Once Sean had finished his maintenance jobs which involved refitting the shower hose, so that we didn’t have another ‘almost sunk’ incident, and what with finding a local welder who could repair the rod bracing the captain’s chair, we had almost two days down time in Peel before we headed off to Carlingford Lough.
Marian eventually tracked down the harbour master, who charged us £76 for a three night stay, this included showers and electric on a pontoon, as opposed to against the harbour wall.
We reacquainted ourselves with the harbour town of Peel, wandering round the narrow winding streets and along the sea front, we didn’t visit the castle, to follow in the steps of missionaries, kings and Viking warriors, because I’m all castled out at the moment! The castle dominates the harbour and town, and is probably well worth a visit, especially at sunset as it would have an uninterrupted view. We had a delicious meal in the Boatyard; they use Manx produce wherever possible, we ate local lobster, which came to the table still steaming with an accompanying salad in a clam, a small bowl of finger cut chunky chips and a jug of hot garlic butter, my mouth is salivating just thinking about it, boy it was good!
We caught a bus into Douglas on the east of the island, which has far more of interest to do; it’s the capital and has a sweeping Victorian promenade. In the visitors guide of the museum you are advised to allow for a two to three hour trip, I would consider this to be an underestimation of the time required to discover the stories, objects, photographs and records collected over decades relating to the history of Mann and all things Manx. The museum is probably one of if not the best that I have ever visited, well laid out, they also have rather a quaint café attached, so allow time for a break half way round. I would also like to point out that unbelievably the museum is free, they just ask for a donation.
We strolled amongst the narrow lanes in the heat of the town, where there are plenty of shops and wicker pieces of art dotted about in the main street, we had a really pleasant day, and when you start getting a bit weary you will find there are restaurants and cafes to suit everyone’s taste and budget, which will set you straight for the next few hours site seeing.
There is a large marina here, again like Peel entry is controlled via a swing bridge. There is no internet attached to either marina, but Wi-Fi is everywhere, please be aware the Isle of Man is not part of England or Europe, which means they have separate roaming charges, so it is best to check with your network provider for the best package before setting sail for here.
This morning we slipped out of our mooring and joined a queue of boats waiting to exit via the swing bridge, the sun is shining and the wind forecast is south west. I took the first hour, followed by Sean and then Marian, Simon is excused taking a watch turn today as he has hurt his knee, we don’t know what the problem is, but its swollen and obviously painful, so standing swaying on the helm wouldn’t have helped.
The sea state was meant to be slight but I would describe it as more moderate as we are bouncing along. (I’ve taken a sea sickness tablet for the first time in weeks). As we cross the Irish Sea we have noticed the quantity of fishing vessels around us, all appearing to be trawling. On our way over we had to call up one vessel which motored straight across our bow, trawling, I did point out that we were under sail, to which he retorted he was under trawl. We agreed to keep our course and he agreed to slow down, we passed across his bow at what I would describe as close quarters. I did offer to minus twenty degrees and come behind him, and it was at that point he told us he was trawling; he was motoring at such a speed I wouldn’t have known. I did suggest that he minus twenty degree’s and come round our stern but as it was we didn’t collide, so lived to tell the story. But you really do have to keep a vigilant watch, it’s not enough just to see vessels ‘out there’, you really do need to watch them to see if you can work out what they are up to, in the RYA skippers guide, they have lovely diagrams of various signals these fishing vessels will be flying whilst trawling, but in reality it’s down to the skipper whether he flies them or not.
Then would you believe the same thing has just happened again on my watch! Fishing vessel N192 has a lot to answer for, all that ocean and we were quite happily going towards each other port to port, and then he just turns right under my bow!
As the afternoon progressed the weather got worse, the sea state deteriorated from a moderate to a rough, and the last four hours were just not pleasant, the waves and wind were hitting our beam so we were rolling!
I steered us into Carlingford Lough through the buoyed passage avoiding the rocks and sand banks, and then Simon took over to berth her on the pontoon, so those with more able knees today were able to jump off with rocks. Sean and I planned the passage today from Peel, we organised to come into Carlinford lough on a flooding tide, and as we motor sailed in we were hitting speeds of 8.4 knots and this is neaps. You would be ill advised to attempt entry on an ebbing tide, we are only here as a port of safety before we head off for another long passage tomorrow into Dublin.
Sadly there is no internet in the marina at Carlingford Lough, so Sean and I have strolled into town to use the pub, it seemed rude not too!
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