A thrilling tour on super powerful rib boats
Excitement, high speed turns & donuts, open seas, spectacular wildlife, stunning views and the odd tale or two thrown in to keep you thrilled and entertained! In this blog, we (Louis and I) took a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) ride tour around Puffin Island on a rather wet and windy July afternoon . Of course, it’s just typical that the weather up to that point had been pretty damn glorious .
Fortunately, we were quite prepared for the weather. Regardless of whether it’s cracking the flags or not, it’s recommended you bring at least a waterproof jacket as it’s likely you’ll get wet!
With a number of operators and options to choose from in taking a boat trip to Puffin Island, we opted for the high-speed RIB with Seawake at Anglesey Boat Trips, launching from Beaumaris Pier. Note that this particular tour isn’t dog friendly, for obvious reasons.
You’ll find details and a special offer for Gwendon guests at the end of this blog.
‘The Beast’ is the original high-speed RIB (and probably still the coolest RIB on the Menai Strait). She’s licensed to carry 12 passengers and 2 crew and powered by twin Mercury V8 outboard engines that produce a whopping 500HP.
After the safety briefing, we were introduced to our skipper, ‘Dangerous Dave‘. Actually, Dave turned out to be a fountain of knowlege, a teller of fantastic history and stories, and most importantly, not at all dangerous (safety is no. 1 priority), but his donut skills and occasional high speed manoeuvres certainly added a fun element to the tour and showed off the power of this phenomenal boat!
The journey to Puffin Island
Safety briefing done, we boarded The Beast, looking out at the pretty coloured houses of Beaumaris, and headed eastward from Beaumaris Pier toward Puffin Island – a delightful journey lasting about twenty minutes along the Menai Strait. Along the way, our skipper showed off the power of the RIB with a series of donuts, which served to both thrill and slightly scare all on board (in a good way)!
Passing a shipwreck - The Hoveringham II
On our way to Puffin Island, we passed a strange shape jutting out of the water, with a bunch of Cormorants perched on top of it. This was the shipwreck of The Hoveringham II, a sand dredger built in 1954. It sank in 1971 after it struck a submerged object and developed a leak while en route from Liverpool bay for Port Penrhyn with a cargo of sand.
All crew were rescued but the vessel sank and remains lying on its side. At low tide, it’s pretty impressive, but sadly this is all that was exposed on our trip.
Trwyn Du (Penmon) Lighthouse
Trwyn Du Lighthouse at Penmon (Black Point) sits near a shingle beach on private land currently owned by the Baron Hill estate in Beaumaris, but allows access for a small fee payable at Penmon Priory. The lighthouse was built by Trinity House in 1838 to warn maritime traffic in the area about the stretch of water between the Black Point and Puffin Island at the northern entrance to the Menai Strait.
This body of water known as Puffin Sound can be extremely dangerous.
The Lighthouse bears the inscription NO PASSAGE LANDWARD on the side nearest the beach because at high tide, the rocks are hidden and maritime traffic might just think that they can pass through on the landward side. Penmon lighthouse can only be fully accessed at very low tide, and even then, the surrounding rocks are covered in seaweed and are very slippy.
Known in Welsh as Ynys Seiriol, Puffin Island is a little jewel that sits just off the tip of the eastern side of Anglesey at the most northerly entrance to the Menai Strait, facing the famous Penmon Point Lighthouse. This uninhabited tiny island is a haven for wildlife. Its name is given to the Puffins that inhibit the island duing breeding season, which generally runs between April – July.
Once home to a monastery, the ruins of which can still be seen today, Puffin Island is a sanctuary and nesting site for a number of sea birds and other wildlife. Comorants, Shags and the Altantic Grey Seals are residents here year round and they can be seen in high numbers.
Outside of the main breeding period, a lot of these breeding birds will remain out to sea. As well as Puffins, Razorbills, Guillemots and Kittiwakes are regular visitors.
Our boat gently circled around Puffin Island, making sure to keep a safe distance to ensure the least disruption to the wildlife. We took our trip towards the end of Puffin season, so the majority of them had already migrated off the island. Still, we were privileged to spot three of them (by we, I mean Lou – I was too busy trying to get a snap of them, so I actually missed out), along with a seal or two, which were were absolutely chuffed to see!
Finally, we headed back to Beaumaris Pier, where Dave put his foot down (so to speak) and we picked up some serious speed! The power of the RIB was awesome during turns, twists, tumbles & donuts.
We arrived back, soaked in both the scenic adventure and our wet clothes. The Beast provided a truly exhilarating and unforgettable ride. We’ll order some sunshine next time (or mini windscreen wipers for our glasses).
Duration and cost
There are several operators for boat trips that embark from both Beaumaris and Menai Bridge. From high-powered RIBs to more sedate cruisers, (safe for babies, gran and your four-legged friends).
We chose Anglesey Boat Trips from Seawake, which operate two RIBS, departing daily from Beaumaris Pier LL58 8BS. Below are prices at the time of writing, but visit their website for their most current prices.
Tel: 01248 716335
** SPECIAL OFFER **
Email or call to book your trip and get 10% off if you mention Gwendon Holiday Home!
The beautiful town of Beaumaris is situation around 35 mins drive away from Gwendon. There are several car parks in the town, with the main one being the Green. The rates for the Green are £6 for up to 24 hours if entering before 6pm and £3 if entering after 6pm. There are also pay and display car parks located above the Castle heading out of town on the left, and at the leisure centre Canolfan Beaumaris.