03 April 2022

Red Wharf Bay on a cold day

With a bit of a delay we would get our first trip in the Earth, Climate and Evolution module. We should have gone to Cwm Idwal in February, but that was cancelled because of severe weather warning. Now it was late March and we would go to Red Wharf Bay. We didn't have any dates in the diary that had convenient tides, so I had postponed the departure from Bangor for this trip. I travelled on the bus with the students, together with Lynda. We would meet Jaco in the bay.

The bus drivers told me they couldn't drive down to the parking lot anymore; they would have to drop us off by a junction. I let Jaco know. He texted back that we shouldn't be in a hurry; the tide was still too high and we couldn't get onto the beach. Oh dear! I had counted on the beach being accessible when we would get there some two hours after high tide. This might have something to do with the onshore winds I couldn't have predicted when I booked this.

We went to the parking lot and met Jaco. The tide was indeed too high! We decided to go to the far end of the trip and do all of it backwards. We have done that before. It was cold and the sea was still high when we got there. We just did our spiel. Then we walked in the opposite direction. Jaco had retreated to the restaurant with his group and was gesturing at us. We joined him. We had our lunch break. And when that was done we walked back to the start and had a good look at the big limestone cliff which is one of the highlights of the trip. We also could show the palaeokarst, and fossil corals on the wave cut platform. And solifluction deposits from the last ice age. But then we had to turn back. The coaches that had brought is here had to do the school run; we have to be back on the buses before they left or after they would come back. And given how cold it was we had decided he wanted to be back early. So we left some of the trip as it was! We knew we had good materials available for the students online.

Compare this with my fieldwork outfit only a few days earlier!

We walked back, got back onto the bus, and went back to campus.

Afterwards Jaco diagnosed what the problem had been; when I had looked up the tide times I had taken them at face value, and they had been given with respect to GMT. In my head I had been working with BST. So we were an hour early... stupid! But I don't think it'll happen again. I don't think my colleagues will let me hear the last of this…

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