|Heading out to the Inishkeas, or so we thought.|
A typical cruiser's change of plans
|Fog in Clew Bay|
I was really looking forward to exploring the deserted Inishkea homes, the ancient monastic settlement with beehive huts, and the remains of a whaling station. We hadn't done enough of that kind of thing this summer. And I was sure we'd be the only ones there on a Monday. The best thing about working for yourself is that
you can determine when weekends fall. We'd worked Saturday and Sunday, so this weekend fell on Monday and Tuesday - the better weather days.
|Irish version of northern lights|
We got our stuff together early the next morning, fed the cats, and told them we'd see them the next day. We boarded Aleria and cast off as planned shortly after 8 am. As we got into Clew Bay, the wind whipped up from the west, not northwest. Then it went north, then just east of north. We thought it was an anomaly in this part of the bay because of the island. But it wasn't.
|Big swell from the west|
As we neared the cut between Achillbeg and Clare Island, the fog lifted and a large swell out of the west and the usually cross seas from every direction took over. The wind went a bit west of north and we thought it was returning to forecast. So we let out the Yankee and took off like a shot in the now 15-20 knot breeze. It's much more comfortable on board when sailing than when motoring. Motoring flat caused the boat to pound whereas sailing heeled over by the wind increases waterline and lets her slice through the water. Rather amazing difference.
|Fishing boat metronoming near The Bills|
|More Irish lights|
|The harbour at Clare Island|
The weather was spectacular. Bright hot sunshine, light winds, puffy clouds, blue sky in between and rainbows all around. In fact you could see the dark clouds all around us and we sat under a hole in the sky. We spent the remainder of the day reading, talking and just plain relaxing. It's a long time since we did just that. There was plenty of action in the harbour to keep us amused in between.
|Tidying up the sails|
|The mooring field|
After a lovely lunch of homemade chicken vegetable soup and cod fish cakes, we hung out onboard doing small projects then hoisted our sails and set a course for home at a speed at which we could fish. Alex fished and I sailed.
|Shipwreck on the point|
|The Sailor's Bar and hostel|
At home we were greeted by a bevy of hungry kitties all chiding us for leaving them behind. They did their best to tangle up our feet in retribution. It was good to be home. Tomorrow, we'd be working hard, but for now the evening was still young and we had more relaxing to do. Despite the change of plans, the trip was a really nice break.
For more about Clare Island, read on here.
|Sunset over Clare Island. Bye bye, sun.|
|Clouds light up over Clew Bay|
|God reaching out to touch Croagh Patrick|
|Clare Island Harbour|
|The old pier|
|Community centre, with public toilets, showers, bar, and restaurant|
|Croach Patrick, the Holy mountain flanking Clew Bay|
|Frenchman living on Clare Island taking his son for sail|
|Racing currachs on the beach|
|Restaurant and hostel at the old hotel|
|Sailor's Bar and restaurant|
|Pretty light, moody background|
|The harbour from above|
|Alex taking in the beauty of the land|
|Leaving Clare Island in our wake|
|Alex reading Game of Thrones.|
|Daria at the helm|
|Passing by Croagh Patrick|
|Fishing on the incoming tide|
|Negotiating the channel between the mussel farm|