Sunday, 17 October 2010

Ramsey Island

After completing the family chores and visits for the weekend I left for Pembrokeshire as the sun was quickly fading Saturday night. Arriving in darkness I slept in the back of the van at the car park at Caerfai Bay.

I woke just as the sun was rising towards Newgale.
A short drive up the road to Whitesands where I had breakfast and packed up my boat. It was 8am and showing 4'C on the van thermometer.

I headed toward St Davids head before letting the tide take me down toward Ramsey Island.

I veered left to have a nose at Porthsele beach.

It was about two and half hours before the tide was due to change so the flow was still going strong.

Reaching Bay Ogof Hen at the north of Ramsey there was a large cave with a curtain of water.
Rounding the head the tide was flowing fast stirring up the water. I had a little play breaking in and out of the flow, something I haven't really had chance to practice much.

The Bishops and Clerks look temptingly close, maybe another day. What turned out a bright day slowly started to cloud over.
Into Aber Mawr Bay and a caught sight of my first seals of the trip. I was still quite far out when a large bull seal popped up snorting and making a splash.

Paddling out of the bay and round into a sheltered cove I stopped to look at my map. I get a big bang on the bottom of my boat and realise grumpy isn't giving up the chase.

Then I see why he's so upset. Literally feet away just behind me was a baby seal, looked new born only about 18inchs long. Another bang and a big splash and it was time to move on.

He continued to follow close behind until I rounded the head into Porth Lleuog. I could make out and hear more seals nearer the shore but kept my distance.

I continued along the south part of the island into the sheltered bay just before Midland Gap.

Midland Gap
I got to the Midland Gap 10mins before the tide was due to turn but it was already flowing quite fast toward me between the islands.

There was a huge cave next to the gap so I went in to explore.

It turned out to be a big arch giving me a side stage view of the race running through the gap. It looked like it was running quite fast with some small standing waves, it would take a bit of a fight to get through there.

Back out of the cave and around the back was another small gap. The water was just deep enough to edge my way through the boulders and out the other side, with a lot less effort.

There were more bays with more seals and fluffy white pups, I kept a good distance not to alarm them.

Up ahead was the Bitches...I hope its clam today, should be it's neap tides at slack water. I don't fancy getting out for a swim today!

Two lone pups on a beach, one in the center and the other flopping down to the water on the right.

I paddle through the archway at the bitches, the tide is running north now. I started to paddle into the beach next to the slipway for a well earned rest stop when another grumpy bull pops up snorting. I notice there are more seals and pups on the beach at the back. Best leave them to it.

The Bitches

Another mug shot

I paddle out from the bitches and up the sound to St Justinian's. There was a bit of flow in the middle but nothing compared to my last visit.

I stop for a drink and a snickers before heading back around into Whitesands Bay.

Landing a Whitesands where I started I felt a real sense of achievement. After my last trip to Ramsey I felt a little on edge all the way around. What a brilliant day!


stoney (Martyn) said...

Nice one Stuart! A bit jealouse though!
I've not done a solo trip around Ramsey yet!
Keep a look out though, I'm there for Half term

Stuart said...

It was a great day. I was a bit worried coming into the sound, didn't know what to expect after last time. Sometimes you just got to go for it like your last post. Hope the weather's good for you when you come down, I bet Connor's looking forward to another paddle!