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 Justine's Journal

CackleTV Productions


Fun with Friends
Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Two of my favourite people in the world have just been visiting the UK, and I've managed to catch up with them inbetween them doing their Level 5 coach training. Shawna Franklin and Leon Sommes are such fun, enthusiastic, happy people that I find myself smiling just to be with them. Apart from the fun evenings catching up in bars, Indian restaurants and houses, we managed to get on the water twice, with the lovely Axel Schoevers from the Netherlands. On Saturday we went to Puffin Island to see the seals and have a bit of a surf in the tidal race. A seal tried to eat my toggle on my tigerskin boat, before putting it's head onto my paddle!

Yesterday Tara joined us and we intended to go to Penrhyn Mawr tidal race. We got distracted surfing the 3-5foot waves on Portdafarch Beach for 45minutes, and were already uncertain about tackling the infamous tidal race in the large swell and the force 4/5 wind. As we approached the headland where we can see Penrhyn Mawr, the waves reached several metres high and although they mosly didn't break, it was exhilerating, and occasionally unnerving, to be pointing nearly vertically uphill then nearly vertically downhill! When we were on the top of a crest we occassionally got a glimpse of Penrhyn Mawr. It was impossible to judge the conditions perfectly but there was alot of white water and we decided to take the safer option and surf the swell in the opposite direction to Trearrdur Bay. It was a beautiful day with moody clouds and plenty of salt spray and just fun to be on the water with friends. I love big swells for making you feel so alive. We had some lunch at Trearrdur Bay and another surf in the beach break, before heading back to Porthdafarch against the wind. What a lovely day on the water! Leon was wearing my leopard skin explorer and it was great to see him in it (although Igot a bit confused at times since I am usually in it!). Thanks to Axel for the photos!

Family Birthday
Sunday, October 22, 2006

My sister and I are in Jersey for my mothers 60th birthday celebrations. All I've done for 3 days is eat and talk (OK, and drink) - I can't complain really; as my wise friend Tom once said 'Eating is a pleasure you can have 3 times a day every day - why deny yourself'! However, I better not do that every weekend!

Just to prove that I'm not always in gortex, here are 2 photos of our 2 evenings out - showing me with my parents and my sister Holly. I did manage to meet up with seapaddlers Kevin and Nicky Mansell for breakfast at Plemont beach this morning and enviously watched clean lines of 5foot surf crashing down onto the beach - not a surfer in sight. I do have a surfboard and a shorty wetsuit in Jersey, but I have more food to eat at my parent's house and a 3pm flight home, so the surf will have to keep crashing onto the sand, without breaking over my head on the way! Maybe Wales tomorrow.....???

Happy to be alive
Monday, October 16, 2006

Don't you love those times where nothing is important except enjoying the here and now. Sunday was one of those special days for me when I forgot all obligaitons and worries and just immersed myself in the natural world. Alun, Barry, Greer & I went around 'the Stacks' again on another glorious warm day. The highlight has got to be surfing a wave in the South Stack outer race with 4 dolphins (and Barry) besides me on the same wave. I'm sure Barry won't be offended that I rate sharing a wave with dolphins slightly higher than surfing with him! We saw the dolphins enjoy 2 surfs in the waves before turning and heading north, leaving us with slightly empty-feeling waves. We also saw lots of porpoises feeding off South Stack lighthouse and lots of seals and seal pups. We planned to land in Parliament House Cave by North Stack for lunch but a mother and baby seal were already on that beach so we had to turn back unfed and put up with the tummy rumbles until we could find a shingly beach that was unoccupied. This proved difficult as the next beach we came to also had a mother and pup on it.

Falls of Lora by seakayak
Monday, October 09, 2006


What a great few days - and what a feature the Falls of Lora is!

Alun and I have been to the West Coast of Scotland to film some awesome paddlers playing on 2 infamous tidal races - the pretty and relatively friendly Grey Dogs and the mighty munching Falls of Lora. It was exciting to be part of the procession of vans loaded with shiny seakayaks darting from fantastic paddling location to local pub to scary, amazing paddling location to another friendly pub.... and so it went on....

I have a brand new boat - continuing on the 'big cat' theme! I'm really pleased with her and very grateful to Scott in the NDK factory for doing such a good paint job! I wanted a shorter boat than my Explorer so it would be easier to maneouver and surf in the tidal races and sure enough, my new Romany looked after me!


The Falls of Lora in particular impressed me. It's a tidal rapid which flows under the bridge of Connel. On the ebb, the seawater in Loch Etive pours out through the narrows over shallow ledges and provides some very swirly water, some nasty churning boils and some great surfing waves. It's more like a river than the tidal races I am used to, with sharper eddy lines and sucking whirlpools. I was glad to be in a buoyant seakayak ( rather than a small playboat)! Alun and Webby ( from Rockpool) filmed from the bridge and I filmed a bit from the water.


Watch out for some great footage in 'This is the Sea 3', due out 31st March 2007. You heard it here first!

We finished off by joining in with the first UK Storm Gathering symposium on Mull. The organiser Mark Tozer managed to provide the promised storms but no-one seemed to mind as the atmosphere at the event was great. Mull is a really dramatic island and I'll definately return there sometime.


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