Waiting for the Tide to Drop
Monday morning was lovely here. No wind, blue skies and with a backdrop of snow on the hills. It was only 3ºC when I headed out for a surf ski paddle. The tide was high and there was a short period, sloppy wave breaking on the pebbles. It was actually a little bigger than I was expecting and it made launching from the pebbles something of a challenge. I had to time it right to miss the bigger waves. I then quickly waded in to chest deep water so that the back of my ski was in the water, jumped on as a wave tried to push me back to the beach and then paddled out. It wasn’t easy but I made it without mishap.
As I paddled away from the shore I decide that I didn’t really fancy doing it in reverse to get out. My paddling speed accompanied by the push from the waves was likely to throw me onto the pebbles. I therefore decided to head off for a longer paddle than originally planned so that the tide had time to drop off the pebbles.
Paddling up the Dyfi
I headed off towards the mouth of the estuary and then picked up the swell and incoming tide towards Aberdyfi. It was quite choppy and confused over the bar and into the mouth of the estuary. Things calmed down a little once I was alongside Aberdyfi though with just the swirl of the current to contend with.
The sun was shining, the hilltops were covered in snow and there wasn’t a soul about. Huge flocks of oyster catchers rose from the rocky promontories as I headed further into the estuary. There was a slight cooling headwind to ripple the water but nothing too severe. Geese, ducks and seabirds were my only companions. I did see the train whizz past at one point and there were a couple of people on the shore at Smuggler’s Cove Boatyard as I continued inland.
As I headed towards Ynyshir RSPB Reserve I followed the first meander of the river and here the water became silky smooth. Sheltered from the slight breeze, there wasn’t a ripple troubling the water surface. I glided effortlessy along. Well, it wasn’t entirely without effort as the tide had now turned so I was paddling against the flow. The calm waters made it look effortless if nothing else.
I glided under the railway bridge at Dyfi Junction, made a wide arced turned and started heading back the way I came. I stopped briefly on the emerald green grassy banks at Glandyfi. Having not planned to be out for this long I had no snacks with me and nothing to drink. They would have been handy now. Without any sustenance I didn’t stop for long, just time for a couple of photos and to stretch my back.
Back towards the Sea with the Tide
I was soon back on board my ski and making my way along the northern side of the estuary. The tide was ebbing ever faster so my pace stayed high despite growing fatigue. The light wind had eased once again so things were actually a little flatter as I passed Picnic Island and Aberdyfi. In fact, as I headed out towards the bar it was clear that the wind was now northerly and once again I could feel it as I headed out to sea. Things were of course lively through the channels and over the bar. There was still quite a swell rolling in out to sea as well. I turned south, back to where I started and was glad to see that the tide had dropped off the pebbles making my landing a simple and very safe one.
Not a bad Monday morning!