After the long day yesterday I thought I'd take it easy today and saunter up the West coast, having a pleasant day out. Conditions were perfect, light winds, sunshine, good tide times, so I left my campsite around 0900 and headed West. 

I was right at the end of the tide when I paddled through the Calf of Man sound, but it was still shifting quite quickly, it must be great fun in there when it's in full flow. I don't know what I expected from the Isle of Man, but I was astounded by how good the paddling was, and how beautiful the Sw coastline of the island is. I paddled up to Peel, where I stopped for lunch.

I'd spent a long time studying the weather in the morning to make sure I'd be Ok for a crossing to Scotland tomorrow, and although not ideal, it was certainly paddleable. So whilst eating my fish and chips I checked again, and everything had changed. Tomorrow was off, and looking ahead it looked bad for the next 6 days. I made a quick decision to go now, the problem with the crossing today was that the tide would be against me for 4 hours of the 8 hour crossing. I felt physically capable but I needed to get going because setting off at two o'clock, would have me arriving at the Mull of Galloway at ten!

The whole crossing I was trying to work out a strategy for arriving at the point, on fourth hour spring tides, strengthening wind which was blowing against the tide making the seas bigger, in the dark. After about an hour I felt it best not to think about it.

Dolphins indicated the turn of the tide, I'm sure they were sneering at me, and the ferry glide accross the current began. There's a lot of sea to fit through a small gap, and the overfalls started a lot further off the coast than I was expecting, the good thing about this was it made me paddle faster. As the sun set I was about an hour off the point, I could physicaly see how fast the water was flowing so I kept in line with the lighthouse so as not to drop down past the point as this was where I expected the overfalls to be at their worst. That hour consisted solely of surfing and support strokes, I kept adjusting my angle to stay above the point, and at just before 10 I broke out into an eddy under the cliffs. Delighted but slightly white knuckled.

I now had 2 choices, 30 mins round the corner into the bay ,but that would leave me stuck there tomorrow given the forecast, or 2 hours North into Port Logan, giving me a chance at paddling tomorrow. I went with the latter, and it was on the whole not too terryfying. Coming around one of the headlands I could see that I was surfing along on a tide race, and every 5 seconds there would be a dazzling light from the lighthouse, it was like a scene from a horror film when the lightning strikes, you just try to take in enough information to help you get through the next 5 sec.

By this stage the wind had well and truly arrived but being dead behind me it was quite manageable, the phospheresence (no idea how to spell that, little flourescent organisms that light up when disturbed) in the water were pretty special and helped to sepeed up the last part of the journey.

I landed at Port Logan, dragged the boat up the beach and set up the tent in the dunes, delighted to have got away with a technical crossing in challenging conditions. I don't reccomend it, probably with tide and daylight would be my choice next time! I don't actually know how far I've paddled today, but I'd guess it must be similar to yesterdays distance, I'll need to slow down soon or I'll be there by the weekend!

Further North tomorrow.