The plan was a short paddle starting from Oxwich to Three Cliffs Bay carry on a little further and turn back nothing major just a bit of water time to see how things feel. The weather was warm and sunny, however a quick check with the Met Office for the inshore forecast became the only fly in the ointment of my plan. Force 3 to 4 rising to Force 6 later. I decide to travel to Oxwich and see how it looks, I was a lot later leaving than I had planned but with boat on the roof I was eventually off travelling west down the M4.
As I near Swansea the sky gets considerably overcast and I notice the trees swaying vigorously. I began thinking that obviously 'later' clearly meant 'when I get to the launch point'. But I was wrong, as I clear Swansea and head out onto Gower the sun comes out and the skies turn blue again so much for Force 3 to 4.
Perfect timing, conditions at Oxwich when I arrive, flat calm.
It's very hot with a slight breeze evident. Once I'm sorted I carry my boat to the water, by now I'm absolutely boiling, at this point I'm wearing paddling trousers and a wicking t-shirt. It's very tempting to get going just dressed like this however I decide against it and put my cag on, it starts getting even hotter. I haven't got the luxury of a waterproof camera so before I pack it away I take my last shot before I set off.
Check out the surf, just look at those monsters, only joking, I think even I could manage these on my maiden voyage. By the time the camera is packed I quite literally only paddle a few feet when I notice the colour of the sky has rapidly changed. Out with the camera again....
I carry on paddling towards Oxwich point. The wind is blowing form my left coming from my 10 o'clock. I keep an eye on the storm hoping that it is travelling down the channel and not in my direction. About halfway to the point I notice the sky has got even darker and appears to be heading in my direction. I decide to turn around and head back closer to shore and maybe see if I can make Three Cliffs Bay. My boat wants to trim to the wind and I have difficulty turning it through the wind. At about this time there is a considerable drop in air temperature, the wind increases and starts being a bit pushy, things start to get uncomfortable. The sea changes colour and becomes noticeably bumpy, I am so grateful that I had put my cag on. I manage to turn the boat past the wind but through edging I've paddled an extended ark that's taken me further out into in the bay. I decide to start making my way closer to shore, the wind changes direction and is now coming from my left at about 7 o'clock. My boat starts to pick up the waves and rockets off racing them at the slightest opportunity. A bit scary at first but the Quest surfs, it surfs well, it's secondary stability is also good and provides a good bit of support, which clearly I needed otherwise it would have been swim time. White horse's appear on the surface beside me and it begins raining heavily,within a short time the shore is at hand. Out with camera.
The weather looks as if its going to clear from the west....
As I get out on the beach the sun comes out and everything returns to how it was when I began..
Many lessons were learnt today on this short trip, one of which was that 'later' as in Force 6 later, really meant 'when I get to the most exposed point of the trip' (I'm not sure if it was a 6, probably not, but that's not the point, the message was received loud and clear though)
Anyway off to the Dr's now to get the grin surgically removed.
(Please note that I have since discovered that Oxwich Point is not the best place to go as a beginner, there lies a small tiderace at the headland. A sit on top fisherman I was speaking to in the car park told me of it, his advice, 'avoid'.