Paddlers: M.M. and Fraser
Report by M.M:
We didn’t have to travel far to get some rough water as the wind was blowing from the south west at about F3-F4 around the East Patch, so we headed out from Helensburgh pier a couple of hours before HW. The idea was to mess about in the waves and clapotis coming off the sea walls, however it didn’t amount to much as we decided to head for Rosneath Patch and see what it was like over there.
It took about and hour to get there, directly into the prevailing wind and incoming tide. The wind seemed to be coming from a few directions during the trip,which resulted in waves coming from all sides. This may account for the smallish waves for the wind conditions. It did appear that the tide had turned early just off Rosneath point and at the Patch IDM mark, where there were 1ft breaking standing waves. The light was fading fast as we headed back, getting lots of small waves to speed us along, with the odd section burying the nose of our boats and providing long surfs. The best section was just off Rosneath point where the waves were breaking and maybe reached 2ft. But we didn’t have time to stay as it was dark by then and we had a shipping lane to get through.
All in all it was good fun and we got back to the pier at 1630 after a good couple of hours paddle. We didn’t do any rescue practice due to the light, but I did have a roll in during a rough section and was reminded of the difference between rolling in the pool and on open water with full kit on – basically due to the air in my dry suit and flotation in my buoyancy aid it was very tricky to do a full roll. I ended up having to roll on my left side instead of right as I could not get all the way round.
One strange thing that happened during the trip was that Fraser heard talk on the VHF ch12 (Estuary control) referring to two sea kayaks. He could not hear the full conversation due to the wind. The worry was that a concerned member of the public had see our cars with kayak racks and thought we were in trouble as it was dark and a bit windy. Just to make sure we hadn’t caused an international incident we contacted Estuary control when ashore, but they said it was not them. We also called Belfast Coast Guard who also said they had not heard anything, so a bit of a mystery. In future I will make sure that I contact the CG prior to going out if it’s likely I’ll be out after dark.