Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Windy Day in Anglesey

Saturday 29th December was a windy day and I had been out only once for a couple of food essentials. The wind was blowing from the South West and I remarked to the check out operator at the supermarket in Amlwch that the building had been built in their favour. So often you see staff shivering with cold as the open doors of the supermarket allow in the cold wind.
We we watching the cross country skiing from the Czech Republic when my wife suggested we should go out for a drive to see the waves that the present wind would be creating on the sea. I was keen to do this because I was bored and the skiing was just about to finish. I grabbed my camera, we jumped in my car and set off across Anglesey for Treaddur Bay where we could see the waves without leaving the car.
The sea was, indeed, quite lively, at Trearddur Bay this afternoon. The largest waves sent spray flying high into the air. It was quite spectacular to see it. Then, as we usually do, we set off along the road that winds back the long way to Holyhead. From this road there are numerous sea vistas that reward travellers. Eventually we came to the junction with the road to South Stack lighthouse. The sun was beginning to set so we thought it might look good from the car park, high above the lighthouse. I managed to get this photograph before setting off via Holyhead on the way home. As we like to drive along past the Maritime Museum we again went that way. We suddenly noticed the huge waves breaking over the massive breakwater that protects Holyhead harbour from the prevailing south westerly winds.
Once more we parked up and watched the waves tumbling over the high wall on the breakwater. I remarked to Pauline that one day I would like to travel along the breakwater which is about 2 miles in length. Beyond the breakwater we could see a freighter which seemed to be at anchor. We were surprised it was not sheltering in the harbour. The light began to fade and the lights of the ship came on as did the lights of the special pier for the Anglesey Aluminium Company. It was time to leave.
Little did we realise until a short time ago, when I was browsing the BBC News website, that a drama had enfolded about lunchtime involving the breakwater. A man and his 2 sons from Nelson in Lancashire (we also come from Nelson!) had been fishing at the end of the breakwater when the wind increased sending huge waves over the wall. They called the lifeboat for help. Oddly enough, the lifeboat is kept in the marina on the quiet side of the breakwater so it was there anyway. The inshore boat was launched with the all weather boat on stand by. All they could do was to escort the van along the breakwater as it dodged the waves. As each series of waves ceased they drove further along until they had cleared the dangerous part.
So now we have a practical demonstration as to why the breakwater was built and why it is so long! As we drove past the inner harbour the fast Stena catamaran was moored in calm water.
If you have an interest in shipping there is an interesting website, and this gives the positions of ships in the Irish Sea. I can always tell if the Stena Adventurer is in port at Holyhead and whether the Prince Madog is in the Menai Strait. Many ships shelter off our coast on the north east of Anglesey as it gives excellent shelter for 5 miles into Liverpool Bay. Often they are are anchored until the Liverpool pilot can guide them to the port.


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