Freesteel Blog » Amlwch September paddle and cave rescue practice

Amlwch September paddle and cave rescue practice

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008 at 6:35 pm Written by:

Regular blogging has been delayed due to a lack of pictures. Becka keeps swiping the camera, downloading the files onto her computer because mine is full, and stashing everything away in her own office. But plenty has been happening.

The North Wales Caving Club scheduled a rescue practice in Parys Mountain, Anglesey for Sunday 21 September. The weather was sunny and flat calm, so we got in gear and got out there on Saturday for a paddle out of Amlwch harbour

We dived on a very silty wreck of a barge just outside the harbour. As usual, Chris Holden’s guidebook was spot on, and the anchor dropped right directly onto the metal. Once down, I wrapped it round a post and, because the wreck was small, we left the anchor for a tour round the sea floor and in and over the wreckage. The tide was ebbing and running west towards the Irish Sea, but creating a strong back-eddy that swept north across the wreck. We had to pull ourselves back over the top all the way to the stern where I realized I had no idea where the anchor was. Becka heard me huff. What a screw-up. I always knew that losing contact with the anchor when kayak diving was a bad idea. If we swam we’d have quite a hard climb along the rocky shore. But we found it in the end, which was a relief in an otherwise murky dive.

We paddled along the coast back to the campsite, Becka climbed out, while I carried on to Porth Eilian and carried everything out across the stinky mud while Becka cycled with my caving wetsocks for shoes to fetch the car.

The next day I sent her up to Parys Mountain by bike, while I explored the closed footpaths for a couple of miles between the campsite and the hill, arriving half an hour late. Unfortunately, this delay got upgraded to a dire emergency, and Becka had gone all round the hill twice in a fluster (not finding me, because I was on a footpath), and then gone back to fetch the car. Meanwhile I listened to the rescue scenario briefing waiting for her to show up.

I think we need to get a mobile phone. Or two. Hopefully this will eliminate unnecessary self-inflicted stress situations such as this. Mobile phones don’t improve things, because all of their advantages are adapted away.

We then wasted the afternoon sitting in on a very long Caving Club AGM, instead of making use of the continuing fine weather, because it was windy from the north the next day.

After an hour of dithering, and watching the wind get heavier, we retreated to the shelter of the Menai Strait. Having not looked at the tide tables, it was hard to know what to expect. We paddled from the Menai Bridge up to Bangor Pier, the current flowing with us for part of the way. The book said something about the point of slack water moving down the Strait from Beaumaris over a period of hours. With the wind and tide flow, the anchored boats were in all different directions and it was hard to tell what was going on.

Becka kindly looked after the top-side while I had a quick dive on Perch Rock to the north of the Menai Suspension Bridge. It wasn’t bad, but the visibility wasn’t as excellent as I’d hoped after all that settled weather. It was just at the level where you could see the fish. Normally they stay just beyond the average visibility distance in that water.

We headed back under the bridge to the south side of the bridge into the Swellies. The current was still flowing north. I had another little solo dive near that point where it was all whirlpooly-like. I went down here:

and came up here:

It was a pretty pleasant drift dive along the jagged rock floor while holding the anchor of the canoe. I’d always wanted to do this. Becka said the boat didn’t seem to move until the very end of the dive when I swam a long way looking for some shallower water to do a safety stop. Also, lots of sailboats went motoring through, so it was lucky that there was someone top-side to keep them off. (Two empty canoes always looks a bit suspicious, if you don’t know what the A-flag means.)

And that was perhaps the last sensible diving weekend of the year.


  • 1. Outdoor Activities&hellip replies at 2nd October 2008, 6:54 pm :

    […] Julian placed an observative post today on Amlwch September paddle and cave rescue practiceHere’s a quick excerptThe North Wales Caving Club scheduled a rescue practice in Parys Mountain, Anglesey for Sunday 21 September. The weather was sunny and flat calm, so we got in gear and got out there on Saturday for a paddle out of Amlwch harbour … […]

  • 2. » Bl&hellip replies at 2nd October 2008, 8:49 pm :

    […] Read the original here: Amlwch September paddle and cave rescue practice […]

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