Dawn Rocks! Zante, 2015. It is all Greek to me 1.

Zante Dawn

So there I was, deep in the Mediterranean enjoying the morning sunrise and examining the geology. The #Mentro21 project to surf 21 times this year was going so well a month ago, and then I developed a large abscess under my arm (go to @DimExcuses twitter for the gory detail). A trip to A&E and some emergency surgery under a general aesthetic, I was left with a big hole under my arm that would need weeks of healing, and definitely no surfing (DimSurfing).

Sunrise Zante

So it was rather lucky that we were set for two weeks R&R in Zante, Greece, for our friends Nic and Mark to renew their wedding vows.

Empty Zante Beach

Sun, sand and cocktails by the pool was just what the doctor ordered.

Zante Landing

We stayed in Kalamaki, right by Zakynthos airport, where the planes land close over the beach. Really close over the beach.

Fly Zante

I could watch the in flight movie as this one passed.

Beach Plane

Sunrises and planes aside, the reason I was on the beach was because people had been telling me about a glass like rock formation in the bay. I was brought a piece back and identified it as Muscovite Mica. Mica is usually the little reflective bits that but the sparkle in Granite Worktops.

Muscovite Mica by the Sea

To see it in a large crystal outcrop would be quite interesting for a Geologist like me. Note the water bottle for scale, always a Geologist.

Muscovite Mica

There were some other striking rock formations…

Greek Rock Formation

…and also the shear awe that people can be so ignorant to the hazard of this potential rockfall. I saw some people lying under it for shade!

Potential Rockfall

The Zante coast is so very picturesque.

Pedalo Dawn

It really does have a bit of an edge on Wales in terms of sun and warm weather, and has a rather awesome sideline in turtle conservation.  They fence the nests off like this to protect the hatch-lings.

Turtle Nest

Great to see nature and tourism developing side by side, the tagline for these pedalos was ‘Rent a Pedalo, see a Turtle’.

Pedalo Dawn

A great morning and a good start to the holiday.  I have four more posts from Zante, and it is all Greek to me, DimExcuses.

Llansteffan, Carmarthenshire, DimExcuses Beach Guide.

Llansteffan, Carmarthenshire

With a massive expanse of sand, Llansteffan is one of the best dog walking beaches in South Wales.

Llansteffan, DimExcuses Beach Guide

It is a short drive from Carmarthen through Johnstown. There is free parking, public toilets, a small cafe and a fish & chips vendor. There are views across the estuary to Ferryside and the Arriva Wales train can be seen as it takes it coastal route towards Swansea.

All the gang, Molly, Rocky & Sadie.

The geology is striking with alternating layers of sedimentary rock showing deposition in reducing conditions to create grey layers often interchanging to oxidising conditions to create contrasting red layers. Or in less technical terms rocks that look like streaky bacon.

Bacon Rock

These pictures courtesy of @lizzieLoubi on twitter.

Red & Grey Layers

There is a holy spring that feeds into a river that enters the bay. It is a great rehydrating spot for thirsty dogs.

Llansteffan River

Molly has to go further into the archway than anyone else.

Molly tunnel explorer

Molly and Sadie the springer love this river. It is a real cooling stop.

Molly and Sadie in the river.

There is plenty of room at Llansteffan to run a pack of dogs. Our little pack of Molly, Sadie and Rocky love it there.

The Carmarthen Pack

When not running on the beach they are exploring the rocks.

Molly and Sadie

Llansteffan beach is an essential stop on a visit to Carmarthen, especially if you have a dog. Try it next time you are heading to Wild West Wales, DimExcuses.

Gower Spring (Bulldog) Walks – Rhossili March 2014

Misty Worms Head

It is official, spring is here, and last weekend was a glorious Gower classic.  With forgotten clear skies and crisp double figure degrees C to look forward to, we had to grab Molly the Frenchie and head to Gower’s most awe inspiring beach, Rhossili Bay. Seeing as our van is getting pimped up for summer, we scrounged a lift with Ade and Nancy in their VW T4, tidy like. Ade let Molly ride shotgun in the van, so it was only polite that she show him the view of the bay.

Rhossili Molly & Ade

The great thing with Rhossili is you can drive down, take in the view, get an ice cream, and go home…

Rhossili Spring Mist

…or you can climb down into the bay. But remember what goes down has to climb back up! At the moment the climb down is complicated by the winter storms and record storm surges not only eroding the sand but actually washing away the steps to the beach. National Trust have put in a diversion that involves walking across the grass to almost where the white cottage is. On a serious note the climb up and down to Rhossili is challenging and this diversion has added to that, there is no shame in just sticking to that ice cream / view combination.

Molly the shipwreck hunter

The storm sand erosion has led to one bonus, the shipwreck in the bay is very exposed at the moment. Molly really took it upon herself to be a wreck hunter. Several posts have also been exposed across the bay, I would love to know what these are? Are they left over sea defenses from World War II?

Rhossili Wreck

Shipwrecks aside, as well as the sun there was a gentle offshore wind which was making the most of a moderate swell. I was jealous of two lads walking down to make the most of the empty sets, until I saw them gloving up and pulling their hoods on.

Rhossili Spring Surfer

Molly was straight in with them…

Rhossili Molly & Surfer

…and straight back out! Brrr Molly and I will leave it unitl April (#AprilCool).

Run away Molly!

Then we took that long climb back to the cliff top. In the spring sun it would have been rude not to grab a pint of ‘Gower Gold’ in the Rhossili Hotel beer garden. Molly couldn’t believe we had been all the way down there.

Rhossili Hotel Beer Garden

Unfortunately with a busy day, long walk and a few beers in the beer garden, there is always one who gets grumpy and starts kicking off.

Beer Garden Monster

So we got Molly back in the van before she started trouble. But spring is here, summer is to follow and Gower didn’t get totally washed away in the winter storms. So get out there and get exploring, DimExcuses.