Views out into the channel from the Cardiff foreshore, Cardiff Barrage or Penarth Beach will encompass two significant islands in the Bristol Channel, Steep Holm and Flat Holm. Their names derive from two things, firstly their shape and secondly the term 'Holm' which is Danish for a river island.
Flat Holm is a great place to visit it even has a pub, capacity 15 persons a light house, once coal powered and a 4 star bookable cottage.
With one of the biggest tidal ranges in the world, the Bristol channel has a huge flow of water back and forward in a narrowing estuary, not surprisingly this churns up large quantities of mud and slurry. On the basis of what goes up must come down somewhere, inevitably some of it starts to fill in the deep water channels.
2014 has seen some of the biggest storms in a long while which has moved huge quantities of not only mud but, but also sand and pebbles. This often occurs on the South Coast where longshore drift has been particularly bad this year. This can be countered by dredging the sea bed to scoop up and move sediment.
A regular visitor to Cardiff and its islands the dredger Sospan Dau, (seen in picture) is part of the attempt to fight off nature. Registered in the Netherlands (NL) she is designated a special craft having a Gross Tonnage of 1546 tonnes, she is 70.36 metres long and 14.33 m wide and was built in 1978.
Visit the boardwalk in Cardiff Bay and walk along the waters edge you will soon discover a range of sailing vessels from RIBs to pleasure cruisers, for reasonable sums you can have either a blast around the Bay for some high speed fun or a trip out through the locks into the Bristol Channel. There are longer trips that will allow you to visit the Islands and even stay overnight. It is best to book in advance for longer trips though trips around the bay can usually be accommodated 'on the spot'. Check you have the right sort of clothing, flat shoes are best, if you need the waterproof suits are provided, T-shirts are good on shore but at high speed and out in the Channel it can get chilly. If in doubt ring first. Finally these trips are strict on safety, but it does not reduce the fun and thrill at all.