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Winter is definitely on it’s way. I was considering getting my pogies out as we launched our kayaks from Cemaes Bay this Sumday lunchtime. My hands felt the chill as we paddled directly into the Northwesterly wind through some messy surf. Barry and I were joining our friend Roger Chandler from “Coastal Spirit” for a days’ paddling. Roger’s partner, Sonja, wanted to walk their dog while we paddled in what she (very sensibly) considered crazy conditions! Sonja kindly dropped us at Cemaes so that once we’ made it out of the bay, we could turn east and  paddle one way ‘down wind’ to Bull Bay. Going down wind is all very well… but the tide was going the other way!

A few days of strong winds had been kicking the sea up so there were white horses everywhere, and swell crashing into the rocks. The wind wasn’t as strong as forecast but we were carried along quickly by strong eddies close to shore. The sea was exciting – the swell mixing with some rebounding waves, but in the eddies (with the wind and tide going the same way) it didn’t feel too worrying!

Roger and Barry work in this area quite often, taking groups out when the typical SouthWesterly winds batter the west coast, but leave the north coast relatively unscathed. They quickly realised that the ‘crux’ of our paddle would be trying to get around the Northernmost point of Anglesey, near to Middle Mouse, where the tide would be flowing quickly against us. The opposing wind and chunky swell would make it ‘interesting’ and we didn’t take for granted that we’d be able to paddle around!

We could see the whitecaps from quite a distance away. There was no chance of ‘sneaking round’ the headland out of the tide because 3 or 4 metre high waves were crashing into the rocks close in. So we headed into the main flow and some intimidating looking waves. I was making very little progress against the current and needed to catch and surf some waves to make significant ground. That was a bit scary though as some of the waves were steep walls of whitewater that would munch you up and spit you out. On one occasion I aborted from a wave that I didn’t like the look of, only to have it break on my side and turn me around so I was facing back the way I’d come! Fortunately none of the really big ones broke on me, although Roger wasn’t so lucky and had a ‘combat roll’! It worked when he most needed it!

Eventually we all made it around the headland and landed for some very welcome lunch at the brickworks. A few more exciting headlands later and we arrived in Bull Bay for a hot chocolate with big grins. Thanks for Sonja for the photos from land! The video is unedited raw footage from one of the headlands (not the roughest one). It never looks like it feels anyway! Roger’s blog about the day is here.

 

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