Harbour Master Sailing Challenge reaches Caernarfon

The sense of history in Caernarfon (or Caernarvon) is palpable. So it is not surprising to learn that (a very tall) David O’Neil is one of a long line of Harbour Masters going back to 1793 when a government act created Caernarfon Harbour Trust.

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The harbour is in two parts. The old “drying harbour” beneath the dramatic walls of the castle where Prince Charles had his investiture in 1969; and the very friendly and secure marina, Victoria Dock, protected by a hydraulically driven lifting “cill” lock gate, which holds the water at a high level. I met David in his dry-suit, climbing out of the water having fixed a problem with one of the rams. Minutes later he was having coffee on board Good Dog in his tie! .
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David has been HM for 5 years, a mere “new boy” within his team of 13 staff…. two of which have worked for 30 years, and Dafydd the welder for 40 years! One of David’s main roles is to look after the 57 navigational aids (buoys and lights) giving safe passage to shipping in the treacherous Menai Strait, from the western approaches to the most easterly of the bridges, Menai Bridge. The shifting sands (you can just make them out in the penultimate photo) mean that David had to issue 22 “notice to mariners” alerting all Seafarers that buoys marked on the chart had been moved this year. He is also training to be a pilot, his mentor Emrys Jones being a 6th generation pilot in the Strait! Like so many harbours, the main income is from car parking. When I asked David what unusual things had happened to him as a HM, he very pragmatically said he prefers to look forward rather than back. He has however, more than once, been asked for “fresh water” to put recently caught harbour wall crabs in! Thank you David and your team for making our stay in Caernarfon so enjoyable.
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About the Harbour Master Sailing Challenge: I am circumnavigating #GB attempting to visit every #harbour with a #harbourmaster #fundraising to #support @Seafarers_UK and their work in the #martime industry, supporting #seafarersand their #families.  You can #sponsor my #challenge by visiting the link in my bio. Thank you for your support!
#caernarfon