Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Strangford to Peel, Isle of Man
Having escaped from the Strangford Strangler, we sailed with a good 40 degrees off the NE wind , then we motor sailed when the wind dropped, and then nearly at Peel, we motored. The whole journey took 5 hours across the Irish Sea, and was slightly dull after the recent excitement, notwithstanding Andy and Charles' erudite conversation. A trawler got slightly too close, I fixed the fridge, we had routine traffic conversations with the Belfast and Liverpool coastguards, we practised putting in and taking out a first reef and second reef in the mainsail, and marked their positions in preparation for the windy weather I feel might come quite soon. And made several cups of tea. And ate the rest of the genoa cake. Wonderfully relaxing.
At Peel, we arrived exactly in time for Peel HW at 1430 and waited for the bridge to swing for us to pass. The very friendly harbourmaster, a Liverpudlian (it seems like the 80,000 Manx population is 40pct Liverpool, 30 pct Mancunian, 20pct non British Isles, and the rest is Manx) allocated us to our berth, a double one where we would fit. We didn't. Fortunately, the owners of the expensive motor boat were not around to see us carefully manoeuvre to within a foot of their prize, before deducing that we were about 2 feet too wide. Instead we went onto a pontoon in the long thin marina where we effectively now block the fairway, so I hope that nothing happens in the night at 0200 when any fishing boats return with the high water.
Having put the boat to bed, we sauntered off to Douglas, the island capital, keeping the delights of Peel for tomorrow morning. 30 minutes waiting for the bus, during which I caught up on family phone calls which was great, and 40 minutes on the bus, brought us to Douglas and its very long 1 and a half mile promenade along which we walked both there and back. In the sunshine, we felt like an ice cream, so bought the largest ice cream known to man, then found a restaurant by the marina where the really friendly Polish manager served us our beer, then tapas, then answered all my questions about the Isle of Man with great patience. A really nice evening.
On our return to the boat around 2200, I recharged the accumulator in the engine bay with the bycycle pump Charles had brought out with him, connected to a hose which I bought today from a cycle shop that would be the sort that Miss Marple might frequent. I hope recharging the system has stopped the pump coming on every 30 seconds to try and maintain pressure in the freshwater plumbing system.
Tomorrow, we are unable to leave here until 1300, when the cill lowers 2 hours either side of high water, so expect to do boaty chores, and maybe explore Peel castle which looks impressive. Then with a SW wind we shall sail off to Carrickfergus about 50nm away arriving late tomorrow night, all being well. This will allow Charles, whose company we have much enjoyed, to fly from Belfast on Thursday morning and Chris to arrive on the same plane, and once we have welcomed Chris the three of us can start a new chapter in our Most Excellent Adventure.