Well what a day. My fortieth birthday. Early rise at 4.45 and a wee faf to get the boats to the water as we left at low tide.
The morning looked good with minimal wind and no rain and a mildly flat sea. There was going to be a tail wind but for now we has a quaternary to beam wind. The swell wasn’t anything to worry for now and we took our bearing. Heading off into the big blue yonder. It’s such a significant step to feel confident and compitent enough to paddle off towards nothing. Every hour we would stop for a snack break for about 5 mins peeing is optional.
As we paddled away from Wales we would turn around to keep a check on the tide drift. We were being blown off course as. Well as the tide so we changed our course to suit. The Welsh coast getting further away.
There was an unexpected visit from a porpoise. It was virtually right out the water so close to us. This gave me a good feeling. The closest I had been.
The occasional bird flew close to us, checking us out, showing off, using the wind to it’s advantage.
There was a big seal at one point, miles off shore. It popped it’s head up with a massive half eaten fish. It didn’t see us first, turned it’s head and dropped the fish. The torn fish body left floating as we paddled away.
The land had disappeared from sight and there was nowhere in sight. What a feeling. This is the longest open crossing I have done and was excited and happy to be doing it. This is the breaker of the whole trip. A feeling of self proof that we can do it.
By now we had eaten our wraps and chocolates. I’ve found a new favourite, squeezy jam and oat cakes. Now my new favourite, (sorry peanut butter).
After 9 ish hours in there was land ahoy. We broke open the Galaxy caramel bar and had a big smiles going on. Ok all was not finished yet. We still had a long way to go but at least there was land. This is one of the hardest bits, the sighting of land doesn’t mean we were there. Salt had dried on my neck and was irritating the neck gasket and my hands looked like they were going to fall appart.
The sun then started going down and it was so beautiful. The best on the trip so far. Planes were landing and there were lights of an airport. It was clear we wouldn’t make our assumed landing point. Some quick decisions were made and head torches were gotten out. The usual checks were done and discussions obout places to get out, potential landing problems and how we felt.
The tide had turned so plan B was in effect. We visually scouted and searched for landing options. There was a small headland and we paddled around it, moving out the way of some rolling breaker. In too the sheltered side and there was a harbour light. Phew, no need to get totaly involved in a difficult landing. 94 km and I wasn’t finished yet. Katie landed and I paddled around the harbour for an extremely 55 minutes. I wanted to get to 100km. That’s my birthday present to myself.
Joe Leach had sent a message to his Mum. She arrived and escorted us away. Wow what a day. 40th birthday and 100 km and I was on the Isle of Man. What a day indeed.