21st Anglesey Sea Kayak Symposium

With 140+ people from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, United States and Wales this is truly an international affair.

It's out... The first ever action sea kayak video: "This is the Sea" by Justine Curgenven. Symposium participants got the first view of the finished product. It is available world-wide! A must see!

Saturday 1 May 2004 (Incident Management)
CG 24hr: NE-4/5 locally increasing 6 for a time; sea state: slight/moderate.
HW: 08:21; LW: 14:39

Aled Williams does not have to look far for a suitable area for rough water rescues. The rocks off the breakwater near Soldier's Point are ideal. With a dry suit he is the perfect 'swimmer'. While North Stack race was "as flat as a pancake" last week, today it is confusing rough. Waves run into the, on other occasions safe, eddy. Aled even aborts getting ashore at his favourite lunch spot because of swell surges. In the evening Shawna Franklin and Leon Sommé give a lively and very entertaining lecture on their 2003 circumnavigation of Iceland with Chris Duff.

Sunday 2 May (Tidal races and Overfalls)
CG 24hr: Variable 2/3 becoming SW-3/4 veering NW-4/5; sea state: slight/moderate.
HW: 09:18; LW:15:32

Again a very confused North Stack race. Peter Jones runs the "Tidal Races and Overfalls" session. Ideal for getting some rough water experience. South Stack race today is ideal for surfing against the current. By ferry gliding upstream, we just make it back behind the island and get through the gap of South Stack. Pete Bray gives a lecture on his 2003 circumnavigation of Newfoundland. And the book on his 2000/2001 Atlantic crossing: "Kayak across the Atlantic" is now available.

Monday 3 May (Coast Guard rescue demonstration & Penrhyn Mawr)
CG 24hr: NW-4/5 backing S/SW-6/7 veering W/SW later; sea state slight/moderate becoming rough.
HW: 09:48; LW: 16:04

A small 'epic' enfolds while I am unexpectedly assisting Simon at holding an 'abandoned' sea kayak while the rescue helicopter is overhead picking up the swimmer. I loose my paddle while our raft is quickly blown away. Not totally sure that the nearby paddlers would have picked it up I have an agonizing time on the water thereafter. Angry on myself: not to let go of my paddle ever again. OK I can use my spare paddle for real, but will I see my paddle back again? Back on shore nobody has seen my paddle. Simon jokes that it has been found by the coast guard at Trearddur Bay, a few miles to the south. At that moment I could not appreciate that joke. Chris returned my paddle a few moments later; thanks. In the evening there is an ad-hoc decision to go for a paddle at Penrhyn Mawr. It is big and fun! I surf until almost all my energy has drained. But than we still have to go back through the so called 'Chicken Run'. The current is very swift. I have a go at 110%, nearly make it, but my efforts are in vain. Moments later I see Dale use a tiny eddy that I had failed to notice. By now I am exhausted and do not see me making it. This is reinforced by seeing strong paddlers struggle very, very hard. Instead of waiting for at least half an hour to regain some strength and/or the current to slacken a bit, I decide to walk over the small island. I swallow my pride. Walking the 'Chicken Run' is a major 'embarrassment'. But the only physical damage remaining will be some scratches on the hull from the barnacles. Anyone can call me 'chicken' now; I can live with that. An almost perfect day at Penrhyn Mawr. Still room for improvement.

Tuesday 4 May (BCU courses)
CG 24hr: SW veering NW-5/7 decreasing 4 for a time in north; sea state: rough/moderate.
HW: 10:38 LW: 16:45

Wednesday 5 May (BCU courses)
CG 24hr: NW-5/6 decreasing 4 in north; sea state: moderate/rough becoming slight.
HW: 11:13; LW: 17:27; Springs

Thursday 6 May (BCU courses)
CG 24hr: NW-5/6 backing SW-4/5 becoming Variable 3 later; sea state: slight.
HW: 11:57; LW: 18:11

Friday 7 May (BCU courses)
CG 24hr: Variable 2/3 increasing NW-3/4 occasionally 5 later; sea state: slight/moderate.
HW: 12:44; LW: 18:57

Saturday 8 May (BCU courses)
CG 24hr: NW-3/4 locally 5 at first; sea state: slight/moderate.
HW: 13:41; HW: 19:47

Sunday 9 May (Penrhyn Mawr)
CG 24hr: N.NW-2/4; mist patches possible later; sea state: slight.
LW: 08:18; HW: 14:38

A wonderful last day on the water. Penrhyn Mawr is running very fast and confusing. Very difficult to surf. We practice x-rescues. There is a 'stopper' wave right next to the small island. Greg and Aled are most skillful in playing in the stopper wave; experience in river paddling pays off here. I have two great rides and feel the hull of my sea kayak hit the submerged front rock every now and then. Thanks Rowland for taking great pictures from the rock! Today I 'skillfully' navigate through the 'Chicken Run'. That is, today I take the leftmost channel, resting in eddies along the way.


- Sea Kayaking UK

- Cackle TV Productions (Justine Curgenven)

- Home Page (Johathan Walpole)

- Iceland expedition (Shawna Franklin, Leon Sommé & Chris Duff)

- DVD "This is the Sea" (Available in the Netherlands)

© A.M. Schoevers