Sunday, 30 March 2008

Horse Rock 30/03/2008

With the wind W or SW 4 or 5 becoming cyclonic 5 to 7 later I paddled out from Porthsele and on rounding Fisherman's point I was very surprised at the size of the swell and how rough it was.

On reaching St John's point conditions were even rougher and it took me two attempts to get around Penrhyndalar and into the calmer waters beyond, I then made better progress on to St Justinian.

Approaching St John's point


On arrival at St Justinian, I stopped for a short while and chatted to Mike, one of the boat trip workers and Lifeboat volunteers, who informed me that they were cancelling the trips around Ramsey Island due to the swell. I carried on following the coast in relatively calmer water to Penmaenmelyn, which is the stretch of mainland directly opposite the Bitches. I then paddled directly into the north flowing flood tide heading straight for the infamous Horse Rock.

Normally I would give this section of Ramsey Sound a wide berth on a flood tide but as it was only a 4.8m neap tide conditions were pretty tame for Horse Rock.

Smack in the middle of Ramsey Sound on a line midway between the Island farmhouse and the Lifeboat Station is Horse Rock, a cathedral sized spire of granite under the water. The sea bed here decreases in depth from 66 to 0 metres in under half a mile, and the water is thrown into a series of heavy waves and whirlpools. This is believed to be the site of the only kayak related death in Ramsey Sound.

Horse Rock is only visible on very low spring tides. Here are some photo's I took back in November 2006, this is the only time I have been lucky enough to see the rock exposed. As you can see it is a major hazard to all marine traffic.

I made rapid progress back to St John's point and again hit very rough confused water around the point. I only covered 4 nautical miles (approx 4.5 miles) and reached a top speed of 9 knots (approx 10 mph) coming back through the Sound. Even though this was a short distance paddle it was very exhilarating and challenging.

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