Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Bishops and Clerks - West Wales Day 3

This has been a trip I'd like to do for a little while now, so was quite pleased that the weather and sea conditions looked conducive to being able to pull it off. The idea of this trip was to paddle around the small group of islands that lie between one and two miles offshore, west of Ramsey Island. Collectively they are called the Bishops and Clerks.

The principle is fairly straight forward - time the paddle to drop down with the tide to arrive at the South Bishop for slack water, and then come back up with the flood. Easy right? 

As I stop to take a photo, Richard rapidly disappears as I'm swept away from him,
during our ferry glide across to North Bishop
Richard and I paddle out to Saint David's Head, arriving about two hours before the north going stream start. We manage a 4.5 km ferry glide against the south flowing water maintaining a fairly respectable 5 knots across to North Bishop. 

Carreg Rhoson, with the South Bishop and it's lighthouse in the distance
As our transit starts to slip we engage a bit more umph and finally start to gain ground and make it across to the North Bishop.

Richard with North Bishop to right and Carreg Rhoson to left

Going down the west side we experience a bit of swell coming in from the Atlantic - it must get quite serious out here on a rough day. Looking at the chart you can see why as the water depth shallows quite rapidly causing large areas of overfalls.

Seals on North Bishop, with St Davids in the far distance

North Bishop
In the calm eddy behind North Bishop looking down through Carreg Rhoson and South Bishop in the distance
South Bishop and it's lighthouse gradually get bigger as we drop down onto it
Arriving at  South Bishop
Tempted as we both were, the swell was a little bit to big to make for a safe dry landing
 We have a good look around the rock, and then with the little bit of time we had of slack water make our way east towards Ramsey. Within about half a nautical mile off the rock the north going tide suddenly kicks in like a switch had been flicked and we go from just under 3 knots to maintaining a good 6. 

Daufraich in the background as Richard goes to play in some waves just north of South Bishop
Fairly rapidly we are at the north end of Ramsey and repeat the eddy riding trick to get back to the mainland across the Sound, to arrive back at Porthsele, well satisfied. Could have done with a bit more sun though, but that's being picky.

13.2 Nm 24km in 3.75 hrs

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