Tuesday, 8th of July

Derrick left in a taxi for the airport and I went along with a folding bike to have a spin around Tralee, almost 10 miles away. The town was looking well and seems to have improved a lot over recent years. I managed to find Mike and Sue Latchford, old friends of my dad who I hadn't seen in twenty years. We had a walk on the beach followed by lunch as we reminisced about old times. But soon it was time to be off again and I headed out for the 20 mile spin to Carrigaholt with a view to being in Galway by the weekend to meet Anne. The seas were lumpy for a bit but I eventually got some good sailing in the seas left over by a number of days of strong winds. I arrived late into Carrigaholt and anchored for the night but I didn't have a good night's sleep as the anchorage was tiderode which means that the tidal current swirls around the bay making it rolly at certain stages of the tide. So when the roll started at 5am again I decided I couldn't sleep and was better off pushing on. The wind was light on the 11 mile run down the mouth of the Shannon to Loop Head but jacked up to 4 metre seas near the head, easing when I was a couple of miles from it. I motored in the light winds, conscious that I could only get into Galway Docks for a 2 hour period near High Water so I had to make ground. After a long boring stretch up the Clare coast, I got shelter from the swell behind the Aran Islands. I was making good time and so was able to sail the last 4 hours to the docks/ The glorious sun and moderate winds made for a great spin and I arrived just 10 minutes after the lock gates had opened. After that it was time for a beer and a well deserved rest. But more important, with Anne due to arrive the following day, I had lots of cleaning to do !!! So friday was spent fixing a few little jobs, stocking up, and getting ready for the inspection.

And now for Anne, the real skipper

Well I arrived in on a very wet Friday evening to a pristine Sucking Diesel.. Derrick is such a good influence!! Friday evening was enjoying an entertaining evening in the pubs Of Galway. A good idea until 7 the following am when the scrap metal mountain near the mooring was dismantled for ship loading. Having a departure time early pm left us loads of time to explore Galway..always pleasant. With the weather much better than forecast we left Galway ..destination Rossaveel. Winds were coming from the North off the land and were too light for sailing so on we motored through occasional showers. Great for me to get my sea legs. We anchored off a ROPED visitors buoy in Rossaveal and waved to our neighbours as they headed for the pub.The metal mountain musical medley had left us needing an early night in flat calm conditions. Sunday has us out of Rossaveel by 9.30am in light winds from the North in overcast skies..destination Roundstone.Early conditions were calm and made for pleasant sailng.. we lost the wind and had to motor in to Roundstone. Visitors buoys again...but no rope this time. As I found out the rope makes things much less 'interesting'. Round and round and round we went in gust of 27 knots as I am lying on the deck trying to put through the loop on the buoy. I think they should rename it Roundbouy. After several unsuccessful attempts I was relegated to the dingy for easier access to the said buoy. Good plan except that the wind and forward movement created an ankle deep puddle for me ..very refreshing. but success ..I snared me that there buoy and to celebrate I decided to take a full body dip. Yes you've guessed, I fell in as I was trying to reboard. Fortunately the dingy was close by.. getting a fit of the giggles does not make for a graceful entry into the dingy but it was entertaining for anyone watching from Roundstone/Roundbuoy.

Early start again on Monday.We had to be at Slyne Head by about midday to have slack water as we rounded the head. The run to Slyne Head was close hauled in one meter swell with steely grey seas to our starboard and indigo blue to our port all the time keeping watch for lobster pots ..the sailing version of dodgems! Past the protection of slyne Head hour early..we had wind over tide. This meant heavy seas,swell of 3 metres and winds of 27 knots over the deck. For me that was incredible. I had a real sense of being in the Atlantic ocean. Ok I'll be honest I was concentrating on staying upright and not thinking about my dodgy tummy. A real baptism by water. We were aiming for the beacon at the entrance to Cliften Bay.. once we reached this point we were in much more protected waters allowing us to drop the mainsail. Then my heart dropped..we were to moor at those pesky visitors buoys again. Where was my Mammy when I needed her!! Well I faced that buoyo done with a length of rope that would have tied us to Galway and back and SUCCESS was mine on my second attempt due to fairly fancy manoeuvering by the skipper.Yes he's pretty hot as this sailing business. We celebrated with a lovely meal in Clifden about a mile from the mooring and watched a school of porpoises ambling in the bay from the boat club. Perfect way to end a perfect day. Home for me tomorrow but hopefully back to have more fun with the buoys in Donegal in August. Thanks Johhnny for a great trip.