Sunday, 6 July 2014

Campbeltown to Glenarm, Northern Ireland

We had a great sail yesterday with a good close hauled passage in useful winds from Campbeltown to Glenarm, Northern Ireland, a passage of 35 miles, mostly with the tide and the last part against.  

We chose Glenarm because of a better wind angle, and just noticed a small note added by a helpful sailor saying the chart was wrong and the harbour does NOT dry out as the out of date electronic chart indicates. Glenarm is rather a tight harbour for a larger boat, but has a good depth, and is easy and convenient to get into. The harbourmaster moved another boat at relatively short notice to accommodate us and we perched on a pontoon in comfort. Extremely friendly, laundry, honesty box...and a stunning backdrop. Northern Ireland is so beautiful.

So, a good day indeed, with sightings of porpoises along the way. There was a pod of porpoises corralling the fish together with the effect that the gannets could dive into the middle of the porpoises and snatch the fish. It seemed like intra species cooperation at its best.

Andy perfected his navigation skills, mastering the complexities of magnetic deviation and tidal interpolation. The attached photo shows him triumphant. Can you spot where he is taking us to? If not, we followed it and got there safely!  photo attached.

However, the evening got even better. Chriis' wife Cecilia was by chance a 10 mile drive from Glenarm, and so she and her sister picked the three if us up and took us to Johnny Joe's in Cushendall where the three of us ate well and then went to a small back room, 15feet x 20feet, old, with a new piano, and the most incredible much loved feel. We drank a little, then a guitarist came in, followed by another and then another, and a mandolin, and a banjo too. Then they began to sing Irish folk songs. Quite spontaneous, quite natural and absolutely beautiful. I loved the way that it just happened singing within, not to, a crowd of about 25 people some standing in the tiny room.  No disco music, no pre recorded tracks, just completely natural singing with good voices too. Cecilia and her family and their friends were utterly generous, welcoming, interesting, and warm people and all three if us had such a great evening. Just fantastic! 

Today, is a bright and sunny day and the air temperature is an unusually high 20 degrees and we are sailing without fleeces. It must be summer! We

are making the small hop back to Carrickfergus where, sadly, Andy leaves this evening, and from where Chris  and I will leave tomorrow. He to go to Belfast to return home, and I to meet some of my family who fly in tomorrow for a break together. This will allow us easy travel arrangements, a break from the boat and a chance to explore the very beautiful Northern Ireland, before returning in ten days time to continue our adventure. 

But now, I feel a spinnaker moment coming on...and we have left the 'wee pesty beasties', (midges), behind in Scotland. They don't like to be beside the seaside...

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