We woke to a flat sea and blue skies. Everything was looking good for a successful second day. Our plan was to get around Holyhead before the tide started to run again so I allowed 1.30 hours to do the first 5 miles but I hadn’t counted for the spring tide.
We averaged 6mph+ to North-stack so we were now 20 mins ahead. This meant we encountered a tidestream at North-stack but SouthStack and Penrhyn Mawr were a walk in the park. South Stack lighthouse provided us with one of the most spectacular views of the trip. So I was very happy at this point. Unfortunately David’s back gave way again and it was clear he was in a great deal of pain. It was going to be impossible for him to complete the long crossing that lay ahead and he made the extremely difficult and heart-breaking decision to pull out of the rest of the challenge. The long crossing that would dominate day 2 offered no refuge and no turning back, so it was absolutely the right decision for Dave to take, but none the less difficult for him after months of training,
We pulled in to Porth Dafarsh Bay which took us out of the main tidal flow but gave us an opportunity to stretch our legs before we set of on our first 29 mile ocean crossing so I was very happy! We gave Dave a hug and wished him all the best with his back. Now it was just Mark and I left. The two oldies!
We set of From Porth Dafarsh averaging 4mph, after about an 1 hour we reconnected with the tidal flow, which soon had us traveling at 6mph. We felt great as we headed towards the horizon, losing all sight of land. We’d arranged for Rob (Read) and Rob Douglas to bring one of Sea Shepherd UK’s RIBs out to the half way point to give us an opportunity for a toilet break and another final leg-stretch.
We now had the same problem ahead of us as on day one because we had lost time taking David in to the bay. It was important though that we had escorted him to safety. We couldn’t have let him go to the bay alone in his condition.
We knew we were going to lose the tide before we hit the far coast line, so we left the Robs and after more paddling, we could finally make out the silhouette of the Llyn Peninsula coast line in the distance. We made good time for the next 3 hours but slowed right down to about 3mph when we were 5 miles from our destination at Porth Colmon. We’d lost all tidal assistance and it was a long hard slog. We were certainly very glad to see our support team of Jackie and Karma waiting for us on the slipway at Porth Colmon.
Day 2 was an incredible experience. Paddling out of sight of land was something I will never forget. I was nervous about it before the day started, as
the refuge offered by hugging the coastline always gave me a sense of security. Today that security was gone. All the training we’d done couldn’t have prepared us for the sensation of being such tiny dots in a massive sea. Mark suffered with swollen wrists and I was suffering from an uncomfortable bum, but we felt good. We felt that we had a very good chance of completing the challenge. With a combined age of 102yrs between us, we felt on top of the world (if a bit knackered!)