Antipole cruises

Sheltering from the winds

The summer weather seems completely broken this year. Whether this is a one-off or environmental degradation has brought the end of summer cruising as we knew it, only time will tell.

We have enjoyed five days shelter and rest on the Isle of Man, based in Peel on the west coast while the white horses roared by outside. We never visited here when we were at Douglas – the capital – in 2013.

Peel Castle and town

Peel is a lovely little port and holiday resort dominated by its castle on Peel Island. We have walked over Peel Hill, visited the castle and museum and cycled across to Douglas and back on a cycle path following the former Douglas to Peel railway line. The harbour is frequented by shovel ducks and guillemots – the latter being from the auk family (like puffins) are attractive as they dive in and out of the water.

Two days of moderate southerly winds enabled us to progress northwards, but we chose not to rely on shelter in Portpatrick and went up the Irish coast instead. We anchored overnight in Brown’s Bay outside Larne Lough, where we enjoyed a spectacular sunset.

The next day we made passage to Rathlin Island off Ireland’s north east corner. The tide here can be ferocious but we managed to reach the shelter of Church Bay before it turned against us.

Sunset in Brown’s Bay
Church Bay, Rathin Island

Rathlin Island is now the only inhabited island off the whole of Ireland. It is windswept and rugged but the marina in Church Bay provides shelter from all but westerly winds. We tucked up here to sit out two days of gales and severe gales. We doubled up on our mooring lines to keep Antipole tethered to the pontoon.

We braved wind and rain to walk to Rue Point on the southern tip, where we viewed the tide ripping through the channel we had sailed the previous day. Lots of seals were hauled out on the rocks. After that, an evening in McGuaig’s Bar with Guinness and chips was very welcome.

Rue Point lighthouse on Rathlin Island

On Monday, we expect to be able to break out and make it to Islay – our first Scottish island. With more strong winds expected on Tuesday, we do not want to risk relying on our anchor. Some places have laid visitors’ buoys but we cannot be sure to find a vacant one. So we have to find shelter in a marina. Few afford shelter from all wind directions. It seems very different from our idyllic visit in 2014.

Ynskje & Tony xx

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