Back on the Yack
It was great to be back on the kayak again recently. It’s been far too long (work-based excuses are too abundant as to why I’ve not been out more recently – so I’m changing jobs ) but a good run of weather gave me the conditions I needed to head out to some of Torbay’s finer in-shore reefs.
You may or may not know that my trusty kayak is of indeterminate age. I’ve had it for over a decade and it was pre-owned then. Ocean Kayak haven’t made this model for over 15 years so it’s at least that old… just still going string and (IMHO) it’s design has yet to be improved upon by anyone. It is the perfect size/balance for snorkelling & diving off. For reference it’s an Ocean Kayak Scrambler XT… but I think this variant was made specifically for the NewZealand market because all the US/UK version I’ve seen are distinctly different.
So I headed out early in the morning from Meadfoot. With just a few SUP Yoga enthusuasts for company it was a flat-calm start to the day. I wanted to snorkel on the Magwintons, Shag Rock Reef and the Morris Rogue. Perfectly do-able from the kayak armed with a snorkel and camera
The Magwintons are a pair of rocks that are exposed at low-tide, and have quite a nice collection of sponges and anemones. Though because it’s fairly shallow there is more weed, and this far in to the Bay there is less current so the life is less prolific than other sites. It’s still great to go and visit though.
Second site was the reef out of the back of Shag Rock. This has to be one of the mose diverse sites we’ve got in Torbay, and I’m amazed it’s not dived more often. I’ve dived it from the shore but it’s quite a swim, and I suspect anyone on a boat wouldn’t call it a ‘proper’ dive!
Finally, to an all-time favourite of mine: the Morris Rogue. This stunning reef has so much life on, in and around it sometimes it just blows my mind. There are countless species of anemone and sponge all over the bed-rock, and every nook, crannd and overhand is home to either a crab, lobster or crayfish (yes I saw my first ever crayfish in Torbay!), and in the waters above dozens of mullet, pollack and bass circle around you – truly an amazing sight in UK waters.
As it turned out I spent over 5 hours out on the kayak on this trip. I completed 102 ‘dives’ to over 10m, so that means I swam a vertical kilometer down, and back up again. No wonder my legs were aching!