Inhabited since neolithic times, breeding site for over 7000 Manx Shearwaters, reputed to be the burial place of both King Arthur and Merlin, home to St Cadfan under whose direction St Mary's Abbey was built in 516 AD, declared a National Nature Reserve (NNR) in 1986 and designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its maritime communities, Bardsey Island or Ynys Enlli (the Welsh name being more pertinent to the kayaker perhaps; meaning Island of the Currents) has a well deserved reputation for providing memorable paddling. October 10th was no exception.
After leaving Aberdaron close to HW, we crossed to Ynys Gwlan-fawr, the swift tides hereabouts almost immediately apparent, particularly between Gwlan-fawr and Gwlan-bach.
Heading out across Bardsey Sound, which, whilst the overfalls were avoided, still presented some interesting water.Eddy hopping along the east shore of Bardsey which seemed like another world in the calm water and warm autumn sun.
It didn't last long: approaching the lighthouse, still on the east side of the island, the swell steadily built in volume until on rounding Pen Diban, a mercifully short stretch of water provided a few memorable moments with some big, steep waves of around 2 to 3m.
Having rounded the southern tip of the island, the bigger waves were quickly left behind leaving what was still an appreciable swell, this in turn dropping away as we approached Porth Solfach...
...and an all too brief exploration of the island.
The return crossing proved less eventful, the sound relatively flat although still flowing strongly enough to ensure the ferry glide from Maen Bugail to Carreg Dhu required a little effort.