Tides, terns and trips to come

This was a trip I managed to talk myself out of, and then back in to, the lure of a new - for me - route to The Skerries with a tail wind and tidal assistance boosting motivation to make the drive south. We'd hoped for northerlies and an afternoon in Penrhyn Mawr - the forecast south-westerly put pay to that idea but then it would be perfect for the crossing from North Stack to The Skerries.
And so we paddled out through the race, enjoying a few surfs in any case, though in loaded boats and messy waves it was a relatively brief affair...
...before heading on around South Stack to take a short break and wait for the tide at Parliament Cave.
From North Stack, the crossing to The Skerries took just over an hour - by the time we were mid way, the tail wind was producing enough of a following sea to surf and after several long rides, I looked up to find the islands suddenly much closer, the race clearly running strongly around the near end, the last half kilometre providing a fitting finale to a fine crossing.
Welcomed by the terns, we stayed awhile, enjoying the sun though the wind felt surprisingly cool...
...departing for Carmel Head shortly after the middle hours of the north-west going stream, the puffins watching our passage around the northern tip of the islands and on, into the confused tidal streams beyond.
Chris ferries across the fast flowing flood stream, though large eddies meant we made numerous changes of direction on the crossing. The strongest flow seemed to be around West Mouse where for a short distance the best way to make progress was simply to paddle directly across the flow.
Nearly there - Tim paddles the last few yards as the sun begins to set beyond The Skerries.
Brian and Chris arriving moments later.
It should have been an idyllic camp but the wind persisted and we ended the hottest day of the year in down jackets and warm hats.
Overnight the wind dropped, leaving a glassy calm sea for our next leg to Point Lynas. An early start would have allowed a fast passage with the tide, but a lie in and lazy breakfast seemed preferable. As it was, the eddies along this northern coastline worked in our favour almost everywhere and we made rapid progress, pausing only for the porpoises.
I took few photos, preferring to concentrate on my technique, and in any case, much of the day looked like this.
In fact there seemed to be something missing. I had enjoyed the previous day's paddling - a new crossing, the tides and terns and the camp. But today, it seemed I was simply paddling to the car. Perhaps it was the familiarity of this coastline, or the lack of movement in the water. With conditions like this on a bigger trip I would be making the most of things, enjoying putting the miles behind me and watching the changing coastline - again I recognised the need for a 'bigger' objective to provide inspiration. I have little desire anymore, to paddle for paddling's sake it seems. But there remain many uncompleted trips that fire the old enthusiasm - those places that inspired my early kayaking. Perhaps the high pressure will hold...

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