BIG SKY

Blasted away a few wintry cobwebs with a twelve mile circuit of Penzance Bay around St.Michael’s Mount and for a nose into bustling Newlyn docks.Actually it wasn’t bustling at all because it was dawn on a Sunday in the middle of winter, but the two words ‘bustling’ and ‘docks’ go hand in hand and I don’t want to mess things up.I launched from the slipway in Penzance harbour and cunningly arrived at the Mount as the sun peeped up:

St Michael's Daybreak

I’m definitely a sunrise person as opposed to a sunset one. No idea why. Also I can’t explain why I suddenly noticed the sky today. I’m sure it’s been there in all the other kayaking trips I’ve done but more as a sort of backdrop. Today it was right there in my face all the time.

Bit of sky with nice coloured bits in

Oh, of course, I know why. St. Ives is only just over the hill and the arty types there are forever going on about how special the light and sky is over there. I reckon that their bit of sky has just nipped down here for a day out and after doing all sorts of fancy stuff like spectacular sunrises and rainbows, it might have a bit of a sulk and go all thundery…….

Moody Michael

before cheering right up and then going back to St. Ives leaving a more typical and less intrusive skyscape overhead and allowing me to keep my eyes at sea level and do a bit of bird spotting.There’s supposed to be a rare Pacific diver offshore at Marazion but although I passed six or seven Divers (loons) I only got close enough to identify a couple as Great-Northern Divers (Common Loons). Rather depressingly one seemed to have some fishing line caught in its beak.

Common Loons

I was shadowed out of Newlyn by a beam trawler setting off to pulverise a few more acres of seabed. It was old and rusty and spooky.

Newlyn Beamer

Loads of my favourite Purple Sandpipers snoozing on the wave-splashed rocks at the Jubilee pool at Penzance. Had to jostle for position on the slipway amongst a horde of gig-boats.

Excellent paddle for mid-winter…..makes a change from cowering up a creek.

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Kayak Fishing South Devon and Dorset

SEA KAYAKING CHARMOUTH-SEATON 19NOV 2008

This was my first kayaking trip to the Jurassic coast but the only dinosaur I glimpsed all day was way before dawn in the bathroom mirror.

I was lucky with my choice of day-light NW wind, no swell and blue sky.The sun was about to rise over the distant Portland Bill as I set off.

I trolled my two favourite lures as I paddled- a ‘GULP’ sandeel on one side and mini jointed Rapala plug on the other. However fishing was going to be tricky as the mudstone cliffs made the sea close to the shore quite cloudy.

Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis

No sign of the French Lieutenant or his woman as I passed the Cobb at Lyme Regis but I caught a small mackerel……

Probably my last mackerel of the year
Probably my last mackerel of the year

…….and was pretty thrilled to see a little party of one of my favourite wading birds, Purple Sandpipers, roosting on the giant rocks of the pier. They are winter visitors from the arctic and you only see them on exposed rocky shorelines.

Purple Sandpipers
Purple Sandpipers

I was pleasantly pleased with the scenery after Lyme heavily wooded cliff and no sign of human existence at all. Apart from a couple of gill-nets close to the shore. These really irritate me as not only do they rather unskillfully catch all fish but also any unsuspecting diving birds. Aren’t they illegal?

My irritation was alleviated by catching my first bass of the day on my miniplug (small and put back) shortly followed by my only Twaite’s Shad of the year on the sandeel.Although I kept it out of the water only long enough to take a photograph I think at least half its scales fell off and it didn’t swim off too speedily.

Twaites shad
Twaites shad

As I stripped down to my (thermal) t-shirt I could hardly believe it was mid November-it was my ‘hottest’ paddle since June.I found a suitably Mediterranean style beach for my breakfast break which was totally deserted.

Breakfast beach
Breakfast beach

On the approach to Seaton I caught a hard fighting bass on the miniplug close to the shore.

Seaton Bass
Seaton Bass

No problem with bass staying alive long enough to be put back even though getting hooks out of their mouths without being speared by their fins or lacerated by their gill covers takes time. 

I had to pile on the power for the ten mile paddle back to Charmouth or I would be late for an appointment- so my excuse for not catching any fish on the home leg is that the lures were being zipped through the water at such a speed that they might not draw the attention of predators looking for an injured or disabled baitfish.

The sweat in my eyes meant I was barely able to appreciate the vista either.

Humble point
Humble point