Can't Win

Day 80 – Borth to New Quay – 8th Aug – 21.4 nm

The police came by at 10:30 pm. We were parked by a ‘No Camping’ sign but they didn't seem fussed and left us to it. We took that as tacit approval and I set the alarm to check the height of the tide in the early hours, then we slipped towards the land of slumber. It looked like a pleasant spot to get a good night’s sleep.

The first little-willy car arrived just after 11:00; the beach became a race track, roaring around – drifting and donuts. More came, some went, but they roared all through the night. We had intruded on their playground and they had a point to prove. They were so close to the van that, in the morning, we found the sides spattered with sand from the spinning wheels as they went by. When the final alarm chimed, sleep had been just over an hour long.

As we roll back into Borth, life is slow and clumsy. Minds are confused and hands are uncoordinated. It doesn't feel like the start of a new day, more like the continuation of the last one. 07:30 on the water to catch a few hours of morning ebb again. The weather is good, there is a touch of an off-shore breeze but that is all, no swell or chop today.

As the sun comes up the land breeze and the sea breeze start to contest the territory and I reap the benefits, it goes calm and steady, stress-free progress is made southward.

Today’s routeing is a straight-line to Aberaeron, we’ll make a decision there. The book says I should get tide behind me until lunchtime. The route keeps me a little way off-shore, so there’s not a great deal of detail to see but the smooth conditions allow for plenty of the Ceredigion scenery to be absorbed.

Team Manager has parked up in Llanrhystud and is walking back along the cliffs, watching the Red Kites as she goes. I'm a mile or two off-shore here so I don’t spot the mad stalker waving at me, but it is so calm that she can spot the Taran out in the bay, at the point of the V-wave.

Once again the book is an hour or so out and I start to run out of tide. I'm struggling to stay awake and feeling rather rough anyway, so I land on the rocky beach at Aberaeron and we meet up in yet another car-park. It's a good kit-drying day, windscreen-dried clothes rapidly make the completely-dry-crusty'n'salty stage. The sun is out, it’s pretty warm and I soon doze off into mouth-drooling oblivion.

It’s another 4 hour mid-day wait, but as the tide turns the wind arrives. No great surprise, this looks like the 3 o’clock wind to me. The forecast is for a strengthening breeze later too. Still sleepy, so motivation is hard to find, but the job has to be done, reluctantly the boat is hauled down to the water.
As I head out and pass the harbour, it starts to dawn that this might be a little more than a breeze. Things quickly progress to splashy, then bouncy and into lumpy. It’s hard going into the wind now and after an hour I sneak into the shelter of New Quay Bay. Take a breather here and then I paddle around to the other side of the harbour, to watch the wind over tide waves rolling in by the headland. I'm getting the feeling that we might not progress much further today.

A dolphin-watching boat is heading out of the harbour; they disappear in a teeth-rattling way around the headland, the boat riding heavily up and over the waves. I'm just going to paddle to the corner to take a look when they swiftly re-appear – no dolphins then? Strange that.

I think it has been pointed out to the boat driver that the folks at the back aren't really enjoying themselves any more. He’s not daft though, a slow lap in the shelter of the bay negates the need for a refund.

No, we’re done too. No more today.

It’s an August Saturday evening and everyone is making up for the poor weather recently, the place is heaving and no-body is in a hurry to go home. TM arrives in a rather stressed state, van-sized parking spaces are rare in New Quay it seems. We walk up the hill and look for food.

 As we head further south I am starting to broaden my cosmopolitan culinary horizons, we splash out on a pizza.