Sunday and a big tide saw Eila Wilkinson take the Pulse out for quite a long non stop paddle.
Starting at Rhoscolyn, 12 hours 18 mins later she landed, a little the worse for wear, back at Rhoscolyn. Eila's 3rd non stop trip around the Isle of Anglesey.
This is Eila's trip report.
Nigel was waiting for me on the beach back at Rhoscolyn - surprised I hadn’t quit! It did become a battle of survival and will! But I didn’t quit.
The first half of the trip the Pulse and I were flying, big tides and calm seas, apart from the tide race at Penrhyn Mawr. I was a little closer into the coast than I thought and quite large waves in the dark at 0545 in the morning can be quite intimidating!
As the sun rose and a beautiful morning emerged My spirits we high. We saw a few porpoises, young razorbills, a few gannets and it was glorious to be out there. It was a fantastic paddle. Loving each minute as the coast sped by.
As requested we checked back in with the Coastguard with an "operations normal" report as we Port Lynas passed us by.
Crossing the large bay from Port Lynas to Penmon Lighthouse the Southerly wind picked up and came out at us from the land. The sea started of just flat, a mass of whirlpools and soon built to sea state 3 or 4.
The Pulse was comfortable and the rudder certainly keeps it going straight. Something that was going to prove valuable as we went through the Swelies on the Menai Straits.
As soon as we passed the bell tolling at Penmon the expected head winds kicked in. I was pretty surprised at the number of sail boats that were out enjoying the wind. I opted to stay well out of their way. You never quite know which direction they're going in.
I was paddling into a F5 and just needed to keep my head down and paddle.
It took much longer than I'd have liked to get to the Menai Bridge but it was great now at full flow and it was fun as I whizzed past the kayakers playing there. I was doing about 10 knots.
The whirlpools and sea was a kaleidoscope of upwellings and silver. Flying past the Swellies Cardinal mark was downright intimidating.
Without the rudder I think I'd have been scooting all over the place as the whirlpools and whirligigs pushed me one way or another.
After passing Plas Newydd the trip became a slog. Wind wind wind. Then more wind. It started to hurt a bit .... concentration!
The straits were a dull grey green brown colour. Not the usual sparkling colours that help to while away the minutes .. Hours..!
It's always a challenge exiting the Striats. Where exactly is that little tiny exit point?
On approach looks like it's land locked. Trust in your compass and trust the bearing is right.
Despite a short hop it took a whole 30minutes from whizzing out of the Strait to have beautiful Llanddwyn island alongside me. It was a very, very long 30 minutes. My longest ever 30 minutes. It was horrible.
The game changed now.
All through the head wind head banging nightmare of the straits I had it in my mind that at least I'd have a tail wind to drive me home.
How mistaken was I. The wind was indeed behind me mostly. However a nasty large side swell was creating perfect conditions for surfers on the big sandy beaches.
Picking my way and having to use the back of my blade to make sure I didn't fall in was taking dominance. I really nearly did twice, fall in that is. A few scary moments.
Maybe it was a different boat as well, not my favoured Pilgrim Expedition, but I wasn't having the best time!!
One big green wave went over my head and broke. It hurt my ear as the water filled it.
All I could think about was landing. I just needed to get off the water. As soon as the beacon at Rhoscolyn came into view my spirits lifted. Of course it's still miles away.
The rain came and with that the visibility went. Just breaking waves to look at and a distant grey line where I knew the coast should be.
My compass was good and we were soon close to shore having passed Rhosneigr.
As I turned the last little corner into Rhoscolyn I was cold and really needed to be off the water.
I spied a white van on the beach in the distance. It couldn't be! Could it be Nigel?
Amazing !! It was. He walked down to meet me. Admitting he was surprised I hadn't quit. He met me with a hot flask of tea and chocolate. My Hero.
That was my 3rd trip. I expect it to be my last. But somehow maybe that's not strictly true..
The Pulse is certainty a fast and stable boat. If I hadn't had the wind I think my time would have been quite different ..