31st July 2008
Port Ellen to Ballycastle 16th July
In Port Ellen we mucked about most of the morning and after provisioning decided that the weather was as good as it was going to get so we set off a day earlier than planned to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland.As soon as we let go we looked round and saw we were heading into an almighty squall.The six hour crossing was pretty uncomfortable, the sea state being confused mixed with a big swell of 3.5 to 4m waves from the Atlantic.I pucked for the first time ever. We were very glad to tie up in Ballycastle in a very protected wee harbour.Went to the Fisherman's Bar and met lovely people and good craic.This is a great wee place, you can see the signs of depravation through the troubles and the people here often say 'since the peace'.Now with new building going on there is a sense of optimism, and they are also glad to see visitors coming back.
I've discovered we are moored close to people we knew when we first got married, Mike and Lynn Tonner, Southerly 9.5, 'Mistroma'.Yet another boat from Port Edgar although we never made the connection before.We have spent a few hours, and bottles of wine, catching up on the last 30+ years.
Have made a start on the Italian language course, which is one of our projects over the next two years, long way to go to fluency.
Weather continues to blow hard and drizzle, hope things settle down for tomorrow's run to Bangor.
Ballycastle to Bangor21st July 2008
Good sail steady winds and calm seas.All tied up in Bangor, gin and tonics taken then told to move! Interesting question here, if a marina insists you move after saying you were ok to tie up, and alcohol has been taken, whose responsibility would it be if damage was caused? We would never choose to move the boat after taking alcohol but the marina guys at Bangor were untying us as we spoke, so no choice there then. Spent my birthday in Belfast on a bus trip, including the Falls Road and Shanklin Road.Since the marching season has just ended there were even more union and tricolour flags hanging out of windows than usual.The huge dividing wall is still firmly in place between Falls Road and Shanklin Road at the request of the residents, so 'the peace' seems a bit tenuous.Had my birthday dinner at the Boat House restaurant in Bangor, very good. In all spent six days in Bangor.
Bangor to Ardglass 27th July 2008
Motored all the way to Ardglass in very light SSE winds however came into dense fog about four miles out of the marina, so crept cautiously towards the harbour entrance, where of course the fog lifted and the sun came out. Once again tied up then asked to move.Funny wee place with a couple of houses perched on the sea wall which is definitely going to fall into the sea, taking the houses with it. Maybe they have been like that for 50 years but it looks scary.Obtained some fabulous big prawns from local fishing boat.
Ardglass to Carlingford Lough 28th July 2008
Lovely goosewinged journey, very strange currents and narrow channel down the lough to the marina which was the most expensive yet (46.4 Euros/night). Oh yes we are now in our first foreign country. Spotted a boat in Ardglass with lifesize artificial owl, spoke to same boat owner in Carlingford, who says it doesn't work in southern Ireland. He got up this morning to find a seagull perched on the owl's head.
Carlingford Lough to Malahide 29th July 2008
Left Carlingford about an hour later than planned waiting for the mist to lift. The entrance to the Lough was very lumpy for about a mile. Motored for 9 hours all the way to Malahide in 16 to 20 knot SSE winds right on the nose in very short and uncomfortable waves. Malahide marina is on the river and had a 1.5 knot tidal stream running through it as we moored up, making it very tricky. Then again we were asked to move the boat!!
It is very wet today so we will go into Dublin tomorrow.