Sea Kayaking Articles from P&H Staff, Team Paddlers, and Friends

Month: July 2010 Page 1 of 2

UK Circumnavigation – Week 10 Update

Week 10 update – GB Sea Kayak Circumnavigation

Since the first main expedition update 5 weeks ago, steady progress has been made up the west coast and along the north coast of Scotland, and the expedition is now heading south down the east coast toward the border with England. There has been a major change in that since mid-june I have been paddling solo again, and will continue to do so for the duration of the expedition.

Week 6

For a few days at the end of May the winds restricted progress around the Mull of Galloway and the Mull of Kintyre. These headlands are notoriously exposed to the winds and strong currents, meaning it was all the more important to approach them when conditions were not too rough. Once up into the Sound of Jura, progress quickened with the shelter from the Inner and Outer Hebrides, coupled with a long period of high pressure; we were also joined by veteran trans-Atlantic rower Nat Spring who paddled with us for a few days before heading off to lead an expedition in South America. Needless to say the passage through the sounds, with the amazing west-coast wildlife and scenery, was breath-taking.

Weeks 7 and 8

After the first week of June, the scheduled support driver was forced to withdraw, meaning that the expedition continued without the support van for two weeks. Joe’s departure from the expedition at roughly the same time meant I was then paddling solo and without any dedicated land support, which increased the importance of making sure the coastguard always knew of my location and ETA. Strong winds struck whilst on the Isle of Skye. In total I was wind-bound for 5 days, though the support from the local community was tremendous – especially from those people who were themselves sea kayakers. The reason for going around the west coast of Skye rather than straight up the east coast, despite the extra miles and the weather being typically rougher, was in order to complete a full circumnavigation – not just of the British mainland, but of all places to which it is posisble to drive. Having previously cycled the length and breadth of Britain, from John O-Groats to Land’s End, and from east coast to west coast, my intention had always been to include Skye in the sea kayak circumnavigation of Britain, becuase of the road bridge at the Kyle of Lochalsh.

After crossing back to the mainland from the northern tip of Skye, progress up the northwest coast was steady, if a little slow. Mileage per day was still reasonable, though paddling solo and without the support van I took a much more cautious approach in order to avoid paddling late into the evenings, especially given the rather erratic weather conditions at the time.
Weeks 9 and 10

The support van returned whilst I was wind-bound in Kinlochbervie, which is the last town before Cape Wrath. Once the winds eased off, there was only one day remaining before neap tides, and I’d wanted to pass through the Pentland Firth on neaps. I then decided to paddle almost continuously for two days, with just 3 hours sleep at Armadale, and covered 92 miles from Kinlochbervie to John O’Groats, with the last few miles through Pentland Firth in thick fog. After rounding Duncansby Head the following day, the long journey south began.

After a single day off in Wick to recover from the long hours over the previous 3 days, I headed south to Helmsdale before crossing the Moray Firth in a single hit. General advice a few months ago whilst planning the trip had been to consider crossing the Moray Firth in two stages via Tarbat Ness, but conditions on the day were reasonable and having been stuck for a few days in bad weather in north-west Scotland I was behind schedule. True, I was round Duncansby Head and heading down the east coast, but there were still 1500 miles to go, and the end of June was fast approaching, so I opted for the 8 hour crossing direct to Lossiemouth from Helmsdale. Steady progress eastwards followed, around Rattray Head and then south past Peterhead and Aberdeen, before bad weather again hit at Montrose.

Words and Images Jame Bonell



Cetus MV Impressions

Took a vacation up to my homeland of Massachusetts last week and got a chance to paddle the Cetus MV a good amount. What an amazing boat it is. My friends at Osprey Sea Kayaks at the head of the Westport River in Westport, MA were kind enough to provide me with a demo MV to paddle for a couple days. A big thanks to Sam and Carl Ladd for the use of the boat and for being and awesome group of people. I urge anyone to check them out if you are in the area.

Cetus MV at Osprey Sea Kayaks

Mango in the Cetus MV

First day I took the boat out of Padanaram Harbor and paddled with fellow P&H enthusiast Brandon “Mango” Gunderson over to New Bedford Harbor. Conditions were pretty flat with about a 10 knt wind blowing. Coming from the LV the MV felt more maneuverable and faster. It was also very clear of an increase in height for my knees to sit in the braces. For my size ( 5’9” about 175 lbs) this boat fit PERFECT! Unbelievably comfortable and paddled like a dream. We took the boat just under 4 miles to New Bedford and was able to compare it to the Scorpio that Brandon was paddling and found it to be MUCH faster. We swapped boats for the way back and as great as the Scorpio is I couldn’t wait to paddle the MV again.

Cetus MV and the Scorpio

The second day I took it out I paddled alone around Sakonnet Point in Rhode Island and played in and around the rocks. There was a gentle 3′ swell but would pick up around some of the submerged rocks just enough to surf the boat. Surfing was the way it should be, a couple strokes to get going and a slight edge to correct. Fast down the wave and buoyant enough not to purl on the steeper ones.

Rocks at Sakonnet Point

Rocks at Sakonnet

Having the boat sit slightly higher in the water allowed me to spin it around on a dime with a good edge and really have a blast in the rocks. Had it been my boat and had a keel strip I would have been more aggressive with it but I had my fun! Planning on paddling from Sakonnet to Newport I changed my mind and stayed around the rocks for 4 hours having a blast. Never have I paddled a boat so much fun yet so refined. The MV will certainly be my next boat and I will be looking forward to tripping in it. Paddle one if you can!

Cetus MV on the rocks

Delphin First Impressions


New P&H Delphin at Folly Beach.

I had the chance to paddle the new P&H Delphin for the first time a couple weeks ago. There is a lot of excitement out there about the Delphin and I know that people are eager to hear how the boat paddles. Here are some initial impressions to hold people over until they have a chance to paddle the Dephin themselves…



Ireland Circumnavigation – The First two weeks

I set off from Portrane beach on the 11th of June with fantastic weather and the company of a good friend David Lonergan.


David and I began paddling together about 10 years ago and it was great to have him there for my first day of the journey. We headed south and I set up camp for the night on Dalkey Island. I awoke the next morning to two fishermen offering me tea and muffins!! A few muffins and an hour of chat later I packed up and began paddling towards Bray and down along the coast to Wicklow town. Waiting here were two friends Fionn and Ciara. Hot shower, lovely dinner and most importantly a comfy bed were all well appreciated! On Friday after a week of heading South my compass started pointing west and I rounded Carnsore Point that afternoon. Next stop was Kilfarrasy beach in Waterford. I pulled up on the beach exhausted after a long day and was still sitting there in my Kayak when a couple came over to chat. As it turned out they were kayaking enthusiasts themselves. They offered to cook me dinner and drop it down to me on the beach, half an hour later they came back with their daughter and invited me back to their house for the night, another well appreciated bed!


After a good night sleep I headed back to the beach and met up with a friend, Bernie, who joined me for the day paddling. We paddled on to Ardmore where we were put up by Ronan O’Connor of Ardmore Adventures.

The next day Ronan surprised me with a spa day, a nice massage and a day of relaxation was just what was called for. Next day I had plenty of company for my day of paddling with Ronan, Bernie and Will joining me as we headed across Whitting bay and towards Cork. So far it’s been a fantastic trip and I’ve met some amazing people.


Baz Coscoran



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