Not all plain sailing

Tuesday 2 May

A poor night’s rest never bodes well for a good passage the following day, and this was no exception. Woken early by a bright morning, Mate was soon helming us West of Lambay hoping for some shelter in the channel between the island and the mainland. With hazy sun to starboard they probably missed views of the best of the island’s famous wildlife, but in any case Mate was concentrating hard on holding me steady in a stiff breeze and still lumpy sea, while Skipper once again set the sails. She brought Jeanny (my autopilot) into service just in time to sink her head into Jimmy, the trusty cockpit bucket, but after some rest was feeling better.
The sun was warm and the wind eased, flattening the sea enough to smooth my motion, though I managed to maintain five knots. The haze lifted to give a reasonable view through the passage between the Skerries and the Rockabill lighthouse, with the majestic Mountains of Mourne rising along the coastline. We made a straightforward entry into Carlingford Lough, my hull tickled by hints of turbulence that would be very difficult in nasty conditions. Where the tidal flow is strongest, channel marks are mounted on flat boat-shaped bases, to ease the strain on their moorings, and these prove comfortable perches for many gulls and terns. Other wildlife spotted today included a dolphin and seals. The Lough is attractive with hills rising along both shores.
Our anchorage at Greer’s Quay on the Southern Irish bank lies on the border, and the far side of the Lough is Northern Ireland, where we’ll be back in the UK for the first time in nearly two months, even though we’ve spoken English with the natives for most of those miles. The wind finally eased and a beautiful sunset restored the Mate’s faith in this choice of lifestyle.

Early May Bank Holiday

Monday 1 May

Today is a Bank Holiday here in Ireland as well as in the UK, so not surprisingly it was windy and cold on a lumpy sea as we dragged ourselves out of Dun Laoghaire marina, applying a new scratch along the starboard hull before Skipper managed to reverse me most of the way to the outer harbour before finding room to turn me safely. Poor Mate was bounced around on the foredeck stowing fenders in the sail locker, and by the time we actually made the open bay she was glad for a spell on the helm, while Skipper hauled up the mainsail to steady our motion.
We made a relatively short passage to anchor in the lee of Lambay Island, where we saw a family of huge Atlantic seals basking on the shoreline. It turned out to be quite a rolly anchorage, but the Mate braved the galley to produce a mushroom risotto, before turning in for a less than peaceful night.