After being politely asked to leave by Barrage control, due to a vessel carrying out a detailed survey of the barrage and surrounding area, I carried on around the edge of the barrage to the sluice gates.
Cardiff has been prone to flooding in the past due to a combination of high spring tides and high river flows from the rivers Taff and Ely. The flood defence philosophy is to use the barrage to exclude the high spring tides from the Bay aarea until the tide ebbs and release flood water from the bay on the ebb. In my experience this seems to leave the river particularly low at times when you wouldn't expect it to be.
There are 5 sluice gates with each gate being 9m wide and 7.5m high. Over a quarter of a million litres of water per second can flow through each gate. The sluice gates are a critical part of the barrage and there are extensive back up facilities to ensure continued operation should there be a power cut or control system failure.
Leaving the sluice gates behind I followed the outer edge of the barrage to what is more commonly known as 'Barrage Point'. This area of the bay is a common viewing area whose design reflects a ship's bow and a nautical theme along the bank with the sails providing the finishing touches.
The sail symbol can be seen repeatedly throughout the Cardiff Bay area and these particular sails look very impressive when illuminated at sundown.
The picture quality isn't very good on this one as the wind was blowing straight into the dock which made it a little tricky to keep steady, stay upright and take a good photo!
Unfortunately it was now time to turn back so I headed home meeting the survey vessel leaving the barrage.
On my way back to Penarth I noticed a puff of smoke in the near distance, I paddled out to investigate to find a large ocean going tug moving at an impressive speed.
Passing underneath the pier the tide was barely running as it was now high tide and the beach had disappeared, thank god for the lifeboat slip or I would have had a long wait to land!