Antipole cruises

The Far North

We are really appreciating seeing trees again, realising we have missed them over the last weeks on the Atlantic coast.  We had an idyllic anchorage in Ards Bay within a tree-clad inlet.

On Thursday we had a very gentle sail round to Mulroy Bay.  ‘Bay’ is an understatement here, as beyond the head of the bay itself lie a series of linked loughs extending more than ten miles inland.  There are three points in particular where the next lough is linked through a narrow passage.  The constricted tidal flow runs fast here – we experienced six knots – and a phase lag in the tides, such that the tide can be running out in one narrow while running in in another.  So timing of passage is crucial.  The second narrows is spanned by a road bridge said to have a clearance of 19 metres.  We have an air draft of 17.5 metres, so there should have a safe margin – but viewed from the deck it is impossible to judge, and it was a heart-in-mouth moment as we were swept through under the bridge.  We were fortunate enough to be able to sail the whole ten miles under just the genoa through the twisting passages until we reached the innermost Broadwater, where we anchored in lovely sunshine for a restful afternoon with swim and doze.  There is sea mist close by and yet we enjoy the sunshine.  On Friday we sailed to the southernmost point and went ashore to the small town of Milford for supplies.  It was rather a culture shock experiencing a town and traffic again after nearly two months without, and we were glad to get back on board and have a swim.  We are really blessed with the weather and wind.  After being able to sail all the way down the loughs under just genoa, the wind reversed and we were able to sail all the way out under genoa too!

From Mulroy Bay we sailed round Malin Head, the northern-most point of Ireland and very tide-swept.  This area is home to many Basking Sharks, and we regularly saw their dorsal fins and sometimes their tails close by.  We battled contrary tide and wind for several hours to reach the island of Inishtrahull and made it into the tiny harbour, where we were surrounded by Grey Seals and shared it with a Basking Shark.  Unfortunately, there was too much swell inside the anchorage to stay.  This was a pity, as the island was abandoned by its last inhabitants eighty years ago and it would have been interesting to explore.   So we had to then set off for another twenty miles to find other shelter.  We ended up in the lovely River Bann which runs though sand dunes and gentle countryside. We are now in Northern Ireland, so it’s time to put away the euros and dig out the sterling. Today we have moved up river to Coleraine and are berthed alongside in a marina – our first alongside berth since Dingle.  We are close by to the University of Ulster, where we have obtained access to the students’ laundry facilities.  It is clean-up time again!

Love to all
Tony & Ynskje

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