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Circumnavigation of Holy Island by JG

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Holy Island by JG

Holy Island. HW Liverpool 12:15 @ 9.1m

This was the one I have had on the bucket list for a while, and it didn’t disappoint. Departing Porth Dafarch at 0930 gave us plenty of time to get to Stanley Embankment. The trip to Rhoscolyn head was swifter than we expected as we were leaving in the dying flood, but picking up the eddie had us ticking off km’s quicker than we thought. We passed Rhoscolyn within the hour and then turned into the Cymyran Strait. As we turned the ebb was just starting and the north westerly wind made us work for it, but with utilising the protection of the islands we made a path to Four Mile Bridge.

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My trip with junior club earlier providing inspirational we were straight through the shoot into the inland sea. This was described to me as a bath with two taps. The inland sea is fed from Four Mile Bridge and Stanley Embankment. The latter comes with numerous words of warning for anyone considering this trip. Timing is pivotal. We arrived at 1230 and the local HW in the inland sea was 1315. The embankment was moving from north to south with playboaters enjoying the waves created. The guide stresses passing through the embankment is potentially fatal when the water is running so waiting for slack water (no movement) is essential. The local HW came and went at 1315 and the embankment eventually went slack at 1328. We paddled through and out towards Holyhead Harbour.

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A quick chat with port control who confirmed the planned departures were still going ahead as planned and we passed the port at 1405 and around the break water as two Iris Ferries set off on their crossings. North Stack in the distance and an ebbing tide we had the tide race to deal with next, after the 5km transit along the breakwater. With the wind over tide we had a bit more swell to deal with but we remained close and enjoyed the ride. As we approached the tide race, we formed our plan and progressed through, passing close to the land avoiding the majority we enjoyed the short ride it gave and everyone through successfully.

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The final sprint was to Penrhyn Mawr before the tide turned again and we would have to retreat towards Holyhead. As we passed South Stack we could see Abrahams Bosom and Penrhyn Mawr and conditions bar some small rolling waves were calm. When one of our group decided to take an expected swim. After boat and paddler were placed the right way up and together, this was put down to fatigue, a reminder for all of us to look out for each other. Penrhyn Mawr on the ebb was reasonably flat and back into Porth Dafarch. 6 hours of paddling and 21.5 miles! A grand day out and one off the bucket list.