For Porthmadog subtract 2 hours 45 minutes from Liverpool then add 1 hour to get British Summer Time; high tide would be at 11:58. With 90 minutes to high water it looked like someone had pulled the plug as we launched close to Plas Tan y Bwlch into still, peaty water.
We paddled past the first of several slate quays and by coincidence a gravity train of slate wagons was trundling down the line towards the sea. When the railway opened in 1836 the boatmen sailing slate down the Dwyryd were doomed but they kept going until the 1860s. They were called Philistines, maybe because of the uniform they wore or maybe because they would not accept this new fangled railway thing. With cars galore on the roads we had the river all to ourselves and felt anything but the philistine.
A family of goosanders, with 9 or 10 young, was paddling to get out of our way. At one stage, having dived and re-emerged to discover these gaudy coloured kayaks were now much closer, a panic set in and wings started to flap. The adult flew low above the water but the youngsters were like paddle steamers in overdrive.
As we approached Pont Briwat the tide was flooding in and progress towards Portmeirion was hard. Fuelled by a KitKat break we turned and floated up the river with the currents spinning us now and again to better appreciate the view. At one stage we paddled up a stream with lots of fresh otter prints in the soft muddy banks.
Wildlife good deed of the day was to pluck an upside down yellow duck out of the water and give it a new lease of life as a kayak mascot.