Friday, July 29, 2011

Baltimore to Oysterhaven

An odd motion of the boat woke me with a start around 03:30, a slight bumping and jerking uncomfortably reminiscent of her motion when floating off a trailer. Not having a functioning echo-sounder, I had relied on my charts to find a good depth for anchoring: could I have made a mistake? Perhaps even now we were going aground as the water ebbed all around us. Briongloid is a fin-keeler; she cannot take the ground without a friendly pier for support, and the subsequent rising tide would drown her for sure.

A glance at the harbour wall and a two bearings with my hand-compass reassured me; the tide had risen while we slept, and, mentally calculating forward from the tides of the previous day, should only be ebbing again around breakfast / anchor raising time. Back to my bunk.


I woke properly around 06:30 to what at first seemed like a viable offshore breeze. We raised sail and anchor, and began a slow glide out of Baltimore, drifting gently with the ebb. The wind soon disappointed, unfortunately, to the point where I decided to abandon ship, and jumped into the dinghy to row ahead and take some pictures.

From Bantry to Oysterhaven
Becalmed in Baltimore Harbour

Outside Baltimore, we gave up on the wind; I returned to the mothership, we sparked up the iron genoa, and re-commenced our journey eastwards. Almost immediately, we encountered a pod of a smallish whale species - could have been pilot whales. They seemed to have been travelling along the coast, and, when last seen, were paralleling Clear Island on their way out to sea.

We put-putted on past the Stag Rocks, a photogenic landmark, sadly in too much of a hurry to try free-diving the Kowloon Bridge. The wind did rise eventually, and at last we were able to cross Clonakilty bay under one of my favourite pieces of canvas, a large red genoa-ish sail cut quite round, very good for reaching. The wind was just right, just a nice strength from a pretty favourable direction. This was sailing as we dream of it, gliding easily across a flattish sea on a perfect summer afternoon, with nice views, and the pleasant feeling that home is only just over the horizon. My crew hopped into the dingy and let me sail past him a few times for photographic purposes.

From Bantry to Oysterhaven
Crossing Clonakilty Bay

The rest of the trip was very uneventful; our friendly wind died off eventually, and it was back to the infernal combustion engine for our last few kilometres, rounding close by the Old Head of Kinsale (there is something very like a fossil trackway on the great slabs that form the terminal cliff) and so past Big Sovereign to our home mooring, have travelled about 160 kilometres in about 48 hours, with only 2 of those hours spent on terra firma.

No comments: