|Dark skies with cracks of hope|
We departed on the 1st of July bound for Inishbofin. It was windy. Much windier than it was supposed to be. And choppy, with a big swell. It was SW-erly and we were heading -- SW! I was not feeling great. Lunch was Ritz crackers with peanut butter, yogurt, saltines with Gubeen cheese, apples and strawberries, and water. It was all I could muster. Weather alert - F6 for a time. No kidding. Why knot hailed us to tell us it was pretty hairy off Achill Head. So rather than beating ourselves up, we opted to stop in Clare Island. We tried to anchor but it wouldn't hold - damned shale. We picked up a mooring but it seemed to drag. We picked up another but I misjudged the first time and had to go around. Got it on the second try and it seemed to be holding. Phew. This was the first day? We were exhausted. Damien Cashin delivered a bottle of wine for our trip and things were looking up. We had burgers and a beer in the Sailor's Bar, a good rest and continued on in the morning.
|Lake with reeds and water lilies.|
|St Colman’s 14th Century Chapel|
|Walking the East End loop|
|The village being restored for holidaymakers|
At Inishbofin, we walked the island's east end. The Cloonamore Loop which runs over green roads, bog roads and laneways runs along the beautiful East End Beach and St Colman’s 14th Century Chapel and Church Lough, a fertile valley with reed beds. It was lovely to see the water lilies on the lake and the village along the beach being restored. We got thoroughly soaked and chose the shorter of the loop options. Instead, we headed over to Day's and called a friend who lives on the island to join us for dinner. The crews of Elixir and Freebird arrived late and drenched. A schooner dropped anchor, home port Brisbane, but we didn't meet them. Lots of chatter in the bar.
|The inner harbour at Inishbofin - almost at Day's|
|Chasing Freebird and Elixir to the Aran Islands|
We anchored in Inishmore and had dinner aboard because WIORA meant the island would be jammed; we got a message from our friends from Galway, Vera and Peter, who said they were anchored nearby. We took a ride over for drinks, and stayed into the wee hours while their two young children slept below. (We hoped.) It had been a good day, a brilliant day, a cruising kind of day.
|Cruisers on moorings at Inishmore|
|Night descends with heavy clouds|
Our next leg was to Dingle and we got up early to push through the 50+ mi. Flat seas, damp, motor sailing kind of day. At least we saw lots of dolphins. We spent two nights in the marina, doing laundry and preparing for the offshore passage to Spain. Had a fabulous dinner at OOTB (Out of the Blue) a Michelin rated seafood only restaurant that advertises in OCC's Newsletter. Paid €25 for a load and a half of laundry. Topped off fuel and groceries. It was curious to think Aleria would not be back in Ireland potentially for a few years.
We set out for Spain in flat calm. After 10 hours of motoring and forecast of continuing calm for the next two days, we gave up, pulled in to Crookhaven and dropped anchor. Time for a pint at O'Sullivan's.
|Fog in Dingle|
|Damp misty weather in Dingle|
|Scallops and Sole at OOTB (Out of the Blue)|
|Spoiled ourselves with a Sancerre|
|Aleria at the marina in Dingle|