Underway at last: Clare Is., Inishmore, Tralee

Leaving Ross in drizzly weather
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!).

Clare Island ahead
Lovely sunset over Clare

Gull in flight near High Island
We set off before breakfast even and made our way to Inishmore. It didn't matter when we arrived as we know the island and anchorage reasonably well. We arrived in Kilronan in plenty of time to launch the dinghy and head ashore. It was warm and sunny and we were wearing shorts and T-shirts. Did we really want to go to hot hot hot Spain? Yes, we did.

Clearly the island has had some infusion of capital as the waterfront was gleaming with bright newly set concrete pathways and lots of signage in Irish. It is Gaeltacht after all. We walked up past the B&Bs and the tourist office and continued on up the road to Ti Joe Wattys. It was hopping. It seemed that every islander and visitor was in this pub at this time, drinking, listening to music, and eating dinner. The specials were already sold out at 6:30 pm. We opted for a local brew and an order of fish and chips and lobster. Yum. It was perfect. A beautiful sunny day, sitting out on the terrace in good company with full belly.
Sailing past Slyne Head

Blue water at the harbour in Kilronan

New signage and walkways around the harbour
Boats snuggled up in the 'new' harbour without the promised pontoons

The fishing harbour area

The American Bar is now just The Bar

The Spar is doing a good business

The pastoral setting of a former Church 

An institution

Everyone was at Ti Joe Watty's

Nice outdoor seating area behind glass

Alex's new reading glasses
The sky on fire at sunset over Kilronan

We returned to Aleria and sunset cocktails over good books. What a sunset, although we could have done without the annoying gulls that kept repeating a pattern that sounded like demand for food. No shooing would get them to go.

Silly Daria at the helm

The next morning, we set off early and decided we'd go as far as we could get. With westerlies going to SW, we decided that Tralee would be a good quick stopover as we didn't have the time to make Dingle before nightfall. On leaving Inishmore, we sailed through Gregory Sound between it and Inishmaan. The wildlife there was amazing. From the first call of "dolphins!", here was our total by 1000h:
  • 20 common dolphins feeding
  • 5 bottlenose dolphins playing
  • 6 harbour porpoises bow riding
  • 1 basking shark scooping
  • 52 puffins fishing
The rest of the day wasn't nearly as fruitful but we did see huge flocks of puffins and gannets feeding along the coast. No whales.

Alex on watch. Aleria moving fast.
Surprisingly rough seas for the amount of wind. 

Finding a spot to anchor in Tralee Bay

A beautiful evening anchored in Tralee Bay near a rocky outcropping overshadowed by sand dunes and ringed by hills all around, we enjoyed our first cruising dinner and evening aboard. By morning the conditions had changed and a mist had settled in making visibility a changeable affair. We set off for Dingle on the other side of the peninsula as we'd only been there by land before. We hoped we could get into the marina there if they had a slip available. Our adventure was underway. Meanwhile we were blasting past the Blaskets at 9-10 knots SOG. Whee! What a sleigh ride.

Up anchor in Tralee, heading for Dingle


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