Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Puffin Island Triangle

Some time ago I formulated a plan for a trip that, in essence, is situated in my own back yard. There is every likelihood it has been done before but for the sake of providing a title for this article I will refer to it as the Puffin Island Triangle. The principle idea being that the journey involves completing three open crossing of similar length as well as appealing to my sense of geometry. 

The route currently begins and finishes at the Penmaenmawr Sailing Club, which can be found on the promenade just off the A55. The first leg goes out to Puffin Island. From there the crossing goes to the Great Orme and finally returning to the sailing club. Each leg of the journey is approximately 9kms. It was not intended as a lone challenge, or a race even, more as a interesting day out with friends. However, so far circumstances have dictated that my good friend, Ali Othen, has completed the Triangle in 4 hours and 5 mins, going solo on a well planned Spring tide, whilst I did it in 4 hours 45 mins on Neaps with a SE 4 - 5 as hindrance! Anyone with astute seamanship skills can no doubt plan the route in such a way to maximise the ebb and flood for greater efficiency as well as pick out suitable variations in direction and launching points.

The common question people ask, who perhaps do not share the same deep love of sea kayaking, is 'why?'. Funnily enough, I was asking myself the same thing as I struggled with every paddle stroke on the Puffin to Orme section as the wind worked hard to defeat me. On reflection, it becomes a test of resilience as I'm not a huge fan of open crossings, probably because I get bored and when paddling alone I get lost in my thoughts which is not always a good thing. Company is often much preferred, even if it is just a few words ever so often to break the spell of introspection. Nonetheless, resilient one must be to complete whatever journey you have set out to do.

Any such undertaking requires the paddler to feel confident in and comfortable with their sea kayaking equipment. As ever, I employed my trusty Tiderace Xcite for the job, along with using Mitchell paddles. I was protected from the elements by my Kokatat TecTour Anorak, wearing an Inner Core top underneath and my buoyancy aid of choice was the Ronin, which is rapidly becoming a favourite. So all in all a good test of body, mind and boat with the luxury of knowing a hot bath afterwards was only a short drive away :o)

More pictures of the trip can be found here

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