I haven’t been in a sailboat ever before, though I had been part of a marine survey team and that was with zodiacs, dories and a little Shetland cruiser (which always threatened to become a submarine in heavy seas).
There we were on the beach at Porth Diana in Trearddur Bay presented with a clear, sharp blue sky with a bitter edge to a blustery wind on Saturday. Not enough to put us off though.
I looked at our captain and decided that I’d better pay attention to his instructions. Better as a good friend than Ahab, I must admit.
SETTING SAIL FROM PORTH DIANA, TREARDDUR BAY
We were togged up in warm clothes and life-preservers as we were transported in a little dingy out to the 22 foot little sailboat at anchor in Porth Diana, Trearddur Bay.
Out of the shelter of the Trearddur Bay Sailing Club we called up Holyhead Coastguard to inform them of our plans, number of people and estimated time of return.
When sailing on Anglesey or even fishing then for safety's sake and to ensure a pleasurable day then Check Out Anglesey Tide Timetables HERE
N.B - A massive thank you to the people of Holyhead and Anglesey who worked so hard to persuade the government of the importance of a localised Coastguard station.
We specialise in big seas around here and with Welsh names to much of our coastline it was vital to keep it here. Time would have been wasted with a Scots service seeking to respond quickly.
Congratulations and Thank You.
SAILING ON ANGLESEY
Doesn’t a little sail boat go up and down in a three foot swell, gusting wind with the tide against you?
It took us an hour or so to sail around the wonderful Rhoscolyn Headland to arrive around the beacon on Ynysoedd y Gwylanod.
The Good Captain and I exchanged tales of climbing the VS route Icarus. He had enjoyed the feel of the rock and me not so much. I am a slate softie.
We had hoped that we could catch ourselves a mackerel for lunch but they weren’t biting. It would have felt a bit unsettling to have dispatched a little creature to add to our day.
I tend to do my hunter gathering at Lidl and Aldi.
By the way our Good Captain allowed me to take the tiller for most of the journey while he snoozed with one gimlet eye on me.
LAND AHOY, CAP'N!
As we came through the little isles into Cymyran we sort of ran aground, much to the puzzlement of our Good Captain. It seems that the sandbank below us was not as stable as it has been.
It has shifted, so up came the keel as we scraped across into deeper water.
Plas Cymyran passed by on our right (it’s where my mother was born) just before the Ramon Cabrera Rhoscolyn Lifeboat Disaster on December 3rd 1920, which stole away two of Great Uncles: Evan and Richard Hughes.
They are now buried together under the Lifeboat Memorial at St Gwenfaen’s Church in Rhoscolyn.
The story in the family is that Richard was washed overboard and Evan dove in after him.
FEEDING A MUTINOUS CABIN BOY
The engine is on now as we make our way up the tidal river that runs from Fourmile Bridge and our mutinous cabin boy is desperate for a barbecue.
I stood there for ages just looking at our noble little craft parked, anchored for’ard and aft against the very soft sand.
Our Good Captain said we had an hour until High Tide and then we would sail back down past Plas Cymyran and out into open sea again.
I could smell smoke and found our Mutinous Cabin Boy, Madam X and the Good captain engaged in what looked like a Native American inhalation ritual without the tepee.
The Good Captain settled down to read his Guardian newspaper while the rest of us ate a French meal of one item after another washed down with a can of lager.
The sausages were lovely, grown and made on Anglesey.
The carbon footprint was mostly local to the keeper of the barbecue.
Such is the joy of sailing on Anglesey that each little cove and bay presents an opportunity for genial company and engagement with such delightful natural island beauty.
AFTER A DAY'S SAILING ON ANGLESEY
HIGH TIDE ARRIVES ABD WE HEAD FOR HOME
High Tide came and so back to the boat. The tide had risen and most of the beach gone. The sand already soft was now a quicksand. The Good Captain gave our Cabin Boy and Madam X a fireman’s lift, which I declined and just waded in.
When sailing on Anglesey or Fishing then for safety's sake and to ensure a pleasurable day then Check Out Anglesey Tide Timetables HERE
Getting out beyond the sand bank was no longer a problem. Our Captain then navigated the area with his depth gauge to build up a profile of the changes to the sandbank.
Before we head back for Porth Diana we head out to have a look at the beacon on Ynysoedd y Gwylanod. Employing the engine we pull closer and closer and can the shell holes in it from target practice during the war probably.
AFTER A DAY'S SAILING ON ANGLESEY
MUSSELS FOR SUPPER
Our Good Captain tells us that metal from the small gauge shells remains embedded in the concrete.
The tide is now against us again, having turned and the swell is about the same. Pulling up a small sail I am surprised that the tiller, with engine running, is far easier to handle, although my knuckles remain white with the responsibility for my brilliant friends.
The Good Captain snoozes again most of the way back to Trearddur Bay and takes the tiller to bring us back safely into Porth Diana.
That evening we went for a lovely meal at the White Eagle Pub in Rhoscolyn, joined by two other friends. Here I enjoyed a very scarce item on any Anglesey menu: Menai Straits Mussels.
I got embarrassed eating them because I was served with so many and had to insist the others order their dessert while I slurped and dipped my bread in the liquor.
The Anglesey Mussels were better than those I’d enjoyed with a half bottle of rosé in the Old Port in Marseilles.
But why not? After a day sailing on Anglesey then anything is possible.