Showing posts from August, 2016

Kinsale adventure by bicycle

I got up early to do laundry. Yep, on a Sunday morning in Kinsale. They upgraded their facilities at the KYC including laundry. When I got there, there were clothes piled everywhere and I thought I'd never get in. But the nice young man in the bar came down and unloaded everything. I bought coins for the washer and dryer (€4 wash and $3 dry - €7 per load compared with €16 for one load washed dried and folded in Dingle) and got myself in before anyone else! Yes! That's cruising experience at work. Doing laundry in exotic places.

Kinsale...foodie heaven

We got up early to get to Kinsale before the wind started to pick up into the high 20s gusting well into the 30s by 1400h per WindGuru forecast.  Met Eireann was forecasting a gale overnight and into the next day for our area and strong gale, possibly storm, north of us.

Castle Haven... a look back to the Plantation era.

The morning after the gale was silent, flat flat calm, and sunny. Yea! Let's dry out and head over to Baltimore. We sailed in past kids having fun below Lot's Wife, the distinctive tower on the approach to Baltimore. We nosed in and realized there wasn't enough depth for us inside -- only 8 feet abd we draw 8.5. Where we'd have to anchor we'd be exposed. So we had a choice: Sherkin Island or on to Castletownsend. We chose the latter as we hadn't been there before.

We motored, then motor sailed the short distance to Castle Haven and anchored in the outer harbour. It was a bit exposed but would do us well for the forecast for the night which was benign. No sooner had we anchored that small sailboats started appearing and sailing out. More and more emerged and we learned that soon we'd be in the middle of a regatta. Oh well. They'd all have to take us into account. We got into our dinghy and headed ashore.

Next stop Schull...and the Calves Regatta

We'd have to be somewhere sheltered from the south and west by Monday when the next gale was due. We had choices: a) sail through to Kinsale or Cork or b) work our way out via Schull, Baltimore and/or Glandore.  We decided to stop in Schull as neither one of us remembered much about it. As it turned out, neither one of thought we'd ever been there before once we saw it!

A little more about Bantry Bay

I'm going backwards but I did not get a chance to fill in a few details about Bantry Bay. The Bay itself is lovely with high hills all around catching light in interesting ways. Aside from Adrigole and Glengarriff, there's a lovely marina on Bere Island servicing mostly sailing vessels. The approach to the marina is now marked so access is straightforward. Castletownbere on the other hand, as well as many small harbours along the shores, cater more to fishing vessels.

Crookhaven, a true refuge from the storms

We'd spent three nights at anchor in Glengarriff we loved it so much. But it was time to move on despite the misty weather. We thought about Schull but there was a strong gale on the way and Schull could be exposed from the South. Better to head to Crookhaven. Exquisitely sheltered from the south and west and south east, we'd be secure in the spacious anchorage and within reach of O'Sullivan's legendary pub.

Glengarriff's gem - The Ewe Experience

We came into Glengarriff with the expectation that it would be beautiful, as it is legendary among Irish Cruising Club members. What we didn't expect is for both of us to see in it the resemblance to the great lakes and camps in the Adirondack mountains in New York. Fringed in forest so unusual in Ireland and tall peaked hills, with tiny islands strewn throughout and camps perched on rocks jutting into the waters, it was hard to remember we were on the sea and not a lake. We liked it so much we stayed an extra day. The weather was good so we decided a walk was in order.

Setting a course to Spain

We left Dingle mid-morning. It didn't matter as we had about 4 days at sea if we were lucky. If we were really lucky, the wind would hold out the entire way. First out of the west, then moving to the northwest. It could be ideal for a southerly passage.

Gale Warning: Crookhaven looking like refuge

We were tracking a system which appeared likely to form a gale over Ireland and track to the North. We would have southwesterlies veering to northwesterly. We knew we'd need to find safe harbour for Tuesday night into Wednesday.

We had spent plenty of time in Bantry Bay and it was time to move on. At first we thought Schull as we hadn't been there in a long time, but as the forecast developed we realized that Crookhaven would be safer. Schull is open to the south east and any southerly swell might come around Long Island. So Crookhaven it was. Completely protected from the south, north and west, it's an easy harbour to access and hunker down in.

Ring of Dingle by Sea

We rounded the Dingle peninsula or the "Ring of Dingle" from Tralee to Dingle in dense fog and mist. There was little wind and it was on the nose to begin with and the seas were much bigger and more confused than the amount of wind would suggest. We have to come back and see the Blasket Islands proper like another time. This day we could barely make them out in the fog as they kept appearing and disappearing mysteriously.

Underway at last: Clare Is., Inishmore, Tralee

I have to work backwards now as I did not manage to blog when we got underway. Our first night was quick stopover at Clare Island for the night since we left on the evening tide. Ian from Xena came by to welcome us but shore leave was not in order. Freebird was in the harbour and had come in just before us. But we were heading for Spain. We had stuff to stow and distance to make! We were in cruising mode (which of course meant we should have gone ashore to party!).