Sunday, 13 January 2008

Benlech and Red Wharf Bay

Back in October whilst loading our vehicles from the Bull Bay paddle Gareth and I spoke to Glen.
He had recently purchased a kayak and along with -hil, they were starting out, Gareth cordially invited them to join us within future paddles.
The mails went out and five of us were available.
Ga, Dave from the Colwyn Bay club having been with us on one occasion together with Phil and Glen.
The plan was to use the tides and take in the scenery from the West of the Island and launch from Bull Bay travelling South and return.
The forecast for the week as usual changed and the gap in the winds looked favourable although on the morning showed a 13 South Westerly.
Travelled to Anglesey, sea state looked interesting as Dave made comment, open boater and 3 star coach, a river man at heart.
Around the corner into Bull Bay and sugar the sea was white, strong winds possibly a 3 to 4 sea state and not an option.
Met the new guys so we decided to change plans, off to Benlech hopefully get some cover from the wind.
Sea completely different and so we set off.
The initial plan to cross Red Wharf Bay and possibly get to Puffin.
Possibly now with hindsight that may have been too ambitious as it’s around a 17 miler
After a short time the wind was making things bobby and the classic weather cocking , waves coming in from our right although nothing high or breaking, enough though to concern Dave and I sensed his apprehension, I think it was the fact that we were out in the bay which gives you a sense of distance from the shore edge, at some points you are a mile of two out, along with the beam wind and sea state although he looked solid he was convinced that it was going wrong, together with possibly sea sickness we altered course and in zig zaged which helps as you both go into the wind and wave formation.
Carried on and from Dave and my observations we had to land, no option he was ill, the landing was a dumping beach pebbly, and around another 35 mins before high tide.
Dave’s desire for land and that he has a plastic boat caused him no problems and he was happy to get his feet on land, it was near to Bwrdd Arthur.
We planned our landing and with Dave’s help Ga went first, with one and then eventually two assisting with timings boats and paddlers were safely brought ashore with minimal contact between hull and rocks.
Dave was goosed and options even road transport were considered.
Hot tea a butty and some sweet food obviously helped.
Likewise the trip back had slight wind and wave in front which Dave had no problems with.
The ex-para did a beach launch sliding down with speed into the sea, advantages of a plastic boat; again we planned the launches and more or less did the reverse from landing, all controlled and again no damage to paddler or boat.
Headed straight back and Dave was not up for conversation, he had mind set himself with one objective, the white Café and this could be seen from miles away.
Hulls crashing down slightly with spray, both Phil and Glen doing well, about half way across whilst admiring Glen’s red boat in a surreal and slow motion moment he capsized going right, a shock to the system but he remained calm and after a few minutes I did the T rescue and he was in and bailing out what water remained which in fairness was minimal.
An excellent recovery and back onto our homeward journey, in fairness it did not appear to faze him and he confidently paddled to shore.
We had a play, Dave did some rolling and after a butty and brew off we went.
A testing first paddle, weather cocking, beam seas, landings, launching and the rescue more than expected for Glen and Phil’s first outing.
Dave was pragmatic and stated it had not put him off, it seems that Dave needs to stay more in shore rock hopping and possible calmer weather to build up on sea skills.
Lunch spot

Phil and his NDK Romany
The gang, guys try and stay awake whilst Ga talks ha!

Dave happy to get back

Llandudno in the distance

Dave rolling show off
I did,nt get that do it again..and he did!
Glen and his very red Island kayak

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