Round Two At The Races! – Richard Janes

Round two at the races! 
Two recovery days from surfing South Stack and a great forecast of light Northerly winds with a Spring tide found our team of Roger, Justine, JF, Mirco, Jan, Garry, Geth, Steve, Barry, Paul and Me having a ‘staggered’ start from Porth Dafarch, heading North to the races of  Penrhyn Mawr and South Stack. Now, The meaning of ‘Porth Dafarch’ may have originated from the contraction of ‘Porth Dau Farch’ (harbour/inlet of two horses/stallions). We didn’t let accuracy get in the way of a good story (!) as the late arrivals (Paul, Steve and me) left Porth Dafarch behind as we paddled North towards Penrhyn Mawr and the first race. Thoughts of beautiful waves most definitely spurring us on; “Wild, wild horses, We’ll ride them someday” (Rolling Stones)
Tide pulling us through ‘mini Mawr’, we could soon see the rolling white of Penrhyn Mawr, along with the odd paddle flash from our friends already in the race. ….. And what a joyous race Penrhyn Mawr was today! Effectively, the last hour of a Spring tide, boils and whirlpools had subsided, water depth increased leaving beautiful rolling waves breaking, then running out onto an oily sea. Our efforts swiftly followed by lunch  in the sun at Porth Ruffyd
With domestic commitments for several team members, our group now split. Paul, Gary, Steve, Jan and me headed North. Beautiful rock hopping towards South Stack and beyond. Looking West, South Stack race looked lively with a light breeze blowing spume from the crests of waves. So that’s where we headed for a stunning surf session. Multiple and extended rides on rolling, near perfect waves. I truly didn’t want to leave; “Wild Horses, Couldn’t drag me away” …. But sadly, failing arms meant it was time to submit to the ebb flow and the paddle back to Porth Dafarch. 
Passing Penrhyn Mawr, now silent. Redolent and waiting for the flood, it was difficult to remember the excitement of the morning.
Our day finished with a beautiful sunset as we packed soggy kit and warmed chilled bodies after another fabulous day.
 

Diary of a magic day with old and great friends! – By Richard Janes

Diary of a magic day with old and great friends! 
 
You know you’ve had a good day when later, much later …you’re still ‘buzzing’! Well today was just such a day. 
We had not seen our good friends Justine and JF (Marleau) for a long while. Forecast today was for light (SW) winds, sunny periods and a chunky tide.  ‘The Stacks’ seemed a favourite choice when we met for a coffee first thing (ish) with Paul, Me, Geth, Steve, Lynn, Justine , JF (Marleau), and Mirco. A good sign of any group of friends meeting after a while is how quickly conversation begins and very quickly the months disappear. Today was no different. Paddling plans were made between general catch up and non stop conversation. 
 
Setting out from Porth Dafarch entailed  the usual discussion  of I’m too hot/cold, where’s the swell… And it goes on. Light on the cliffs was wonderful and early surf rides before the entrance to Abraham’s bosom a great warm up and lots of fun! 
Rock hopping towards South Stack was joyous. And the gap separating Ynys Lawd from the cliffs concentrated minds, as we paddled against a fast tidal stream under the bridge. ( ….Now, what was that noise? Paddles ‘clarting’ against rock or the heavy footsteps of the Ghost of ‘Jack’ Jones as he tried to climb steps after receiving a bang to his head from a rock?) 
 
A late start meant thoughts now turned towards lunch. Landings hereabouts are few and far between. Choice positions were taken up by young seals, so we paddled on to North Stack for a lunch afloat. Hmm… A ‘stretch’ would have been welcome! Nevertheless, Scotch egg and a final hurrah (!) for the turkey went down well. North Stack race was fast and furious. And the tail down toward South Stack had me regretting the Scotch egg, which I believe was trying to reincarnate as a chicken, feathers and all. 
 
…..BUT then, a wave appeared. A glorious, green and curling wave at the start of South Stack race. Rarely will you see a bunch of grown-ups (?) enjoying such simple pleasures. Absolutely amazing surf runs with boats hammering forward, enjoying the energy of a big tide. And the race continues to run. And we surf and surf. No escape, no eddies, paddles moving on. And eventually, as the race subsides, we start to feel a little knackered. I tried to pretend but I’m sure the look on my face would have been enough! Decisions made (thank heavens) and a quiet paddle with the setting sun and a brief dolphin sighting, took us back to Porth Dafarch. 
 
I’d seriously tried the notion of ‘Dry January’. But Geth is a bad man and my will power is (um) weak. How better to end a fabulous day with friends? 

North Coast on the flood, 27 Jan 2018

When a wet, windy foul weather day, turns out to be a great day!
Forecast for Coastal Waters around Anglesey on Saturday suggested rain, winds (WSW/W, F6). They weren’t wrong. The drive onto Anglesey was miserable…. And Paul’s wipers had a temporary ‘moment’, deciding to stop working! Holyhead Truckstop was the usual oasis and we bumped into Jim Krawiecki and his group who were heading off to Trearddur Bay to do some rescue practice. We felt wet enough already.
The coffee and humour had worked it’s wonderful ways as we headed to Porth Llechog ( Bull Bay). And enthusiasm was back to normal as we got on the water, hiding (too hot) in dry suits and working our way under the rocks and cliffs of the most Northerly mainland of Wales. Great paddling and with low tide, stunning environment and Geology.
Lunch was at Porth Wen, commonly known as ‘The Brickworks’. In Victorian times they made bricks here. Rather special bricks using local quartzite. These bricks were not only hard but able to withstand very high temperatures, essential to line the industrial furnaces of the time for the manufacture of steel. All interesting stuff but lost to the humour of friends Barry Shaw and James Stevenson who were with a group!
Launching was delayed as Geth rooted out a ‘Sea Squirt’, so named because they squirt out water when disturbed and more closely related to vertebrates like us than invertebrates. We were now chilly so headed West. Once out of the Bay we were paddling into the full strength of the wind. We paddled West of Middle Mouse before starting a ‘ferry’ out to the island. As we entered the eddy line, a call from Paul as a Common Dolphin (http://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/common-dolphin/) was racing and turning just behind my kayak. Wonderful!

The ‘ferry’ became somewhat technical as we neared the island. Strong wind, clapotis and tide race joined forces to make quite tough paddling. The North side of the island was a blast. Fast surf waves and wind behind! The GPS track would be spaghetti as we repeated ‘runs’. All with the fabulous backdrop views of the North Coast.

Return to Bull Bay with wind behind and the flood tide was very quick. Even the rain had stopped. Yet again, a foul day turned out to be a great day!

Written by Rich.  Photos by Geth.

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South Stack on the ebb, 20 Jan 2018

A fantastic wintry trip out from Porth Dafarch to South Stack on a 9m (Liverpool) ebb tidal stream.

The swell provided interesting rockhopping.

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The big chanels between Penrhyn Mawr and Abraham’s Bosom.

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Entering Abraham’s Bosom

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Lunch at Abraham’s Bosom

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Richard

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More rockhopping

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South Stack

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North Stack

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Approaching South Stack Tide Race

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Paul, Richard and Gary surfing

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Returning to Porthdafarch

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Snow covered mountains

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The end of another great paddle

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Paddling today were: Paul, Richard, Ed, Rachel, Lynn, Steve, Gary, Jan and Geth.

Cemlyn to The Skerries and back on a spring ebb tide, 5 Jan 2018

A great day out with Ed for our first trip of 2018 to The Skerries.

9.68m Tide Liverpool.  SW Swell 0.8m, 10sec.  Negligible wind.

We arrived at Harry Furlough’s at 12:00 for the start of the ebbing tiderace and surfed there for one hour.

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We arrived at The Skerries at 13:50, following a surf at Victoria Bank.

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We departed The Skerries at 14:20, to attempt the crossing of Carmel Sound.  The ebb current was now at its strongest rate.

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The Platters on lively form.

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Arriving at Carmel Head’s ebb eddy, adjacent to Ynys Fydlyn, at 15:00.

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Ynys Fydlyn

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Rounding Carmel Head on our way back to Cemlyn at 15:20.

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The view back to The Skerries.  We arrived back at Cemlyn soon after 16:00.

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Church Bay – Harry Furlough’s Rocks via Carmel Head, 21 Dec 2017

A wonderful shortest day of the year paddle around Carmel Head with JF Marleau and Justine Curgenven.  Photos by Geth.

Rockhopping out of Church Bay.

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Tiderace #1 – Surfing at Ynys Fydlyn

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Ynys Fydlyn Arch

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Approaching Ynys Fydlyn’s Caves – a bit too much swell to get through the tunnels.

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The Carmel Head Rocky Channel System.

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JF couldn’t wait for his lunch!

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Lunch stop before Harry Furlough’s Rocks.

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Tiderace #2 – Surfing at Harry Furlough’s Rocks.

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Tiderace #3 – Carmel Head was so big and fun to surf!

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Force 6(ish) NW Windy Day On The South West Coast of Holy Island, Anglesey

 

A great day of hiding from the wind and rough water fun on the Porthdafarch-Penrhyn Mawr coastline.  Paddling today were Paul, Richard, Rachel, Pete, Jan, Gary and Geth.

The local flood tide flowed until 13:30.  We played in this tidal stream at Mini Mawr and after lunch, once the flood current had finished, the swell at Penrhyn Mawr.  During the flood Penrhyn Mawr appeared to be in a confused state of huge breaking waves.  We finished the day with a superb downwind run home to Porthdafarch.

 

25 Nov 2017

 

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Porthdafarch – South Stack, 11 Nov 2017

Great conditions for a South Stack trip – 1m 7 seconds SW swell with light F2/3 N wind.  Penrhyn Mawr was superb.

Lots of great company including Ed, Paul, Rich and countless other passing paddler friends.  Photos taken by Geth.

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Anglesey’s North Coast – 28/10/17

A fine day of kayaking on the North Coast.  Ed was trying out his new Tiderace Pace 17 in rough water conditions.  It performed excellently and seems to be the expedition boat that Ed has been looking for.  In addition to rough water we had fun surfing with porpoises.

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