Sunday, 29 June 2014

The end of a fantastic week

I am sitting in a cafe in Belfast, having left Alexandria in Carlingford Lough this morning on a beautiful sunny June day. It's been a great week. The weather has been kind to us - though the wind direction could have been better at times! Entertaining congenial company and some cracking sailing. 

My week was further enhanced by unexpectedly meeting not one but two friends: Si├ón in Milford Haven and Derek in Dun Laoghaire, both shipmates from when I did the Clipper race back in 2006. 

Highlights of the week: the dolphins, of course, who sported in our bow-wave as we motored across the Bristol Channel. But also the places we visited. Padstow is charming, despite its challenging shallows at the entrance. Milford Haven is an idyllic location with added massive oil refineries. 

Wexford had a memorably tricky entrance with very little water in the narrow winding channel even at high water (how do those huge mussel dredgers manage?); this was a highlight also because of the calm and efficient teamwork that Martin created. Wexford itself was a bit dispiriting, with so many shops closed and so many cracked windows; but dinner at Greenacres, with its walls lined from ceiling to floor with wine bottles, soon cheered us up. 

The sail up to Dun Laoghaire was perhaps the best sailing of the week, with a good easterly breeze on the beam and (some of the time) a fair ride under us. Dublin, of course: though I only saw the barber's shop on Grafton Street, an Italian restaurant and Doyle's pub where we finally sank a long-wished-for pint of Guinness. And finally, last night, the approach into Carlingford Lough, one of the most beautiful places, with the sun shining on the green mountains.

What a great week. Many thanks to Martin for inviting me! Fair winds and Godspeed for Alexandria and her skipper and crew on the rest of this adventure.

Mark.


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