The pattern continues – gale force winds five days a week and weaker winds for a couple of days. This means more time to explore land, waiting for the next window. Kilmore Quay is a cute seaside summer town with beaches, seafood restaurants and a rather big fishing harbour. In the winter, most of the restaurants and shops are closed and while you can still enjoy the beauty it is a rather cold and windy place. So when we realised that we would be stuck in Kilmore Quay for most of the coming week, last Thursday we decided to take a road trip to our friend Paul, that we got to know in Belfast Marina.
Now because of a series of unfortunate events, the journey to get there became stressful, long and expensive. The car rental would not rent us a car and we had to take the long detour up to (and down from) Dublin to get to Thurles, Tipperary, where Paul lives. Paul was in Dublin in the morning and decided to stay there and wait for us, so we took a walk in the city and grabbed a pint before it was time to take the train south again. It was a pleasure to arrive at Pauls house, relax by the fireplace and then fall asleep in the double-bed in the guest room – the first time sleeping in a “real” bed for seven months!
After the long journey to Thurles, we decided extend the stay over the weekend and really take the time to relax. We spent the days eating good food, taking walks and sitting by the fireplace discussing whatever topic came to mind. Turns out Paul and Jens share a rather specific interest – airships! Paul pulled out all the old books he collected on airships, shared stories of meeting the designers of some of the most famous airships and the adventures of flying both airships and the career as a hot balloon-pilot. In the end of the weekend Mary joined us and after a nice dinner we decided to take a road-trip out in the countryside the next day.
We visited the old abbey in Kilcooley and passed by Kilkenny to see their large castle. We are very thankful that they offered to give us a ride back to Kilmore Quay, so we didn’t have to go by public transport. We had the whole day after to prepare for the longest passage since crossing the North Sea. This time, we would only have ourselves to rely on.
The passage to England was a real challenge. We started off with high waves and strong wind. We had found a window where the forecast said that we would have strong winds in our back for the first day and weaker winds by the nose on the second day. We took off after breakfast and made our way through St Patrick’s bridge to get a better angle at the wind. We made good speed, but the problem was that with the wind in our back and big waves we tended to bounce a bit back and forth and there was always a risk for a gybe. To avoid this, we altered a course a bit, and went zigzag towards our destination. The big waves made Jens seasick rather fast, and he was determined to sit by the helm. I really don´t like having the wind in the back with strong winds and large waves. The risk with a gybe, that the boom slams from one side to the other, in those winds is risky since the large forces can damage the boom.
What was cool though, is that we got visits by dolphins several times. We then realized that it was probably dolphins we saw last time too, because these looked very similar. They played along the boat in the waves and at one time there was a group of at least 15 individuals surrounding the boat. They were rather distracting when you were at the helm and one of them came up just half a meter from where we were sitting 🙂
But regardless of the dolphins, it was not a nice ride. Jens didn’t manage to eat/keep food all day and I was getting my usual breakdown as it felt like we would never get to our destination and dreaded steering in the night in through large waves. When the night came, Jens steered most hours while I helped him navigate. But going up once every half an hour to confirm the course is not the way to get rested and optimistic. After I had steered for a while and given Jens a real break, he let me go to sleep for some hours in a row and when I woke up I started feeling as a human again. Now it was Jens time to rest, and while the wind decreased for every hour the sun shine and life was not so bad after all. The dolphins came to visit us several times the second day too, although not as frequently and for long since we were going so slow Mouni was not so fun to play with. After some frustrating hours, we gave up sailing and motored down towards Land’s End. Now began the frustrating part of already seeing land but going dead slow towards it. We were leaving the Celtic sea and approaching the Bristol channel and still motoring, now with the help of our generator. Luckily, there wasn’t many large ships that day. In the end, it took us 39 hours to reach Newlyn (compared to the expected 31) and we arrived just before midnight and tied up in the fishing harbour.
Now I did´t really take any photos during this passage, but I did try to record some video clips. Would you like to see?
Right now I am standing outside the closed harbour office in the cold with slow internet, but if there is an interest I could try again tomorrow. While we are once again waiting for calmer winds from a better direction, we are exploring pretty Cornwall. And go figure, the people are friendly here too! 😉
EDIT: Finally managed to upload some short clips from our passage – enjoy!