Full size Lundy panorama here.
The 21 mile paddle to Lundy Island is not as bad as it sounds…strong tidal flows help you along your way. It certainly shouldn’t be underestimated however; there is an awful lot of empty open water around you if anything goes wrong, and there is also a credible chance of totally missing Lundy if you misjudge your ferry glide angle.
I was quite keen to try a crossing which would arrive by night, having done it in daylight many times. We kitted up and loaded up our boats on the shore at Lee Bay in North Devon…however, as high tide was reached just before sunset (our planned departure time) there was a slight problem; ocean swell was smacking into (and often reaching over) the sea wall we were supposed to be launching below. We made some abortive attempts to launch a kayak, but realised that the only practical option was to wait an hour or so for the tide to drop. Trouble is, that would mean darkness from the start of our paddle, removing any safe ‘early abort’ option. After discussion, we realised that it wasn’t going to happen. We lugged the boats back up the launch ramp and slept in our cars, launching early the next morning instead.
Despite no wind, the paddle across was rough enough in the first half to make all of us sick or nauseous at some point…but then it completely calmed, allowing us to relax and enjoy the Manx shearwaters endlessly circling us at water level.
When the time came for the paddle back, the weather wasn’t great at all. We achieved the crossing using Plan #B.