I’m a big fan and supporter of the RNLI and still to this day find it amazing that such an organisation can exist on charitable donations alone. Since we’ve started taking to the sea in our kayaks their presence has been felt even more strongly and, following a visit to Mumbles pier for the Kittiwakes, I couldn’t help but notice that they had a planned practice launch just a few days later. Now it might only be my inner child speaking but there really are few things more exciting than watching a lifeboat slide down its ramp and into the water. I’ve been fortunate to witness this spectacle first hand only once before whilst staying near Sennen Cover in Cornwall, so to see our local boat launch was an opportunity not to be missed.
We arrived at least half an hour early and in glorious sunshine which turned out to be a very good thing indeed. You see I’d completely underestimated the popularity such an event would generate and in no time the end of the pier was packed with eager onlookers. Everyone was in high spirits and we chatted excitedly until finally the large shutters at the front of the station retracted to reveal Roy Barker IV, our resident Tamar class lifeboat. Then before we knew it she was gone, rushing down to meet the calm waters of Swansea Bay in a matter of seconds, engines at full throttle taking her safely away and onwards towards Port Talbot.
Really I’d needed two cameras, one videoing and another for stills but given my limited crew of one I captured the event as well as I possibly could. Walking along the beach later I did however spot a couple of vantage points which look very promising for future launches so I shall definitely be making a return.
Of course this being me I couldn’t help but notice a few birds whilst we waited which included the Kittiwakes (obviously) as well as a pair of Sandwich Terns off the end of the pier. We also had the pleasure of watching a Barrel Jellyfish float beneath us, one of the few times I’ve seen this species alive and well as opposed to washed up along one of the local beaches.