Early Morning Windsurf
I popped out for an early morning windsurf session between the sandbanks in the estuary this morning. High tide was around 7am, but sunrise wasn’t until 8am so I couldn’t really get out before high tide. I therefore left it until it was getting light before heading to the estuary. I rigged my 5.7m sail and a little 80 ltr slalom board and was on the water for 8am. The tide was already dropping so time on the water would be limited.
The wind was around 30 knots ENE. There was only a slight chop on the water though thanks to the relatively small neap tide. This meant that the main sandbanks further out into the estuary were only just covered with water. The air temperature was around 5°C and the sea temperature was around 9°C. Perfect for my 3/2mm summer suit. Although, my hands did get a little chilly at first.
It wasn’t the most exciting session as I was confined to the channels for some flat water blasting. I was hitting speeds of more than 30 knots though which is always fun. There were quite a few times where I could feel my fin ‘tickling’ the tops of the sandbanks. Never a fun feeling! Most of the time this was in locations where I wouldn’t have expected it. The sandbanks and resulting channels seem to have shifted quite a bit.
After a while as the tide continued to drop these ‘tickles’ became more frequent and a little more forceful so I decided it was time to call it a day. That is calling it day for windsurfing at least. Next up was a bike ride that I had to abort as I got something in my eye and couldn’t get it out or see properly!!
The Shifting Sandbanks
I did take a walk down to the estuary at low tide later in the day. Sure enough, the sands have indeed shifted. The main channel has silted up completely. The little sandbank that used to create a small channel next to the beach has gone completely. Instead there is now a single channel that curves around the edge of the beach in a wide arc. Not quite so good as a speed channel anymore due to its curving nature.
Here’s a satellite image of how it used to be with the old Speed Channel marked in red. You can also see the little sandbank close to the beach. I’ve overlaid this with the new channel marked in green and the extension to the main sandbank.
Here are a few photos as well, although it is a little difficult to work out where the channels are but you can see them if you zoom in.
These changes may mean that mid to low-water sailing is no longer possible in the estuary. It might be OK in a dead easterly when we can use the channel that runs S-N out towards the point, but even this has a nasty looking rocky bank cutting across the middle of it.
I did also walk around the point towards Aberdyfi as well just because I could. The bomb squad had been out detonating dodgy devices on the beach!