Archive for November, 2008

Winter paddlers

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

The new scheduled winter paddling from Dartmouth is attracting a hardy group. Today we enjoyed a sensuous but un-threatening swell, a still warm sun shining through clear air, and a spring low  tide which turned conveniently for our return to the harbour steps.

low water (large)

tim P

Autumn colour on the Dart

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

autumn colour on the Dart

The heavy green walls of the summer Dart are becoming more transparent, so the bones of the landscape show through.

A kayaker has to learn the ways of the tidal Dart, or much energy is wasted. The furthest band of blue disturbed water is the flood tide, with waves whipped up by the wind blowing against it.

Sharpham wood

Another useful indicator, particularly at this season, is the fallen leaves which accumulate at the edges of eddies. Here the paddler is enjoying the flood stream but close by is the dense shining mass of leaves collected in lines where the flood meets the backward flowing eddies. With occasional strenuous crossing of the main stream it is easy to travel against the tide.

Tide mill dam at Stoke Gabriel

The tidal range is about 4.5 m at Dartmouth and 3 m at Totnes. This is the tide mill dam at Stoke Gabriel, about half way down the tidal estuary. It’s a shame it is not used to make electricity. The mill pond is popular with model boat enthusiasts.

Oyster beds

An industry that still thrives on the tidal range is cultivating oysters, here resting until the tide returns to Dittisham.

Sharpham house

The tides bring the temperate water of the English channel far inland and give the mild climate that suits the vineyard at Sharpham.

tim P

A wet kiss

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

It’s definitely winter now. The floating jetty has been towed away from the yacht club, so we have to launch and land at the steps, just when the water is likely to be choppy, which it was today, with squalls and showers. The grey seal bull has somehow hauled out onto a pontoon while the paler female is bobbing in the water beside him.  tim P
seal pair