Saturday, 21 July 2012

Around the Gower

The previous late night catching up with friends at the South Wales Caving Club meant a slower start than ideal for the trip. High water at Penclawdd was around 08:00 which is when we arrived. The idea of setting up the car shuttle is ditched in favour of getting on the water. The tide moves quick here and soon it will be extensive mud and sand  - we'll somehow get back to the start!

Lou sorting boats

Tim looking forward to the days adventure

The day is idyllic. Little wind, low tides and really good weather - a real treat after weeks of gloom and rain. We set off through the channel in the salt marsh on mirror waters. Around us a wealth of wild life. Little egrets hog the banks and lines of curlew skim the water in front of us as they cross the Loughor estuary.
On the estuary

Glass like sea

The dropping tides pulls us steadily along as we cruise towards the distant disused lighthouse at Whiteford Point. Once round the point the waters turn from the estuarine silt laden waters to crystal clear. We make a comfort stop, and soon after stop at a small beach by Burry Holmes to eat and savour the day.
Whiteford Point lighthouse

Comfort break!

Slightly bouncy waters are encountered around Burry Holme which is about as lively as the sea got today. Once around the island we are greeted with a fine view of Worms Head some 6km straight across the bay. A good steady paddle with a seal for company and we're fairly soon paddling along the northern side of the headland.
Keen SUP boarder off Burry Holmes

The superb Worms Head coming into view

Here lives a colony of seals. Unfortunately some senseless fishermen on a motorboat get too close and the seals start disappearing and it looks as though a close encounter with any seals is out. However as we moved away from the other boats in the area the seals started to appear all around. At one point a seal was happily watching Tim whilst still on the sea bed whilst Tim watched the seal from his boat! The two seemed to happily admire each other for some time.

We quietly round the head and into the mass of fishing boats that hang off the point here. Meanwhile we spend some time happily watching the manx shearwaters effortless skim the water between our boats on a glassy sea - very magical.
Leaving Worms Head

Compass Jellyfish

We quietly paddle on enjoying the day and the changing scenery of the Gower coast passing the various classic climbing spots found along the coast here and reminding ourselves of past days climbing these cliffs. More wildlife is spotted including a small group of the enigmatic Choughs that live on the cliffs here.

Another food stop in a small and beautiful day and its to the final destination of Port Eynon after almost 40km of paddling. Here we get the boats up the beach, get changed and find a taxi to get us back to the cars. It all works out extremely well! And what a fabulous day.

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