Saturday, September 7, 2013

Aleria's Jaunt to Scotland: 31 July 2013, Broad Haven to Clew Bay, Ireland

Mackeral sky and mares tails, soon will be time to shorten sails.


Making our way home to Clew Bay, bypassing the Inishkeas


The wind was < 2 knots on the nose, so motor boat we were once again. We left Broad Haven early, shortly after sunrise, as it would be a long day rounding Erris Head and Achill Head and high tide was mid-afternoon. We have a 15-foot tidal variation and need a minimum of half tide to get across a shellfish bed to our mooring.

The weather turned miserable.
Welcome home!
We made it to the Inishkeas around 1130 and poked our nose into the anchorage. The Inishkeas are relatively flat and said to be much like the Outer Hebrides, which we had not made it to in Scotland. There is a wide expanse of sandy beach, abandoned houses, some being restored as summer holiday cottages, and lots of ruins. Another of St. Columba’s monastic settlements – the guy was like George Washington, he slept around – and the remains of a whaling station.  We toyed with anchoring and going ashore until we heard the weather forecast.

There was a small craft advisory warning announcing deteriorating conditions. Increasing wind, heavy rain, and threat of thunderstorms was
promised. The country was on yellow alert for tornados!  Unheard of!!!  Such a dire forecast is not one we were accustomed to. For heaven's sake, the country had announced a drought alert while we were gone as it had experienced 17 days with no rain at all.  The summer climate report just published shows it was the best summer in this region (Belmullet) in 18 years.

The Inishkeas anchorage is relatively exposed except from the West. As the Inishkeas are only 45 miles from us, we decided to leave them for another time.

We high tailed it home at top speed. We motored past Achill Head in relative calm, but as we approached Clare Island, the wind pick up to 25 knots, the seas squared, and we pounded the length of Clew Bay. Our progress was slowed to 4+ knots with the wind and waves completely against us so we missed the tide and anchored off Inishturkbeg for the night. It’s relatively secure there.

We called the islanders, Johnny and Mandy, and asked them to keep and eye on Aleria. Then we packed up Onyx and a few remaining perishables and dinghied home, took long hot baths, and fell hard asleep.  It was good to be back in our comfy bed at home again.  Dirty laundry would have to wait another day. 
Leaving Broad Haven, anchor is up.

Very dramatic coastline

Rounding Erris Head

The Eagle Island lighthouse fortified against the sea

Unstable weather,
where a yacht sank last month

The flatness of the Mullet peninsula
Approaching the Inishkeas


Poking into the anchorage at the Inishkeas

Abandoned island with monastic ruins and whaling remnants

Daria on watch approaching Achill Head, weather deteriorating
Black Sod from the outside

Alex on watch rounding Achilbeg past Clare Island into Clew Bay
Achill, Ireland's largest island and highest cliffs in Europe 

He's in there somewhere, just before the heavens opened up.
Welcome back to Ireland!




No comments:

Post a Comment