Friday, September 30, 2016

The incredible shrinking Inishoo

Glassy calm seas
It was dead calm in the morning. Any hint of breeze was from the NE and, of course, we were heading NE from Bofin to Clew Bay. We motored the 26 miles  over glassy seas past the Twelve Bens of Connemara and Middle Ground, past Inishturk, Caher and Clare Islands and into Clew Bay.

Clare Island at the mouth of Clew Bay.
It was low tide when we arrived at Inishoo, the outermost island in the middle of the Bay that has 365 islands, one for every day of the year. We dropped anchor and launched the dinghy. Then we went ashore for a bit of exploration. There's a lovely beach on the lee side of the island. Years ago, we'd be picking cockles off the beach for lunch there were so many.  Then one year after a particularly cold winter, they disappeared.

Blue sky is always so hopeful
The high side of the island that is exposed to the west and the Atlantic's fury, has been battered for millennia and in recent years has been receding noticeably with every storm. Huge boulders of prehistoric fossils are being exposed. New slides make walking that side of the island precarious. There's a picture of Alex and me at the top of Inishoo from about 20 years ago.  The spot where we were standing is long gone, dissolved into the sea. We walked all the way around the island seeing what we could find.

Croagh Patrick with its head in the clouds
Soon, a light breeze filled in and a Drascombe Lugger and a second small sailboat arrived and beached.  We were no longer the lone explorers. We never encountered the others, one group of whom went up to the top of the island and the other couple walked around the other end.  There was plenty of space for all of along with the sheep and the ghosts of past settlers. The island is unoccupied otherwise. We dragged our found treasures -- floats brought in by gales and fossils uncovered by storms -- back to Aleria. By then it was half tide and time to go home.

We got to our mooring and tidied up. We spent the night for the first time in our own inlet. The house sitters weren't leaving until the next day.  We grilled lamb burgers, and washed them down with the last of the wine while watching the herons swoop and sound their prehistoric cries. we brought blankets out and stayed out a little longer, watching the sun light the sky as it set out over the bay and Clare Island. Flocks of swallows swooshed past overhead and soon the bats came out chasing after the bugs that were now lifting off all around.

We stayed out until it got too chilly. Tomorrow, we pack up and head home. The holiday is over. Costa del Cork is now a distant memory.

Inishoo shrinking into the sea

Alex launching the dinghy

Using a halyard makes it fairly easy.

Busy anchorage

Pretty shot of Aleria

Alex in his element -- explorer!

More has come down since we were here last

Fossils everywhere

It's undermined so more will come down soon

It's all being washed into the sea

Fossils strewn far and wide by fierce waters

Machair landscape with lovely flowers

I think these stones were used for cooking outdoors
Lovely meadows with ruined walls and cottages

Drascombe Lugger sailing away

Pile of rocks

Sweet flowers

Found treasures
Time to head home

Seal in the mussel farm

Deadly rock

Beautiful eerie Clew Bay


The calm before the storm

At our mooring overnight

Heading home before the storm

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