Surf Ski Paddle to Aberdovey in the Dark
Winter, working 9-5 and wanting to get out and surf ski paddle just don’t sit well together. It’s barely light on the way to work, it’s dark by the time we get home so getting out on my surf ski during daylight hours is a challenge. Undeterred and with an opportunity to leave for work at around 8:15am on Friday rather than 7:45am I decided to try to fit in a surf ski session before leaving.
I was up early as usual but it was still completely black outside. I did some chores and then decided to head over to the beach anyway. Hopefully my eyes would adjust to the darkness and things would start brightening up soon. It was about 6:40 when I headed outside to start getting ready in the dark. Sunrise was due at 7:41 but there was a glimmer of light on the eastern horizon – more a glimmer of ‘non-dark’ than a glimmer of ‘light’ really, but the planet was in motion and the sun would soon be heading our way.
It was pretty chilly too. The 0.5°C air temperature meant that the locks on the shed and my ski were frozen and there was a thin covering of frost on the surf ski too. My 3/2mm wetsuit suddenly felt like too little insulation but I’d soon warm up once I got paddling. I made my way across to the beach by torchlight but turned it off halfway there to give my eyes time to adjust to the darkness. There was a small amount of light around by now so I decided to just get straight on the water. From what little I could make out the sea looked fairly calm with a small 1 foot swell and a light offshore wind. What I had failed to account for was the fact that it was high tide so I would have to launch from the pebbles. This isn’t too difficult in small well but isn’t as easy as launching from the sand, the lack of light wouldn’t help either. I managed OK though, didn’t get wet above my waist and was soon punching my way out through the small waves.
Surf Ski Paddle to Aberdovey
I didn’t really have a plan so once out beyond the waves I turned north and headed towards Aberdovey. It was difficult to tell how far from the shore I was in the half-light but the bright lights of Aberdovey could be seen in the distance so I just headed towards them. The sea was calm and the rolling swell was easy to contend with. As I made my way into the mouth of the estuary I could see the flashing green light of one of the navigational buoys so I headed for that. The offshore wind was picking up a bit here as it funnelled down through the Dyfi Valley so I headed directly into it for a bit. It was getting quite choppy too but I continued on my way towards Aberdovey.
Eventually as I reached the far side of the estuary the waters calmed and I had a pleasant, completely silent, paddle along the shore. I didn’t have loads of time though so I was soon crossing the choppy waters of the mouth of the estuary again. It was a bit lighter by now so I could make out the marker pole on the point and the waves breaking on the shore further along the beach. I made my way back out of the estuary and along the shoreline back to where I started and was back off the water before the sun rose above the horizon.
I was treated to a fiery red sunrise as I walked back across the golf course. I’d had a fun 45 minute surf ski paddle on the water. Not much in the way of training as it was all fairly easy but it’s all good practise and was good fun too. The perfect way to start a Friday morning in November before heading off to work.