Sailing out of pandemic prisons

Our local paper made quite the splash with an article about what Alex and I have been doing with OCC to help cruisers return home or to safe harbours. A page and a half in the Living section.  Here's a scan.  We're very pleased that our story could be told. Thanks to Mayo News and to Aine Ryan, lead reporter. 

Have kayak, will paddle!

We haven't been able to sail since we can't launch the boat -- it's about 3 hours away in another county but we're only allowed to travel 20 km or within our county. But the weather has been amazing. Calm, warm and dry for weeks. So I've used my kayak quite a lot lately. It was my Christmas gift from Alex a year ago.

Clew Bay is such a wonderful place for small boating. We have 365 islands to explore. Pristine water,  lots of birds, surrounded by mountains. Plenty of Blue Ocean Mind Therapy where the mountains come down to the sea.

I tend to stay in our inlet but have been venturing farther out lately. I think I will get brave and go out to Inishdaff one day. I just love stopping and watching the sky go by. I love spotting birds I might have missed while out in the powerboats or hearing lambs bleating and the cock crowing on the shore. It's really calming and normalising to be out there at one with nature. I wouldn't want to be isolating anywhere else.

Interview on Seascapes

I was interviewed yesterday by Fergal Keane Of the RTE radio programme Seascpaes about the OCC's efforts to help cruisers reach home or safe harbour.  My interview starts at about 18:50.

Seascapes podcast On Seascapes tonight, Fergal Keane visits the popular Courtown beach, which disappeared in recent storms. Fergal meets Green Party MEP Grace O'Sullivan in Courtown. John Litchfield reports from France on the sad demise of the ship the Calypso, owned for nearly fifty years by the explorer & ecologist, Jacques Cousteau.  And Daria Blackwell of the Ocean Cruising Club tells how they are helping ocean going yachts reach their home ports during the pandemic.

Sailors of the Month

Well shiver me timbers, a few days ago, Alex and I were named Sailors of the Month (International) for May 2020 by Afloat magazine in Ireland. We are so honoured to be recognised for helping cruisers around the world reach home or at least safe harbour during the pandemic. And this in a month when we haven't done any sailing at all. Gosh! Blush. And many thanks to Afloat and to all the volunteers who have made this effort even remotely possible.

"Daria and Alex Blackwell of Mayo Sailing Club are highly-experienced ocean voyagers, and they’re Vice Commodore and Rear Commodore respectively of the Ocean Cruising Club, the global body which currently has hundreds of members’ boats currently on long cruises. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these boats have been caught out on long passages not knowing what kind of reception they will get when they reach their destination. From their base on the shores of Clew Bay, Daria and Alex have been providing assistance and guidance, s…

How the pandemic is affecting cruisers

This article was originally written and published by me on the Ocean Cruising Club website. I am posting here as well just to keep from losing it. 

Pandemic in Paradise Daria Blackwell | 27/05/2020As reports of Covid-19 outbreaks began to circulate, the OCC was monitoring the situation in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and IndoPacific regions. What could we do to assist stranded cruisers? Reports from China of a highly contagious novel coronavirus began circulating in January. But China was far away from most places in paradise. At first, tourism remained active and cruisers went about their business blissfully unaware of the mounting threat of a pandemic. As tourists flying in from severely affected European nations began to show signs of infection and coronavirus began to spread, the local governments responded. Many of these island nations have limited medical resources and a history of devastation due to outbreaks of diseases against which native islanders have no immunity and no defenc…

Pandemic news

Busy, busy. busy times. An article that cited me was published in the Guardian yesterday. Written by Susan Smillie, it documents the plight of cruisers stuck in paradise. The BBC World News editors got wind of the article and asked me to do an interview with them in the morning, which I did at 7:20 am. Now anyone who knows me, knows I don't do mornings very well. But somehow I think I managed to do okay. They've posted the clip online and are sharing via social media. It's 3 minutes long and answers a few questions about what people are facing out there.

This afternoon I did an interview with a reporter from Bermuda who is writing a story for publication tomorrow. I also answered a query from a woman wanting to do a documentary about the cruisers. And I forwarded a request for crews to film their voyages for an adventure movie being made about the subject. It's been an interesting couple of days.

Ireland's Forgotten Past: A History of the Overlooked and Disremembered

My book review from Goodreads...

's reviewMay 07, 2020  · edit
it was amazing Read 2 times. Last read April 20, 2020 to May 7, 2020.
In marvellously entertaining style and with beautifully crafted language, Turtle dips us into and out of historical moments, some of which have great significance. From the emergence of life out of the oceans to pagan rituals adopted by Christian elders, to Vikings, kings, Knights Templar, Cromwell, wars, debauchery, harlots, and brothels and so much more, prepare to be whisked through forgotten or suppressed moments in time.

The chapters are very short and easy to read, and the stories are mostly not connected, so it is possible to pick this book up for short stints over longer periods. It fills in many intervals of history that are perhaps less popular but nevertheless important in explaining how things evolved. The amount of research that had to go into this book is mind-boggling. Thank you, Turtle, for the perfect pandemic distractio…