Sunday, 9 August 2015

'The Island' with Bear Grylls

Unsettled weather was forecast for our second and last day of our North Wales trip.  There wasn't any plan to complete any decent mileage today, just the hope of sheltering from the worst of it.  A paddle of one of the estuaries was an option.  The other option was the hope of sheltering out of the south westerly wind at Abersoch.    
The wind was whistling across the bay at Abersoch next the Yacht Club.  Boats pulled on their moorings, sails made up as dark black clouds threatened to unleash torrents at any given moment.  The plan was to make our way in the lea of the wind as far up the headland as possible.  We would then break out into the wind and ferry over to the Tudwal Islands with the wind at our backs for the return trip.  
It was a bit of a slog into the wind with St Tudwal's East on our far left and St Tudwals near left.
The point of the headland gave way to fast tides and the Atlantic swell.  We push on into the oncoming wind and tide to give us a favourable angle at which to attack our ferry glide over to the first of the Islands St Tudwal's West.    
 Sail up angling our course across tide.
The lighthouse and single storey keepers' dwellings we're built by Trinity House in 1877 to assist schooners carrying slate and other cargo from the queries of North Wales.  Due to an innovative mechanism called a sun valve, invented by a Swedish engineer Gustaf Dalen, the light became unmanned and by 1935 a light keeper was no longer required and the dwellings were sold.  The current occupier is none other than TV personality and adventure Bear Grylls.    
We took a brief respite from the wind on the eastern side of the island, very tempting to try out Bear's waterslide by the jeti.  
We carried on our trip across the short passage to St Tudwal's East.
A slightly more dramatic looking island with steep sided cliffs littered with caves.  The waters off the exposed souther tip were a little more choppy as the swell bounced back of the weathered cliffs.

We decide to explore a little further where waves were breaking over a small reef just over 500m to the east of the island.  Here could be found the odd Grey Seal.  
Back on the sheltered north east side of St Tudwal's East we took our break in the boats drifting past grey seals and sea birds as we munched on our choccy bars and biscuits...

The wind soon greeted us again at the far end of the island pushing us back into Abersoch rounding our short 2 hours trip off to 11km.
Elan giving me a contact tow letting his sail do all the hard work.
An unexpected really enjoyable little trip, probably made all the better by the unsettle conditions.  In all a successful weekend, will have to return up north sometime to explore the rest of this beautiful seascape.    

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