Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Stacks from Porth Dafarch - 13th July 2013

We arrived at an already heaving Porth Dafarch just after 10am and unloaded the kayaks and parked the car up on the road above the beach. We readied the boats in amongst groups of divers, fishermen and "coasteerers" and headed off in bright sunshine towards Penrhyn Mawr.

With HW Liverpool at 15:10 and just a few days after springs, I was expecting the overfalls to be fairly exciting, but with little swell there was just fast moving water and small waves so we passed through the "outer race" and turned back to paddle up the inland eddy to get some moving water practice.

After playing in the race for a while we set our sights on South Stack staying in the main flow reaching groundspeeds of over 16kph, soon reaching our second objective.

After South Stack we paddled closer inland and lost the benefit of the flooding tide and made our way across the impressive Gogarth Bay towards North Stack. We momentarily contemplated whether it was worth trying to raise the money to buy the old fog horn station that is for sale, but thought it was a tad expensive. It was now midday, and the tide was not due to turn until about 1pm, but there was already flow in the westerly direction at North Stack as we took a quick look around the headland.

We turned around and headed back to Parliament Cave looking forward to basking in the sun that was just creeping into it. However it was not to be - no sooner as we landed and got a brew on, a mist rolled in and blocked the sun for the next hour. We didn't let the lack of sun ruin our leisurely lunch and we were gradually joined by other parties enjoying the fantastic summer conditions.

Heading off again the sun returned and we watched climbers high up on the Gogarth cliffs and explored the large caves as we made our way back towards South Stack.

As we went round the bay the radio crackled into life with a mayday call from a boat that had engine failure and was pinned against South Stack rocks. We were part watching this episode unfold, but increasingly more aware of our own situation as some unexpected swell and wind kicked up some rough conditions. The inshore lifeboat arrived to give the boat a tow and we rounded South Stack to regain some calmer conditions.

We cruised back through Penrhyn Mawr amazed how different it can be depending on the direction of the tide and made our way back to the hoardes of Porth Dafarch, arriving about 4:30pm. Approximately 16km paddled.

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