Menai Strait

It was impossible for us to exit Conwy marina and navigate the Swellies in one tide, it would only leave us an hour to cover the 15 miles between the two. We left Conwy at 8.45am after a quick cycle to Tesco for a few provisions. A beautiful sunny day, hardly a breath of wind,. We motored round Puffin Island and into the Strait, tried to pick up a mooring but couldn't find anything suitable so decided to anchor . We dropped anchor in a recommended anchorage, The Hole, which, with the tide still quite high appeared to be plum in the middle of the river, but as the tide dropped, the sand began to show in a horseshoe shape around us, away from the channel and the strongest of the tidal flow, we were secure, the pretty village of Beaumaris on the Anglesey side and the mountains of Snowdonia opposite, fabulous......and then a full moon.

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Bliss at anchor off Beaumaris, in The Hole

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As the sun set, the reflection on a window opposite was dramatic

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And then, a full moon

We took the bikes ashore and cycled to a nearby i.e. six miles away, beach for a swim, as we left Beaumaris a road sign warned us of a 25% gradient, if we didn't need a swim before that we certainly did by the time we got there. The beach was very gently shelving and the tide was out, we walked about a mile to the water and then a good way further before reaching swimming depth! The biggest jellyfish I have ever seen was gently swooshing in and out on the waves, consequently we didn't venture far out or stay very long, but the water was clear, cool and refreshing.
Next morning we were pleased to see two yachts appear from the north just as we were preparing to leave for our passage through the Swellies, this was encouraging as it was unlikely that all three of us had got our planning wrong. Both skippers were local and offered to lead us through, we had done our homework and Chris was keen to make his own judgements, particularly as one was going through earlier than we would have dared. We followed the other boat through, but used our own notes and passage plan. It was plain sailing, spectacular and felt quite intrepid, but smooth, sunny and there was plenty of water.
We arrived off Victoria Dock, Caernafon late morning, by this time it was hot, we circled around in the river trying to decide whether or not to go in, marinas can be very hot, invariably high walls block any cooling breeze, eventually we headed south, over Caernafon Bar to an anchorage 'Pilot Bay' on Llanddwyn Island. Our pilot guide describes it as a popular anchorage, but doesn't give any hint of it's beauty, little rocky coves with sandy beaches, a couple of picture postcard lighthouses, fabulous. It was so hot by this time we had to fashion some shade out of a duvet cover and towel, we dived in the water off the boat, sat on deck and relaxed. As the evening drew in, and most other visitors disappeared, we went ashore to explore, to walk round the island which is a heritage site, mythology was the home of a holy woman with a well full of magic eels!

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