Sunday, September 25, 2016

Ventry, Dingle Peninsula

Inishvickilane and Inishnabro in the Blasket Islands

We were heading for our friends' favourite anchorage in Ireland in the Blasket Islands. Wedged between Inishvickilane and Inishnabro, the anchorage is tenable only in settled weather. The wind had abated but there was still a considerable swell. We poked our nose in and decided we'd have to be tucked right under the high cliffs to be comfortable at all and if the wind blew up, that's a place we'd not like to be at night.

Tour boat coming in to pick up tourists walking the island
There were people walking the island which we had read has monastic ruins like most islands off the west coast of Ireland. We spotted a stairway at the end of the island near the passage between the two. Soon a power boat towing a RIB came to pick them up at the stairway. A sailboat came in to check it out as well.  They motored in to the spot we had decided would be the only logical place to drop a hook.  They milled about for a while testing it out, but soon we all headed off.

A voice came on the VHF radio hailing the sailboat leaving Inishvickilane. That would be us!  I answered and swtched to a working channel. It was the power boat asking if we were looking to land on the island offering to take us there. No, I said, we were just checking out the anchorage, thanks very much.  And we continued on our way to Ventry as a backup destination. The tourists went home then, too. We saw the sailboat anchor very close to where the ICC pilot book says is foul bottom. We hoped the anchor eating monster was not in residence that day for their sake.

Not tuna!
Dolphins, loads of them, came to play with us as we set sail. When we first spotted them, once again Alex yelled, "Tuna," and dashed below to get a rod. That was about the fifth time he'd mistaken dolphins feeding for tuna, not that I think he's ever seen a bunch of tuna. Only the one we caught on one Atlantic crossing.

The wind died altogether and we motored into Ventry. It was supposed to blow up a bit from the North and Ventry would provide good shelter. It is a big wide open bay.  There is a fish farm along the western shore near the entrance to the bay which is very hard to detect. Great care must be taken to avoid it.

The NW corner has lots of little boats moored and a caravan park. The NE corner has a pier and a pretty village. The middle has a very long stretch of white sandy beach. There were many people walking their dogs, a few brave souls swimming, and a pack of riders on horseback being restrained from galloping. Otherwise it was very quiet. Some time after the pack of riders turned in, a lone rider flew down the beach galloping at breakneck speed, there and back. It looked like fun.

The weather was grey with occasional sprinkles. Hot in the sun. Cold when it hides. On again, off again weather. Tomorrow, the forecast is for 20°C and no wind. Looking forward to the sun. Not looking forward to motoring more.

Dolphins again!
Tour boat and sailboat anchored off Inishvickilane
The craggy Blaskets
Cashel on the hill.
Gannets in flight

The entrance to Ventry
The beach leading out from the village
Pretty countryside along Ventry Harbour
The fish farm in Ventry

Horses on the beach

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