After I had overcome the aches and pains of our Ireland Crossing back in June I had the bug to do another challenge before the year was out. Anglesey looked possible. Not to far to travel, roughly the same boat time as Ireland and best of all would only need a day off work. Elan Winter was keen to do it with me so the planning began....
'When' was fairly easy. We both had a bit of time in September so looked to when the spring tides were. Weekdays were better for Elan to get off from work so we narrowed it down to two sets of dates which both fell on a Monday and Tuesday.
'How' was a little trickier. I had never paddled these waters so I was completely clueless where to start. I started to look at ways in which other people had done it when I came across a blog by Kate Duffus. Her plan made perfect sense and the tides fell almost perfectly with the dates we had in mind. I armed myself with guide books, tidal atlas and charts and we were on our way.
Rather than follow Kate's plan to the letter we planned to leave our start point at Porth Trecastell on the south west coast a little later. So rather than catch the flow along the west coast as it starts to flood, the flow would already be flowing well giving us the best possible push up the west and northern shores. This was a bit of a gamble as it would only give us 7 hours to reach Puffin Island some 40 nautical miles away on the east coast. This would mean averaging around 6 knots per hour. This did have the added benefit of a few more hours sleep however.
'If' we managed to reach Puffin Island on time the tide would perfectly start to ebb down the Menai. If we kept a good pace down the straits the tide would be against for the final 10 miles back up along the south west cost to our starting point. The maximum tide rate here however is 1.5 knots so it wasn't a major issue. It all seemed to make perfect sense so it was time to put it into practice.
And the GPS....well I later discovered because the trip was so long it had used up the track memory and deleted the earlier tracks. It was pointing us to Carmel Head, which explains the 12 miles.