Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Sunday, December 13, 2015
|What Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara might look like in the sun. (Wikimedia)|
Friday, December 4, 2015
Friday, November 27, 2015
Lack of unsupervised play is hurting our children
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
|On approach to Killybegs|
|Lighthouse on Rotten Island|
We had stopped in Teelin along the way then set sail for the short passage to Killybegs. It's only about 18 km or 10 nautical miles between the two. The approach is straightforward. The coastline is very interesting. The weather was cooperating. We noted the marine farm in Bruckless Harbour on the approach. The lighthouse on Rotten Island was where expected and we turned to port to enter the harbour surrounded by hills.
Saturday, October 31, 2015
|Crossing Donegal Bay in shades of grey again.|
(Click on photos to enlarge.)
Thursday, October 29, 2015
|Departing Clew Bay on the morning tide.|
(Click on photos to enlarge.)
|Confused seas off Achill Head.|
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Monday, October 26, 2015
|Overwintering in Galway.|
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
|Navigating the old fashioned way.|
|Navionics app on Samsung mobile.|
I don’t have an iPad. I have a Samsung android smartphone. They all have GPS now. Even our camera has GPS. Take a picture and you'll know your exact location. My new android is big enough to see a great deal of detail. I was considering getting a tablet but decided that this is more than enough for now. I find myself using apps more and more on board. I also find it takes more and more time to keep up with what's available and how to use it.
Friday, October 2, 2015
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Thursday, September 3, 2015
|Rainbow between Clare and Achillbeg|
Friday, August 28, 2015
|Clare Island at the mouth of Clew Bay|
Every year, we visit Clare Island primarily because it's an easy sail from our anchorage but also because there is so much to see there. The Saw Doctors have immortalized the experienced in their song about the place:
Thursday, August 27, 2015
|The author as President of the HBA addressing |
an audience of more than 2000 healthcare executives.
Being in charge of your universeby Daria Blackwell
Many people in leadership positions, myself included, assumed their roles by chance. Not thinking of themselves as leaders, they got things done that needed doing. Someone had to step up to keep the ship from foundering. They may not have had all the skills they needed to fulfill their roles effectively at the time, but they had the right attitude. They knew it could be done.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Monday, August 10, 2015
|Dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning|
A boat we once owned had the unlikely misfortune of having been struck by lightning twice. She had a dissipator on her mast, her rig was not unusually tall, and she was always moored in a crowded mooring field. Yet, somehow, the lightning liked her best.
A study published last year in Science (Science 14 November 2014: Vol. 346 no. 6211 pp. 851-854 DOI: 10.1126/science.125910) concluded that lightning strikes are predicted to increase 12 ± 5% per degree Celsius of global warming and about 50% over this century. With the increase in likelihood of a strike, what do we need to know to protect ourselves and our vessels?
Here are a few things we learned from our experience.
Friday, August 7, 2015
|Aleria off Jura in Scotland --main, yankee and mizzen flying --|
in the company of a sloop.
by Daria Blackwell
When my husband Alex and I decided we wanted to cross oceans, we had certain criteria we wanted to take into account. Chiefly, we wanted a boat that sailed well, was comfortable and safe when crossing oceans and comfortable at anchor as well. After all, we were going to spend more of our time not moving than moving. But when we did move, we might be needing a stable platform in a storm. That excluded many of the modern production boats, which tend to be beamy and flat. We also decided that we would be looking at ketch rigs.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
|Solution seen on the YB tracker in Horta.|
|Pico seen from Horta, spinning off lenticular clouds.|
Monday, July 20, 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
|Is there anything out there but miserable weather?|
Summer Sailstice, a global celebration of sailing on the longest day of the year
|A sliver of blue sky was hopeful|
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Recipes to keep your crew from jumping ship
|Birthday cake I baked for myself while on an Atlantic crossing.|
|Alex catches a small tuna mid-Atlantic.|
Anyone who has done any extensive cruising will have had to deal with provisioning and stowing food, cooking while underway in rough conditions, keeping a diversity of crew happy, dealing with unfamiliar ingredients, having either too much (fish) or too little (fresh veg) food available, substituting ingredients, the art of the pot luck dinner, and disposing of packaging. There are plenty of other elements to deal with, like cramped quarters and availability of gas, so voyaging by boat can be a tricky thing, and getting ideas from other people doing the same thing is always helpful.
Monday, June 29, 2015
Where the mountains come down to the sea along the Wild Atlantic Way
|Is home the landscape that burns itself into your psyche?|
When you ask people what 'home' means to them, you'll get a variety of different answers. Some of them are dependant on culture, others on circumstance. Home to many is the place you live. For some it's where you came from. For others it's where they are heading to. For some it is the house they grew up in. For others it is the house they built.
For me a house never equates with the concept of home. A house can be an empty place. Home is warm and inviting. The place you feel safe and content. The place you want to be. I have been searching for home for a lifetime.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
To write or not to write is never the question
Almost a month ago now, we released Cruising the Wild Atlantic Way. It's been an interesting few weeks and we are now awaiting a shipment of books to take to book stores around the country to see if we might sell a few in the local shops in towns mentioned in the book. We know we won't be getting wealthy from this effort, but it is quite rewarding to get a positive review and know that today, you made someone smile.
Saturday, May 30, 2015
Having sailed the entire west coast of Ireland and calling Clew Bay home, we've been blogging about this most impressive sailing territory for years. We have an amazing collection of photos that captures the remarkable and stunning beauty. Some time ago, I started to organize my blog posts and photos and work on a book long before it actually began to take on a life of its own. So when Failte Ireland decided to focus on the Wild Atlantic Way, it was a natural to collect what we already had into a resource that could tie in to that effort. Cruising the Wild Atlantic Way was born to help those following in our wake.
Sunday, May 24, 2015
We did it! Elation, exhaustion, amazement.
To hold a book you have written in your own hands, to flip through the pages and see your treasured photos, and to read words that sound too good to be yours, but they can't be anyone else's, is just short of miraculous. I am very pleased with the outcome.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
|Writing aboard Aleria stimulates creativity.|
Books are fun to write, for me at least. I love to get wrapped up in a subject and look at it from the perspective of my prospective audience. What are they looking to learn from me? What will entice them to spend their precious time with me? How can I share my knowledge and entertain a little, too. These are the kinds of questions I ask myself throughout the process. I don't want to let them down, and yet I know I cannot satisfy them all.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
It's an interesting thing that there are more men than women who take up sailing.
To get women to try sailing, the regional sailing authorities make a sailing outing a fund raising event for breast cancer. I don't know about you, but I have my favourite charities and somehow I just don't get how sailing mixes with cancer. Sailing fun. Cancer not fun. My sister died of peritoneal cancer. My mother died of breast cancer. When I go sailing, I don't really want to think about cancer. Nor do I want to be saddled with fundraising for a charity with which I am not familiar. If want to go sailing, then sailing is what I want to do. Period.
When was the last time you heard about men being introduced to sailing by promoting and raising money for prostate cancer? Never? Oh right. Men go sailing for sailing's sake. I get it.
Monday, April 13, 2015
Monday, March 30, 2015
|Lessons in Optis start on dry land.|
What's wrong with how sailing is taught?For some reason, the teaching of sailing skills in many countries where sailing is an active pursuit has over the years changed from learning the ropes on a local body of water from an experienced friend to a rigorously structured multi-year racing-based certification process. How did it evolve this way, and who says racing is the only way to acquire the necessary fundamentals? I say bring back the fun and watch the numbers grow.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Sailors band together to get relief to cyclone stricken Pacific islanders
|Alex with his pinhole camera contraption. It worked!|
Syzygy, aurora, eclipse, meteors and more!The Ides of March has a bad reputation but it passed unnoticed this year; and this month we also had a Friday the 13th, which some people are rather superstitious about. But that came and went without much ado as well. We got lucky with weather overall as St. Patrick's Day was dry and not too cold. The parades, especially in Newport, were great fun, and there were only two ankle injuries during the ritual sunrise climb of Croagh Patrick. No, I did not climb. Done it once.
The highest tides in the spring are always around St. Patrick's, Day and this year they were a couple of days later. We live by the sea so we are used to tidal variation. I suppose that's an understatement in that we live on a one lane road by the sea which is under water during the big spring tides for an hour either side of the high tide mark.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Granuaile: Queen of Storms
Monday, March 9, 2015
Wow, what a cool collection! Great ideas for a sailing movie club.
When I started to compile this list, I thought I'd come up with maybe ten movies. But as I got deeper into it, not only did I realize there were more than I consciously remembered over time, but also that the independent film production movement and digital technologies are causing an explosion of very interesting new entries. The work being done by young people is particularly inspiring and impressive, and perhaps signifies that sailing isn't dying after all. No, it's actually becoming the saving grace of a generation pressured as none before it. Because it is just too difficult to rate these movies as each one ticks a different box, I've just listed them in chronological order. Enjoy, and please let me know about any I missed.
Monday, March 2, 2015
Want to acquire an exciting new skill that will last a lifetime? Try sailing.
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Sailing makes a romantic settingThere are few novels with sailing as a background theme, which is surprising given how romantic sailing is considered to be. Images of sailboats appear everywhere and dreams of sailing off to an uncharted island abound, yet stories tend to be real not fictional. That's curious to me. I've scoured the pages of amazon and Goodreads to find what I could as the question often comes up, "Are there any good novels with sailing themes." The answer is, yes, but not many. As I have not read these all yet, I am simply providing the publisher's descriptions here, mostly as they appear on amazon.com. From Homer's Odyssey to Christine Kling's Circle of Bones, one thing for certain is that this is an eclectic collection, much like the collection of characters one is likely to encounter at sea.
I'm also working on a listing of sailing movies, which of course might have been based on either novels or true stories, so perhaps we'll be adding a few to this list.
Friday, February 27, 2015
Fix it, replace it, or do without it.When we were setting off to cross oceans, we wanted to have access to a library of books that would allow us to fix anything that was essential on board including ourselves, that would help us figure out what we didn't know that we didn't know, and then help us communicate it to someone else if all else failed. My mantra became "If it breaks at sea you have three choices: fix it, replace it or do without it." So we brought along spares for anything we couldn't do without, like an alternator and water pump. We brought spare parts for things we didn't want to do without, like the head. And the rest we figured we could fix, jury rig or learn to live without -- as long as we had someplace to look up what we needed to know.
This is a listing of some of the most valuable books we brought along. It doesn't include cruising guides, only reference or instructional books. I'm certain there are some really great books missing here, so if I've inadvertently left something valuable out, please leave a note in the comments. Thanks.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Ocean adventures inspire the spinning of tall talesSailing is one of those things in life that so many dream of and few pursue. Those of us who have sailed off across an ocean most often started out in our warm beds absorbed in a book of someone else's adventures on the other side of the world. Their yarns spun our own ambitions and fueled our thirst for the sea. So many authors have been inspired by the sea that there are hundreds of books to choose from.
So why these ten on my list? Because they were the ones that told the stories that I wanted to live or taught me lessons that may one day save a life - my own or a loved one's. And now that I have, I can honestly say that their yarns were well spun. There are few things better in life than reading a good sailing book while sailing! To go off watch, curl up in a secure spot and read about your favourite sailing adventure inspires the next adventure of your own. I always ask, where to next? And there's always someone who has been where I have not and told a tall tale I wanted to experience for myself. The wind in the rigging, the water lapping against the hull, the occasional flying fish, and the crackle of noise on the SSB are perfect accompaniment to make those tales come to life.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Last week, we experienced a Friday the 13th. How many of you experience friggatriskaidekaphobia or a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th or more specifically paraskevidekatriaphobia, fear of traveling on Friday the 13th? The latter term was coined by therapist Dr. Donald Dossey, whose specialty is treating people with irrational fears. Many sailors refuse to leave port for a long journey on a Friday, much less a Friday the 13th. Triskaidekaphobics, on the other hand, fear the number 13. For their benefit, hotels skip the 13th floor and some airports even skip gate 13.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
|Fabulous restaurants on the mountain, just a slight difference from distance sailing.|
Skiers and Sailors - a lot in common?Have you ever noticed that many sailors are also skiers? I suppose it's the allure of water - whether liquid or solid phase - that takes us off into the wild blue/white yonder. Or is it the natural beauty of the earth around us? Or the wild fury of nature that we need to respect and negotiate? Or is it about the adventure? The need to survive either a pitching boat on a wild ocean or a pitched slope on a wild mountain, and thrive out there against the elements and the unknown, could be the impetus.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
From McCauley DJ et al.
A front page story in the New York Times this week, "Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction," reported on a major study, a review paper for which scientists gathered data from an impressive range of sources. "Marine defaunation: Animal loss in the global ocean,"1, published in the journal Science, presents evidence that our oceans are on the edge of a largely human-caused catastrophic extinction event. But there is also good news in the study...it may not be too late to fix it. These scientists believe the oceans still have the resilience to bounce back if we can provide the needed protection. But we have to act fast because the status quo is a path we now know is likely to lead to mass extinctions