Meeting up at the paddlers for Breakfast nice and early at <ahem!> 07:30! Sorry Ashley! Ashley made some comment about still being a student and what and earth was she doing up at this time... Not my fault Ashley, blame Si! We fuelled up before deciding to set off from Porth Dafarch. Oddly enough the car park at Porth Dafarch was pretty empty, with no other paddlers in sight! After the usual faff we set off from Porth Dafarch around 09:40 (and yes other paddlers had started to appear). The group of paddlers today were Si, Ashley, Tom, Diane and moi. We set off, up towards Penrhyn Mawr and almost straight away ran into some sizeable swell coming in. The big swell had a huge period, with a group of waves arriving every five plus minutes or so, with not a lot in-between. This pattern continued throughout the day. Mini-Mawr was avoided by all, probably due to the fact we arrived at mini-mawr just as the swell arrived. We hand-railed it around to the old Lifeboat station (Porth Ruffydd) before deciding to head back down, south to Trearddur Bay. This time Ashley and myself both chose to go through Mini-Mawr and had a good run of it, with some waves breaking near us right at the end of the run.
On the way past Porth Dafarch Ashley sensibly decided she really needed suncream as she burns easily, so stopped off at Porth Dafarch to lotion up. The sun was shinning beautifully without a cloud in the sky, but there was a cold breeze, so perfect weather for getting burnt without really realising you were being burnt by the sun. I took the opportunity for a quick surf on the incoming swell.
Then it was onwards to Trearddur Bay, rock hoping where we dared. I got caught out by the big swell attempting to navigate around some rocks only to find the water rapidly disappearing beneath me, exposing bare rock for a second to two, before rapidly filling back up again. I had to back paddle furiously, to try and avoid hitting the rocks. It was a lucky escape, and wasn't to be my last of the day.
In Trearddur Bay the swell was creating some small surf. So I surfed away, as the others took a leg stretch on the beach, sometimes the leg stretch was enforced by the odd swim, but not by me. There were loads of "wild" swimmers in sea at Trearddur - I am sure it does you a lot of good, but way, way, way, too cold for me, even in a drysuit! Leg stretch done it was on to Porth Diana for a spot of lunch and to find somewhere more sheltered from the wind.
After lunch we started heading back up towards Porth Dafarch, once again hand railing the coast and rock hoping as we went. I nearly got caught out following a very shallow route near Porth y Pwll, with just a slightest scrape to my hull as I deftly avoided and picked my way through the rocks. Any less water would have seen me paddling back the way I had come, which by this point was quite a long way, to catch up with the others who chose sensibly not to follow me. Progress was on the whole though very slow. In fact, despite the sun, I was getting cold from the wind due to the exceptionally slow speed we were moving at. Eventually we arrived back once again at Porth Dafarch and Tom and Diane chose to get off.
This then left Ashley Si and myself to continue back up towards Penrhyn Mawr. At Mini Mawr, Si was slightly ahead of Ashley and myself and decide to paddle through. But as I started to go, I could see the big swell coming in. I immediately turned my boat into the direction of the swell and rode out a couple of the waves, before beating a hasty retreat back to calmer water. Si by this point was nowhere to be seen. We could only hope he had made it through to safer water ok before the swell came. The videos from my helmet mounted GoPro and Ashley's Gopro captures the action rather nicely. It's a shame Gopro footage tends to flattern the sea somewhat, as it felt a little more dodgy than it looks. I was sure, having turned my boat into the swell I would be pushed back into the rocks behind me, whereas in fact I had plenty of room. I was also conscious of the fact there are rocks in there, which do come to the surface on the trough of the wave. With the swell having passed us, Ashley and I continued through mini-mar to find Si, safe and well on the other side. Phew!
Not long after this we bumped into Mirco, who was returning from a session in Penrhyn Mawr, had a chat and paddled back to Porth Dafarch with. Back at Dafarch there was the big swell coming in again and I was able to catch a wave, next to the rocks and get a big fast surf into the bay. What a great end to an Ups and Downs day.
12.3 nm 5 hr 25 min