Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Welcome to the Republic of Ireland


We said goodbye to Northern Ireland and the UK today and headed south for the Republic. A long haul across Dundrum Bay where the tides that flodd in to the Irish Sea from North and South meet up, creating an area of slack water for most of the tide.

With careful timing we were able to enter the bay with a south flowing flood (rising)tide, and leave with a south flowing ebb (falling) tide. This helped us maintain the overall speed we needed to get to our destination before dusk.

Passing Strangford Lough we experienced the powerful effect of the mass of water flowing out of the Narrows, which can reach up to 8 knots. Although two miles off the coast, the outrush of water deflected us nearly a mile further out.

For most of the day the wind was kind and enabled us to sail rather than motor in the direction we wanted. You get atotally different view of the coast as you pass in a yacht. Things come slowly into view, then you pass and they slip slowly astern, the whole process taking several hours.

At once stage we could see Scotland, the Isle of Man, North and South Ireland. Even as we sit at anchor near Dublin, we can see the Mountains of Mourne in the distance.

Our anchorage is shared by a huge number of seabirds who colonise the cliffs of Lambay Island, a private bird sanctuary. As the sun is setting, the noise level is decreasing. Some I recognise, like the squadrons of gannets plunging into the sea with barely a splash, like an olympic synchronised diving team. Others are just a pleasure to watch.

Some get confused by the two hulls on Catabout. If sitting on the water as we approach, they swim away, but some pick the wrong direction and end up swimming in front of the other hull, then ducking below the water and coming up some way away.

Anyway, today is the halfway point in our odyssey, both in distance and time.

53 29.893' N 06 01.215' W


Just realised I missed out our journey from Scotland to Northern Ireland!
It was incredibly calm, the sea like glass most of the way, so we had to motor. After all the tales of crossing the North Channel, with problems of tides, winds and waves, it was almost a let down. The day was sunny and we eventually anchored in the delightfully named Knockinelder Bay, just north of Strangford Lough.

54 22.729' N 05 28.821' W

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