrhyn Mawr and the Stacks

Stacks map

29 July  Porthdafarch – South Stack, via Penrhyn Mawr, with Ed Loffill

2 August  Soldiers Point – South Stack, via North Stack with Ed Loffill and Justine Curgenven

Sea kayak sailing/surfing at Penrhyn Mawr

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Sea kayak sailing/surfing at South Stack

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The sail was taken down for surfing steeper waves at South Stack

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The sail back up to surf closely past South Stack’s headland

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Beam reach sailing back to Porthdafarch

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South Stack with Ed and Justine 

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South Stack Surf

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The Delphin MKII Corelite X

The biggest improvement I found in the Delphin MKII Corelite X is the extra speed and responsiveness it has in surf. This is thanks largely to the greater stiffness in the plastic construction. The cockpit has also been improved to provide better comfort and connectivity.  The day hatch is a welcome addition, as are the sailing fittings.  In summary, the Delphin MKII Corelite X has all of the great features of the original Delphin but with some very useful additions/refinements and stiffer plastic for even more fun surfing.

Sea Kayak Sailing in Tideraces

It is a bit of a balance whether/or not to deploy the sail in a tiderace. When the waves are not particularly steep the addition of a sail makes catching waves far easier, increasing the number of surfable waves and the length of the runs. At some point the balance between fun and fear will probably tip towards fear, or at the very least uncomfortableness. It is now time to take the sail down as the surf has steepened up and you probably don’t need any more help catching the waves.

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