After a nice breakfast at our B&B we checked out and walked over to the Adare Heritage Center where we joined Mick Moloney for a 10 day musical tour of western Ireland. We met the bus, loaded our luggage, said hello to old and new friends and then we were off thru Rathkeale, Newcastle West and Tralee to the beautiful fishing town of Dingle. We checked in to the Dingle Skelligs Hotel for a two night stay and then explored Dingle on foot for a few hours. Then we attended the opening reception followed by dinner and a concert of music with Mick, concertina player and singer Brenda Castles and virtuoso uilleann piper Mickey Dunne. Mickey was born into a family of Travellers and lived in the covered wagons you would expect of gypsies. We learned quite a bit about what this meant living on the outskirts of traditional Irish society, but Mickey did well and is a fantastic person and musician. He is now a full time uilleann pipe maker and musician.
We finished up our stay in Waterford with a visit to the Medieval Museum. This is an award winning museum built over some structures from around 940AD and it gives a nice history of Waterford from Viking times thru Henry VIII. Then we had some fun at the Viking King exhibit which is a sit down in a Viking replica structure with Virtual Reality headsets for a 1/2 hour show. Actually more history than video game, so that was fun. Then it was off to the bus station for a 3 hour trip to Adare where we will meet up with our tour group. We stayed in a lovely B&B called the Adare Country House. We wandered thru Adare, a twee English style village and had a nice dinner at The Arches.
We arrived in Dublin after a smooth flight and a bit of sleep. We took the airport express bus to the Dublin Heuston rail station, purchased tickets from the machine, and made the train to Waterford with 15 minutes to spare. Had a very nice train ride with lunch from the trolley and arrived in Waterford a few hours later. It was an easy walk across the river and to the Granville Hotel, a very nice, old hotel. Walked around town for a while, visited the Waterford Crystal shop, and had an excellent Italian meal. Then it was back to the hotel and crashed.
We are off for a musical tour of Ireland with Mick Moloney. Today we are taking the overnight Icelandic Air flight to Dublin thru Reykjavik.
After 3 years without leaving the Chesapeake, Merlin and her crew are planning on a summer trip to Maine! We hope to get underway in June with Tina’s brother on board as well. We are busy getting Merlin ready for the trip with new sails, new 750AH battery bank and new enclosure. Those upgrades are almost complete and water is turned on at our dock in the next 2 weeks. Then we can really start cleaning and loading provisions and things back on board. Hopefully we will do a better job keeping up with our blog!
Well I’ve been really bad about keeping this up to date, but here’s a summary that hopefully I can flesh out later.
Feb 28 – Shroud Cay
Feb 29 – Emerald Rock
Mar 2 – Pineapple Cays, Eleuthera
Mar 3 – Royal Island, Eleuthera
Mar 4 – Little Harbor, Abacos
Mar 5 – Harbor View Marina, Marsh Harbor
Mar 8 – Dickies Cay, Man omWar
Mar 11 – Treasure Cay
Mar 13 – Hopetown
Mar 14 – Marsh Harbor, BJ and John arrive
Mar 15 – Anchor by Little Harbor and Dingy in for drinks at Petes Pub then move to Lynard Cay
Mar 16 – snorkel on Sandy Cay, move to Hopetown
Mar 18 – go thru Whale Cay passage and on to Bluff House at Green Turtle
Mar 22 – depart Green Turtle for U. S.
Mar 23 – Vero Beach
Mar 26 – Cocoa, FL
We decided that it’s time to start heading home, as did Heeling Time, so we left Emerald Bay headed for White Bay. 30 miles in Exuma Sound and then up the bank. We used Cave Cut and came in against 4 knots of current. A little standing wave, but no rage or anything. We anchored off the beach for the night and relaxed.
After Musha Cay we headed out Rudder Cut and headed into about 14 knots of wind on a very close reach so we motor sailed. We had a bit of excitement when the oil pressure dropped to zero. After about 15 minutes of troubleshooting we determined that the wire to the sensor broke, so we just ignored the gage. We arrived at Enmerald Bay after about 6 hours and entered the narrow channel behind the breakwater. There was just enough swell to make it interesting. Onward and Merlin joined Heeling Time on D Dock, which is the $1 a foot dock since there is no electricity available. But the marina has free laundry so that was done pretty quickly. We rented a 6 passenger car with the other boats and explored the Island driving down south of the Tropic of Cancer for lunch and exploring ruins. We also drove into town for a grocery run at Exuma Market. Tina and I explored Sandals’ beach and walked out to see the breakwater from the dirt side. We stayed 3 nights.
I am woefully behind in our posts, but we’ve been busy! Our friends Peter and Shelagh visited from London last week. It’s not always easy to get to an airport at the right time and place when the weather is as bad as its been this year, but the weather cooperated and we made it to Staniel Cay for both flights without issue. We had some good days while they were here first heading up to Warderick Wells on the banks where we were able to get a mooring ball in the North Field. There was a cruisers meet and greet on the beach that night which is always fun. Peter and Shelagh fit right in with the group. We decided to spend two nights there so we had a chance to hike up to Boo Boo hill and leave our boat board and also do a bit of snorkeling. The reef was in good shape and there were lots of fish. Tina and Peter hit the jackpot seeing two large Eagle Rays up close. After that we headed south to Cambridge Cay down the sound so we had a nice trip in deep water. While at Cambridge a 50ft Beneteau sailboat got stuck on the rocks in the inlet, so all the dingys in the mooring field headed out to help. About an hour later they were free. Then we headed to Blackpoint on what started out to be a nice brisk sail in 20 knots. The winds built to 25-30 on the nose and seas built to maybe a short 4-5 ft chop, so we cut the trip short and anchored by Sampson Cay and spent a nice quiet evening. Then on to Blackpoint the next day for a Bahamian Settlement visit. Yesterday we headed back to Staniel Cay for a nice lunch at the Yacht Club and walked to the airport to bid adieu to Peter and Shelagh. We had a great time with them. Then back to Blackpoint before sunset. Now we are sitting in the laundromat washing clothes for the first time in weeks. The winds will be over 20 for the best part of the next week, so we may be here a while….we’ll see.
The laundromat here is great and well known. They even sell T-Shirts.