Kris was already at our meeting point as we arrived at the Point Lynas roundabout. No more than a couple of minutes later, we were joined by Wendy with her Rockpool Isel demo boat. We quickly unloaded the boats, before moving the cars back up the hill to the carpark. As expected the north coast was flat, but we already knew there would be parts of our trip where we would be exposed to the wind. It would be hard going at times. The forecast was for F5, gusting to F7!
The Rockpool Isel Wendy brought along was a lovely boat to look at and very well made. There is a great degree of attention to detail with Rockpool boats. Proper quality!
I did a quick beach brief using SHEETS before we set off and I called our trip into the coastguard. The plan was to paddle from Point Lynas to Porth Wen on the remnants of the ebb tide, into the wind. Stop for some lunch in Porth Wen, before catching the flood tide (and following wind) on the way back. What could be better for demo'ing a new boat Wendy?
Initially, we were sheltered from much of the wind by the cliffs, but as we rounded the various headlands on the way to, and including Bull Bay, the wind made its presence felt. I was quite enjoying battling with the wind in a strange way. I think the others were enjoying it too! It was hard at times, but not impossible by any means.
At Bull Bay we continued onto Porth Wen. As we entered Porth Wen the wind was immensely strong, a katabatic wind blowing out of the bay and whipping the sea up. Keith and I ventured out into the bay, but I rapidly decided, with the strength of the wind and sea state, it wasn't worth it and called Keith back to the others. We were going to have to return to Bull Bay for lunch.
Having turned back from Porth Wen, we were now wind and tide behind us and it felt effortless paddling along. Bull Bay was reached in about a third of the time it had taken us to paddle from Bull Bay to Porth Wen.
Whilst all this was going on, we heard the coastguard broadcast a mayday from a solo sea kayaker, just around the corner of Point Lynas, at Ynys Dulas. Apparently they'd got into trouble near the island and set off a flare. This was luckily spotted by a member of the public, who called the coastguard on 999. We can only assume they had no radio. What surprised us was how long it took for the rescue, it must have been well over an hour. I don't think I would have liked to have been in the water for that long in those temperatures. From what I've heard since there was one one very cold hypothermic paddler who had swallowed a lot of sea water… fortunately they didn’t need any further medical treatment in hospital.
After a pleasant lunch in a sheltered spot in Bull Bay, we set off back to Point Lynas. It was a quick return trip. Back at Bull Bay Kris and Wendy did some rescue practice and I decided to practice my roll in preparation for practicing a reentry roll. I then decided to abort doing a reentry roll, it was far too cold.
I think Wendy rather liked the Isel!
We did a debrief at the end of the paddle and everyone had a good day.
What an excellent paddle!