• Glyn Brackenbury

Day 4 Stackpole Quay to Porth Gain

Today was always going to have to be a split day, as turning corner number 2 meant switching from the ebb to the flood. I got on at exactly high tide to try and take some of the sting out of any overfalls at St Govans head. I flew along the south coast pretty quickly and headed past Freshwater West and onto the mouth of Milford Haven, which is essentially a game of frogger across the shipping lane, this transpired to be exceptionally quiet until the Irish Ferries boat came careering round Skokholm island, fortunately my superior pace had him beat...

Most of the time off the water is spent trying to establish very careful tidal calculations to make the most out of the conveyor belt that the sun and moon have kindly afforded you. Today I made all the calculations then chose to ignore them.

I arrived late at Jack's sound. This is the stretch of water between the mainland and Skomer. The water absolutely flies through there, so it becomes what we call a tidal gate, in that when it's going the wrong way the gate has shut and it makes passage difficult. I couldn't make it in time to go with the tide so had to hope I could find a way to squeeze through, knowing I could relax just around the corner and wait for the incoming tide to move on. It was moving pretty fast by the time I arrived but I could see a channel on the right that had the swell being compressed through it which gave me the chance to surf the swell upstream, then as I dropped off the wave sprint to hold position for the next swell to pick me up. This was suitably successful much I'm sure to the disappointment of all the many onlookers taking pictures of the rapids. I crept around the corner and met Lou at Martins Haven for a break and re supply.

I then arrived too early at Ramsey Sound. I think I must be the only kayaker I history to paddle against the current in Ramsey sound and not be heading to the Bitches (famous kayak play spot). I left Martin Haven with big ambition for the flood tide which meant I got too over eager and went early. I essentially burnt all my matches by the time I'd got to the other side of the sound and had to settle for a shorter session which led me to Porth Gain.

After some difficulty in Lou and I meeting up based on a lack of phone signal we finally found each other and enjoyed the finest/only fish and chips in the village which were ace.

Water photos as poor as the phone reception today as I was too busy paddling against the tide... 40.95 miles for the day.

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