I set out from Porthsele an hour and a half before high water Milford Haven so the flood tide was already increasing in speed. I headed south through the Sound keeping quite close to the cliffs, passing a fishing boat on the way, until I reached St Justinian.
At Penmaen Melyn I stayed well into the coastline as there is a bit of a tidal flow against me until I got to about half way to the next headland when there is a small eddy which then aids my progress past the old mine workings and on to Pen Dal-aderyn, which is the southern most tip of the Sound. This is the point where I see the main body of water flowing into the Sound which can be quite an awesome/offputting sight.
I now paddled as hard as I could into the mainstream where I am swiftly swept northwards out into the Sound back towards the Bitches. The flow actually takes me past the Bitches but I continue to paddle as hard as possible to reach another eddy which then takes me back onto the Bitches where I can now have a well earned breather behind the first rock.
Looking across to Penmaen Melyn from the first rock of the Bitches
From the relative shelter of the rock I can now look towards the Island and see the full extent of the Bitches tidal race.
I now eddy hop over to the rock by the top wave but because of the northerly wind against the tidal flow the wave is not constant and is impossible to stay on for any length of time. I then paddled over to the little jetty on the Island and stopped for a chat with one of the boat trip owners, Tim of Venture Jet. Tim informed me that it was very rough around the other side of the Island and this definately made my mind up to abandon my original round the Island plan.
By now the tidal flow had eased off enough so that I could paddle through the Bitches doing a couple of circuits back and forth, although I couldn't manage to beat my top speed of 9 knots which I achieved earlier in the main tidal race coming across to the Bitches.
The water past the Bitches was really calm as it was sheltered from the wind so I paddled on down to Abermyharan where I encountered a large quantity of seals lazily basking on the beach. I was then kindly escorted back to the Bitches by two bull seals and one female seal, but as usual, as soon I tried to take a photo they would get camera shy and disappear only to reappear as soon as I started paddling again.
I then paddled back through the Sound to St John's point on the last of the flood tide. I covered a total of just over 7 nautical miles and it was good to get back over to the Bitches on a flood tide once again.