After a 9 month build up we gathered on Friday afternoon for our final preparations and a run through of the kit and the logistics plan. Early on Saturday morning we were out of bed, had our breakfast and headed to Anglesey. We were on a high and couldn’t wait to get started.
The first 10 miles were good but a little slow as Rob had problems with his equipment. For safety purposes it was important to stay together so we held back a bit for Rob and made sure we stayed with him. There was plenty of wildlife to see and (seals, porpoises) and changeable sea states to handle. One thing you can say about kayaking around Anglesey is that it’s dfinitely not boring! Each time you hit a headland the sea gave us a new challenge.
We stopped for a break about 19 miles into the day in a beautiful bay with flat seas and it was at this point Rod decided he was slowing us down too much so he made the magnanimous decision to pull out of the challenge to ensure that the rest of us could complete the challenge safely. This was upsetting for all of but we couldn’t change his mind so on we went. The tide was now running at full flow so we made good speed to our next stop but unfortunately David also had to pull out for the remainder of the day as his back problem remerged again.
Mark and I plodded on. But we now had a problem. The delays had meant that
the tide had turned. We were at least 1.5 hours behind schedule and we were facing the biggest tidal flow at Carmel head(Westmouse). We hit it it in full flow in the wrong direction and we tried for a fairly dramatic 15 minutes to make headway but we had to no choice but to give up and head in to a small cove for refuge. It was 6pm by this time and we had no choice but to wait for the flow to slow down. At 8.30pm we decided we should risk it, so we kitted up again and headed out of the cove and hugged the cliffs until we got free of the main flow.
We still had more than 5 miles to go and now we were paddling against the tide. We were only doing 2.5mph when a RIB turned up to offer us a tow, we were very grateful but we declined, determined to make good on our first day. 30 minutes later we were joined by 3 jet skiers who all so offered us a tow, but by this time our speed had picked up to 3.5mph so again we thanked them, declined and continued on our way. We finally arrived at Penryhn bay in the dark, 12 hours after we started. The support crew were there to help us unpack, change and settle down for a fabulous meal prepared by the wonderful Karma.
It was a long day, but overall we felt great and we went to bed in our tents full of anticipation for the day ahead!