We left our anchorage at Fishguard in the dark at 04:30 after a very quiet night at and got underway with a full moon and a flat calm sea. The forecast for Cardigan Bay was the wind 3 to 4 , 5 at times so we set alternative courses for either Pwthelli or for clearing the Lllyn Peninsula. Either way it would be a head wind and we would see which would be the best for comfort when we got going.
Chris had worked out the tides as usual and we had a favorable current all the way across Cardigan Bay giving us a good speed and a fairly comfortable ride. I hadn’t appreciated how far offshore we would be in the middle of Cardigan Bay and in fact it’s about 30 miles which placed us only just clear of a firing range so the shells they fire from the mainland must be travelling at least 25 miles!
The forecasted wind did pipe up and I can say yet again that we had our roughest crossing ever and once we got to the north half of Cardigan Bay it was really quite uncomfortable and we had to reduce sail again.
We had decided to go round the outside of Bardsey Island to avoid the overfalls so when we turned the corner we lost the tide as well so it became a very slow passage. We made the turn at about midday and it took hours to get level with Porth Dinllaen. For added interest we had plenty of Crab Pot markers to avoid which were well hidden by the spray and the lumpy seas.
At 17:30 we turned towards the land to have a look into Porthdinllaen but I knew what we would find due to the fact that the bay is totally exposed to the northeast wind.
The yachts in there were all bobbing madly and the white horses were everywhere. What a disappointment – the Tye Coach Inn is one of our favourite places. So reluctantly 10 minutes later we turned around and put the next waypoint into the plotter as C2 – Caernarfon Bar buoy.
I had hoped that as we approached Caernarfon bar and it’s sand dunes we would get a respite from the headwind and the short steep wind over tide waves which were really hammering us, but it didn’t happen, it just went on and on.
Caernarfon bar has to be crossed at the right state of the tide so we had to wait till at least 8 p.m. to do this so our waiting time was spent pounding away slowly getting nearer to it which we actually did at 9 p.m..
At this point we were able to see all the familiar landmarks Caernarfon Castle Fort Belan, Llandwyn Island and one or two of the tiny channel markers ahead of us.
It is a bit like the Lune channel – small buoys which are prone to shifting and possibly not very well lit and also a long way apart, so you really wouldn’t want to do this with onshore wind and at night – in the event we were there only just in time, the sun was setting but fortunately the northeast wind was abating and we were in the Lee of Abermenai point at last.
We were finally tied up and finished in Victoria dock Caernarfon at 21:50 and had a very hearty breakfast after 17 and a half hours at sea. Thank goodness we had a pilot house boat.
It hardly felt like we had two nights in Caernarfon it was so late when we arrived on the first day. We had a good rest over two nights and went through the swellies at 10 a.m. on May 31st then had her a quick ride up to Beaumaris where we had intended to pick up a mooring for the next night. However as it was overcast and chilly it didn’t look very attractive to spend 14 hours swinging on a buoy so we thought we might as well carry on to Conwy. We missed out on the views of Snowdonia crossing Dutchman bank as the whole area was very misty and we could only just see Puffin Island in the murk.
Friday 1st June Conwy to Glasson or Piel.
Another early start, we left Conwy Marina at 01:10hrs and went down the river with good visibility and no wind. An hour later after clearing the fairway buoy we had a VHF call from a boat “Nightsong” arriving in the river from a long trip from Whithaven with very poor visibility crossing the Liverpool shipping lane. They were concerned that they might be on a collision course with us. This turned out to be the case and we had to take avoiding action.
Poor visibility was all we had for the rest of the trip home. We saw absolutely nothing until we were passing the OSI Installation https://www.offshore-technology.com/projects/bhp/
Around midday we passed Lune 1 buoy and slowly made our way up the river.
We came into Glasson Dock as Helga and Serendipity were setting off from their moorings for a trip to Piel.
Sandpiper served us well, what a well thought out boat design for a boat built in the 1980’s.