Malahide, 9th august

After James left, I caught up with Christine who lives in Pembroke Dock to arrange our trip a couple of days later. Sorting out the website took a while and then there was a bit of shopping but once it was done I caught up with Joe and Sindy on Monearn. They had been in Dale on a mooring buoy when James and I arrived but now both boats haded up the river from Milford to the picturesque spot of Lawrenny station, merely an inlet off the main river. We picked up moorings, that is after I tried to anchor and found the bed to be rock and gravel. Since it was Sindy's last night, we went out for food to the local pub. Food was good and the pints went down well. On leaving Sindy asked if I had lots of fuel as she jokingly said Joe's brother was on his boat a mile futher up the river. So I turned and we flew up the river with the sound of the engine drowning out Sindy's screams to meet David and Sam. The boat had just been relaunched after 2 years on work and they were still pottering on it trying to decide if they REALLY wanted to go to the med this year. Decisions, decisions !

It was wet and bouncy on the way back down the river but at least Sindy was smiling when she got off. The following day we all went down together on Suckin' Diesel to Pembroke Dock, tying up at the free pontoon at Kelpies Boats. It is conveniently located 5 minuites from the supermarket and 20 minuites from the ferry. Sindy was going back and Alan Brady was arriving to crew SD home. The weather was drizzly but the forecast for our departure on the following day was good as a high pressure was starting to build, giving calming seas and more stable winds for the trip home. We had dinner with Joe and awoke ready for the off. After stocking up with the last few bits, Christine arrived and we were off. There was a reasonable amount of gusty wind in the haven but outside it was quite light and the seas lumpy. We negotiated the two narrow sounds, Jack Sound and Ramsey Sound to the north with the only event being the skipper letting the cruising chute fall into the water. But no harm done and soon we were back on our way until the wind went light and we had to motor the last 10 miles into Fishgard. The anchorage was pretty with lots of trees around the old harbour that people getting the ferry never see. We had Lundy Lamb for dinner before going to the Ship Inn for a couple of pints and then we all slept realy well after a first day on the road back home.

Bright sunshine and no wind greeted us the next day and as we had a lazy breakfast outside. Since we were now back in the Irish Sea, we would have to use the tides as much as possible to help us on the next trip. We took Joe's advice and decided to go to Arklow, 65 miles away. The tides dictated a 2pm departure so we headed fo a long stroll ashore to get a feel for Fishgard and I found it to be really quaint. Lots of small shops selling jewellery and art and some fine pubs. The walk along the shore was lovely on that sunny day and we could see the calm seas that faced us. Back onboard the forecast indicated light winds possibly coming more onto the nose towards the end of the trip. As we set out we had nice winds for a bit but further offshore, the winds went light so we motored on calming seas in glowing sunshine. It was calm enough for us to rest and chill and enjoy the view of water all around us. As the sun started to sink the Wicklow hills started to appead over the horizon and then the buoys marking the Arklow bank started to flash, confirming our position. At 1130 we eventually tied up in the commercial dock and zonked out.

The following morning we headed off early with the tide for the short spin up to Wicklow. Along the way we stopped off to visit Fiona and Emmett in Brittas Bay, anchoring off the beach and dinghying ashore for coffee. Certainly they won't get many visitors arriving like that!!! On returning to the boat, we found the wind had got up a little from the southeast so we got the cruising chute going without the main and did 4-5 knots all the way past Wicklow Head. After a pleasant afternoon in town, we left with the tide at 7.15am on light seas to motor to Malahide. We hugged the coast and went inside Dalkey Island so we could be tourists and gawk at the mansions overlooking the water. We managed to sail a bit crossing Dublin Bay but the motor took us past Howth and into Malahide. Anne was waiting for us as we arrived to fuel up and she put her foot down, insisting we go out again for a spin up to Skerries for a last night to eat out in Stoops. A great end to a long passage for Christine and Alan; too much motoring but good seas.