Things we saw in the sea. It is all Greek to me 5. Zante 2015

Underwater Cave

I still have four sets of photos to share from my recent trip to Zante, Greece, as part of my its all Greek to me series. I promised you some underwater wildlife in my last post. So this is a collection of fish I managed to photograph while snorkeling. Once I get through these photos it will be back to beaches and bulldogs as normal.

Zante Snorkeling

These fish species definitely are all Greek to me, but luckily I have borrowed Bridgend Countryside Management Officer Rob Jones’ Mediterranean Species Guide which tells me above are Saddled Seabream. I photographed some of us humans too. #UnderwaterSelfie

Underwater DimExcuses

Lewis had an underwater selfie stick, what is the world coming to?

Lewis Selfie Stick

Anyway, back to the wildlife. Quite a shoal here.

Zante Fish

Off they go…

…they must have seen Lewis…

Lewis

…or me! Quite impression of the Nirvana Nevermind Baby.

DimExcuses submerged

But don’t worry there are plenty more fish in the sea, this time baby Barracuda by the surface.

Baby Barracuda

This is a black-tailed Wrasse I think.

Black-tailed Wrasse

Great clear shot of a Saddled Seabream.

Saddled Seabream

Quite happy in the diffused sea sunlight.

Saddled Seabream

Some sort of Wrasse below.

Wrasse

Any identification help will be welcomed.

Wrasse swimming

A small Hermit Crab coming out to say hello.

Hermit Crab

A black tailed something, again it is all Greek to me.

Sun Speckled

This guy is a bit more distinctive, a striped Seabream I think.

Underwater Zante

Oh and a lesser spotted Lewis!

Look who popped up!

So that is what we saw in the sea. A few days later we found a reef and my next post will be what we saw there, and I promise you some even more interesting species, DimExcuses.

 

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…and in the Sea. Pwll Du, Gower. June 2014

Sea Molly

This follows on from my last post as I had a lot of photos from our June day down Pwll Du Bay, Gower. I had a really nice message here on WordPress saying how much they liked the pictures of Molly going in the sea. Very brave for a french bulldog, I think it is the terrier in her. So in response to that, plenty of Molly in sea action in this post. Also some pictures my girlfriend Sharon and her friends venturing into the Gower surf for a body surf.

They do their own stunts

They do all their own stunts.

Splash

Molly will swim if it is not too rough but she is happier playing fetch within her depth. She loves the water though.

Molly wading

She is not afraid to get her head under if fetch is involved, but the waves were a little big for her to brave swimming.

Fetch

Sharon was making the most of the small but well formed surf…

Sharon Pwll Du

…even catching me for a between waves selfie.

DimExcuses Surf Selfie

Here is a sequence of three pictures I got using the burst function on the camera. It is all taken on one wave in about a second.

On the Crest

Starting to break.

Broken Wave

Well and truly broken. Not everyone comes out the other side.

Breaking Wave

Molly was still paddling about too.

Molly Paddling

On the crest of another wave.

Breaking Wave

And right in the face of this wave.

Catching a Wave

Here is a sea surface eye view of one of the waves coming into Pwll Du Bay.

Pwll Du Wave

Well that is all my Pwll Du in the sea pictures.  It is a great Gower beach. I have been further west since then and will be doing a few posts on lesser known wild west Wales beaches. It is warm enough now for going in the sea for a quick dip without a wetsuit, or at least just a summer one. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get wet, DimExcuses.

Sunbeams & Seaweed. Low Tide Pobbles Bay. May 2014.

Sunbeams & Seaweed. Low Tide Pobbles Bay

Apologies for the lack of blog updates, but I have been making the most of the weather and getting out and about in the Gower beaches and parks. Making the most of the beach access before the May to September dog ban at Caswell and Langland Bay. I have also been enjoying the last of the spring swells and seeing some great surf, an example being the header image on this blog taken at Caswell Bay. I have also been using my phone camera a lot more and my proper camera a lot less. The phone camera allows you not only to take great pictures, but also to edit them and upload them quickly that day. You can foilow my photographic exploits and #AdventuresOfMolly on twitter (@DimExcuses) and instagram (@dimexcuses).

Seaweed Pobbles Bay

On Saturday 17th of May, I did manage to get down Pobbles Bay in the Gower and catch some sunbeams and a few proper camera shots. It was a very low tide so Molly (The Frenchton Puppy) and I were able to get down to the rock pools and seaweed beds right at the east tip of the bay below the rocky headland of Shire Coombe.

Molly Pobbles

Molly has been getting braver and braver with the sea and rock pools, venturing deeper more often as the water warms up. This is especially true if it is also a chance to fetch one of her toys.

Molly rock pools

Finally here is a crab’s eye view looking back towards Three Cliffs Bay framed by sunbeams and seaweed.

Sunbeams & Seaweed

So spring is moving into summer, and with two low tides a day, why not go and find some sunbeams and seaweed for yourself, DimExcuses.

Gower Winter (Bulldog) Walks – Pwll Du February 2014

Pwll Du Winter Waves

Rain, wind, storms, super swells and high tides, Gower has had it all this winter.  Yet there are no excuses not to get out and about, especially as the the days are getting longer and the weather is improving.  Therefore Molly (the french bulldog cross) and I decided to walk down one South Gower’s wilder beaches Pwll Du.

Pwll Du Winter Waves

It was a bit of a muddy walk before we got onto the rocky road down to the beach. The recent daisy chain of storm after storm has produced some powerful swells and robbed the bays of much of their sand.  Pwll Du today was no exception.  Even Molly had to have a peak over the path to see what was making all that noise as the waves pumped in and crashed on the pebbles.

Pwll Du Molly

So we quickly headed down the path to investigate further.

Molly Surf Dog

Pwll Du is a much steeper bay than most South Gower beaches and is known for its imposing pebble storm beach that is much larger than it should be due to limestone quarrying in the past.

Storm Beach Molly

It also has a sandy beach in summer, but the winter storms have removed much of that for the moment.

Pwll Du

There is a powerful river that runs down Bishopston Valley and blasts its way out of the pebble storm beach.  But seeing as storm beaches are made by storms, there is a much more formidable pebble wall at the top of the beach than normal, and the river is struggling to get through, much to Molly’s interest.

Molly looking at Pwll Du River

But it won’t be long before nature allows this river to re-establish itself on its way to the sea.  It is already starting to make a good effort to do so.

Pwll Du River

Large amounts of pebbles were falling out of the rivers way even in the short time that Molly and I looked on.

Molly on the pebbles.

We took one last look at the bay before making the climb back to Bishopston.

Pwll Du

As Molly demonstrates there are some quite unforgiving steps on the climb out of Pwll Du Bay.

Molly Climbing

We certainly made the most of a rather grey February day, make sure you make the most of yours too, DimExcuses.

Walk & Surf Newgale Bay Pembrokeshire. May Bank Holidays 2013

Newgale looking NorthMy blog has been very Wales, but not wild enough or west enough.  I hope to make up for that with one of the wildest West Wales beaches you can visit, Newgale Bay in Pembrokeshire.  Driving from Haverfordwest you soon seen the spectacular cliffs surrounding the bay and then the massive pebble storm beach that acts as a wall between the beach and the land.  The bay then moves into a flat valley when there is Newgale Campsite, Newsurf shop, Sands Cafe and the Duke of Edinburgh Pub.  Click on the names to go to their websites.

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It is a beautiful beach.  You can walk along the pebbles of the storm beach or along the wide beach itself.  Watch out though the sea can come right up to the pebbles.

Newgale Pebbles

It can be quite windy too, as I said Wild West Wales!  But if that wind is offshore it can create some really spectacular waves.  Newgale is also a great base to explore Pembrokeshire.  St. Davids, UK’s smallest city because it has a cathedral, is just a few miles drive (or ride on the Puffin Bus) away.  Here are the Puffin Shuttle timetables.  There are loads of other bays to discover like Caerfai Bay below, but that is a different blog.  Go visit and explore, DimExcuses.

Caerfai Bay

Newgale is very exposed to the sea and this means there is always some surf.  It is an ideal place for the learning surfer (Newsurf offers a range of lessons) and the experienced wave rider.  This surf was a bit small on the end of May Bank Holiday but on the first Bank Holiday it was a real fun size and the sun came out.  We took a load of photos and I have edited them into this short film.  The music is by Welsh musician Gavin Butler from the acoustic album ‘Ghosts and Echoes’ with Neil Starr.

Gower Spring Walks 2. Three Cliffs Valley, Bay and Pobbles Bay May 2013.

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already posted a walk similar to this in my Gower winter walks: Gower Winter Walks 2. Pennard Castle and Three Cliffs Bay Circular Route. I GPS tracked that trail with Everytrail and you can see that map here.  This time I took a slightly different route dropping into the valley and then climbing over Three Cliffs as the tide cut me off before I could get through the cave. This time I tried tracking my walk with Strava Run. I am trying the Strava android application because it keeps a running total of my walking allowing me to compare what I am doing each week and month. You need to sneakily tell the app that you are running as it won’t add walks to your on-going results. I am also trying this app for GPS tracking my mountain bike rides.

I went very wide around the golf course towards the Sandy Lane chalet settlement. If you haven’t been here before aim for the large water tower and be careful passing the golf course. There are white stones to follow but these can be hard to see.

Pennard Castle View

Once you are by the water tower head towards Pennard Castle. The view is magnificent. At this point I chose to go down into the valley by following the very steep and very sandy path. This is not the route for anyone with mobility issues, instead follow the boardwalk as outlined in my winter walk.

Three Cliffs Bay

You should also check the tide because the valley floods at high tide and before that the tide can cut off the cave through to Pobbles Bay. I didn’t get this right, so I had to climb up to Three Cliffs and go over the top. There is a path to do this but it is hard to find. It is in a gully in the cliff and is definitely one for the more agile walker.

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This did allow me to get some great photos of Three Cliffs Bay before moving around into Pobbles. These two bays really are Jewels of Gower and highlights of the coast in Wales. The sea is still quite cold from our unseasonal spring, 8 degrees and this was the Sunday of the first may Bank Holiday! But that didn’t stop Sadie the spaniel going for a dip.

Pobbles

 

Pobbles Bay funnels to a narrow storm beach and there is one central path back to Pennard Golf Club where it is a short road walk back to the start. This is definitely one of my favourite DimExcuses Gower walks.

 

Gower Winter Walks 2. Pennard Castle and Three Cliffs Bay circular route.

UPDATE FOR 2018: This has proved to be the most popular walk that I have done. It is also the go to walk for exercising my dog Molly at weekends. I have edited it so that it is all still relevant. You can now see a 3D aerial video of this route here, so that you can plan walking it yourself. The original post is below.

Adventures of Molly Three Cliffs Bay

With some brighter weather this January I was able to get out on a much more off road Gower winter walk.  Starting in my childhood home of Pennard I parked by the school, some people prefer to park by the shop a little further into the small housing estate.  I used one of the permissive footpaths across the golf course.  It is important to stick to these paths to be courteous to the golfers and also so that you don’t get hit by a golf ball! The paths are marked by either way-marker posts or large stones painted white.  It is best to try and stick to the housing estate side of the course and skirt around it.

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Once on the valley side of the golf course by the ‘Sandy Lane’ houses it is best to head straight for the castle.  You can’t miss it, it’s a castle, a proper fairy tale one.  It even has it’s own fairy tale about the fairies burying it in sand causing its ruined state today.

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You could just end your walk at the castle, there is no better place to take in the magnificent view of Three Cliffs Valley.

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It is at this point you have the choice to follow the boardwalk leading out of the castle along the headland above Three Cliffs Valley or walk down the steep dune into the valley itself. The boardwalk is probably the easiest route and better if the weather is poor.  This day was fantastic and the tide was out so I dropped down into the valley.  The route maybe impassible during high tides, you will be able to see if that is the case from the castle.  This is the route I took on this occasion – Three Cliffs Walk Map & Stats.

So it was one last look at the castle, from the inside this time and I dropped down into the valley to follow the river to Three Cliffs Bay. You can read my Three Cliffs Beach Guide here.

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Three Cliffs Valley quickly opens out into the spectacular Three Cliffs Bay, the ‘Jewel of the Gower’.   I tend to stick to the east of the bay and walk through the arch within the Three Cliffs itself.  I will photograph the cliffs themselves the next time I am there, the low winter sun was stopping me on this occasion.  Once through the arch you are in Pobbles Bay, but on low tide both Three Cliffs and Pobbles Bay become one massive joined stretch of bay.  On a good day with a low tide you can even walk to Oxwich Bay further down the Gower, but that is another blog another day.

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Both Bays are remarkable beaches (who’s coat is that jacket? ahem…).  At this point you are at sea level so you might as well walk along the sand to see the sea.

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Once you have dipped your toes (it is a bit too cold at the moment) you can walk up the next valley which leads out of Pobbles Bay up to Pennard Golf Club and the villages of Pennard and Southgate.  You can have a pint in the Southgate Club or a coffee in the cafe in Southgate.  Which sounds like a great way to finish off my second Gower Winter Walk. More to come as we start to leave January.

My best photo from the Summer

Rhossili Streamzoo – This is my best photo from the Summer.  It is Rhossili Bay taken from the bottom of the steps.  Worms Head is in the background.  It was taken on a Friday evening in July 2012.  It was taken on the same evening as the opening ceremony of the Olympics, which is interesting because footage of the Bay taken earlier in the month was used in the film at the start of the ceremony itself.