Sunday, 4 May 2008

Failed attempt 04/05/08

For the second time of the year I thought I would attempt to paddle around Ramsey Island. Although the conditions weren't ideal I was becoming a bit frustrated due to the lack of decent paddling trips. The wind wasn't too strong but there seemed to be a large swell, well I could only try....

I set off as usual from Porthsele with the tide just starting to flood and headed southward through Ramsey Sound just on the edge of the main tidal flow to Pen Dal-aderyn. Here I had to paddle very hard to get across the tidal flow to stop me being taken down past the Bitches as I wouldn't have been able to paddle back through them.

As I paddled towards the southern tip of Ramsey the sea became a lot rougher and I began to have my first doubts. On reaching the Midland Gap, also known as the Devil's Hole, between Ynys Bery and Ynys Cantwr there were large standing waves, this is not unusual at this section of water so I carried on.

My initial doubts were then confirmed, as normally the conditions subside after a couple of hundred yards, but today all I could see were large standing waves as far up as Trwynmynachdy. At this stage of the tide I knew that there was an escape route between Ynys Cantwr and the southern tip of the main island where, even though the tide was against me, I was able to surf and paddle furiously through the gap and into the relatively calmer waters of the Sound. Once again I was strongly reminded of exactly who was in control of who!!!

After a well earned breather I paddled a bit downheartedly back to the Bitches where I was greeted by a swarm of playboaters. They were not having much luck surfing the Bitches due to the large swell which was causing the wave to peak up and fade making it difficult to stay on.

With the tide at it's full flow I paddled off back through the sound towards St John's where I reached a top speed of 11 knots and saw a couple of porpoises on the way. Which as usual were too quick to capture with a camera.

Tide stream with St Justinian in the background

On reaching Porthsele I met another paddler coming from the direction of St David's Head, who turned out to be Patrick Winterton, on his way from Tywyn to meet up with another fellow kayaker to accompany him across to Ireland. He decided to stay at Pencarnan for a couple of nights before setting off. This chance meeting made up for the disappointment of my failed Island trip. Good luck, safe paddling and thanks for the tips!

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