Incident Management at Penrhyn Mawr – By Richard Janes

Richard, Paul and Ed
Porth Dafarch Saturday 6th May
Wind North East (F5/6) Overcast and cool
Highwater (Liverpool) 0953 8.1M
“Where to go, where’s the fun?” The spoken introduction to so many paddling days. “And not the fear?” …..Unspoken, unless the obvious, guaranteed outcome of a plan.
Today was a more difficult decision. The West Coast seemed a good idea, based on the prevailing wind but which part? Rhoscolyn is a lovely area but we figured the outer race would be exposed to the wind and actually, not likely to be doing very much. Penrhyn Mawr was predicted to start running around 1530. Would it be fun before beer time?
Being decisive decision makers, we drove to Trearddur and Porth Dafarch to ‘have a look’. With an offshore wind, the ocean looked flat, and after the Mediterranean blue of earlier in the week, when Paul and I were playing (Ed working), decidedly grey!
Now, young Ed is a clever lad (youth) and came up with the idea to rock hop along the coast to Penrhyn Mawr and incorporate a skills session. Rocky landings, rescues etc followed by a late lunch and more rescues in the race. Paul and I had obviously been thinking about this whilst desperately trying to digest a massive Truckstop bacon sandwich. Great idea!  Wish I had brought my Drysuit and not ‘separates’ (Ah, ha! …now I know Ed’s cunning behind the plan) But to his credit, the youth had a good idea.
At Porth Dafarch we bumped into Dave Southern and the Shrewsbury Gang along with a very tanned (just back from Spain, surely he’s too young to join us retirees?) Jim Krawiecki.
With a slow start (still trying to digest that bacon butty), we left the beach empty as we glided out of the Bay with a tail wind, pretending our forward paddling had really improved.
Porth Dafarch was once used as a port for packet boats to Ireland when the port at Holyhead was unavailable. Close in, one can appreciate the splendour of the rocks hereabouts. The Geological map showing these to be rocks of the South Stack Formation. Heavily folded sandstones and siltstones with folding which relates to the overturned limb of a major anticline that dominates this coastline. It is a stunning place!
However, it pays to keep a look out around here as rock can quickly change to lead as it wings its way to sea, attached to a string of feathered hooks one end and a hopeful, sometimes stroppy fisherman at the other.
Ed was now eager to exit his boat and you shouldn’t hold back youth, so we discussed and planned rocky landings. We moved onto extricating a swimmer from a gully, short tows and towing a swimmer with his boat. Paul towing Ed who was lunged on his back deck, then in the water, legs down and finally in the water kicking ie a more horizontal position. Least resistance and easiest towing was lunged on back deck or holding back of the boat kicking, which is more dynamic than just holding on and also helps keep the casualty warm if he/she is fit enough. A technical point; the dynamics of this rescue may change if roles were reversed. There are different coefficients of drag between Loffil legs and Pauls (shorter) Celtic legs.
Erudite and intellectual conversation dominated lunch.
Penrhyn Mawr had now begun and further built as we practiced rescues and rolling in the race. All this good and sensible stuff faded away as the kid inside took over. Surfing and blasting down the waves! Now, Penrhyn Mawr can be much, much bigger. But these waves were big enough to be fun and friendly enough to allow ‘cocky’ experimentation on the wave. Except, I struggle to get over my emotional attachment to the paddle whilst taking pictures when the waves become more interesting. Perhaps I should see a Councillor? I blame my Mother.
Strangely, we met the Shrewsbury Gang and Jim in the pub after.
PS Dave, sorry we broke the unwritten rule of husband/wife teams and scoffed most of Sue’s chips before you had a chance!

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