Log of Calypso

29 March 2017 | Llanelli, Wales
28 March 2017 | Llanelli, Wales
27 March 2017 | Wexford, Ireland
25 March 2017
24 March 2017
24 March 2017
22 March 2017 | Kilkenny, Ireland
21 March 2017 | Portree Guest House, ireland
20 March 2017 | Waterford, Ireland
19 March 2017
18 March 2017
17 March 2017 | Cobh, Ireland
16 March 2017 | Cobh, Ireland
15 March 2017 | JFK International Airport, NY
12 March 2017 | Sailcraft Services, Oriental NC
11 March 2017 | Sailcraft Services, Oriental NC
26 February 2017 | Oriental, NC
18 February 2017
03 February 2017
01 January 2017

10 Zion Row

29 March 2017 | Llanelli, Wales
Walking around Llanelli, Monday afternoon, we noticed some changes since our last visit. Yes, everything changes, but Wendy soon pointed out that we were looking at the town from a different prospective.

Almost three years ago, we had a room at the Thomas Arms, in city center. (SIDE BAR: just saw that it's rated as Llanelli's Most Haunted Building...boo!) It was close to the historic areas which today remains mostly untouched. It's was also the area close to the majority of pubs & night clubs. During the day & a half were there, we never left to explore other areas.


This time, we are in the area known as Millennium Park. It is a quiet residential area and completely different from the City Center Area. So, Tuesday, we explored more of this busy, working town.


Millennium Park is built along the docks used during the turn of last century. Ships along these docks loaded on Tin & Copper carrying these minerals out of the local mines. The old Bollards are still present.


Made into a tidal lake by a spillway, its now a place for recreational water sports.


In 1915, the Lewis family, all 11 plus 2 paying boarders lived in this home, near the City Center. They decided to leave everything in Wales and cross the Atlantic for Canada. One of them was a little girl named Mary Margaret, Wendy's grandmother.

They travelled to Liverpool and boarded the S/S Corsican. The ship had just crossed the ocean to the U.K. as a WW1 troop carrier. It most likely offered cheap transit, as it "dead headed" back across the Atlantic. It was not alone but had as company a military escort ship. It was dangerous times!

Today the city center is undergoing a transition. Some buildings have been demolished to make way for new supermarkets, department stores, and a motel. But, some buildings that were close to crumbling have been sealed by the city council and are undergoing refurbishment.


The town market is still up & going, but struggling. Like small markets in a lot of places busy people, with busy lives, bypass the slow wander in a market to go to groceries like: Iceland's, Aldi, or ASDA (looks like and is owned by Walmart).


This produce stand, run here for the last 50 years, is one of two remaining. Run by a local farmer who still brings produce to the market.


Over the years several church buildings became abandoned. This one was bought by a mattress retail shop which itself went out of business. It went into collections and was put up for auction. The sale was a bust as no one met the minimum bit. Two nights later a mysterious fire broke out, hummmm! That was over a year ago and here it sits today, again for sale.


When the tide goes out it goes out miles!


The major crop here is cockles. This small bivalve is dug from this mud and clay mixture.


This mud mixture is sticky, gooey, and slippery.

It can be dangerous, as every year someone who is not paying attention gets caught up & drowns while too far out on these mud flats as the tide rushes in. Our clue was to watch the commercial gathers, when they left so did we.

Tomorrow we are off to Cardiff, the capital of Wales.

Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy

Farewell Ireland

28 March 2017 | Llanelli, Wales
David, our host, was up early, Monday morning, in the kitchen getting our breakfast ready. We had a short 12 hour visit with him & his wife Eileen. The day before, Sunday, was Mothers Day in Ireland and their son made a surprise visit in from Dublin.

A very talented family, David is in musical management for several opera troops and their son is a singer with the touring company of Rhythm of the Dance.


Similar to River Dance he has performed in the US, Russia, China, and throughout Europe. Fascinating stories and interesting perspectives from a 22 year old.

They, like many people we've met have an interesting view on America. Sitting with them during afternoon tea was just like being at the HYC Tiki Bar, sooner or later, you can't get away from talking politics...;)

At 0845, on the tick, the Isle of Inishmore was underway!It was a calm but cool day which was nice. This stretch of water can be unforgiving as it is ware the Irish Sea meets the Atlantic.


Seven miles out we passed Tuskare Rock Lighthouse. The light marks a,"treacherous cluster of rocks lying off the south east corner of Ireland that has probably claimed more ships than any other navigational hazard around our coast."

If you check out the map tab of this blog you can see were we sent a position using our SPOT Satellite Position Locator.




As we entered the harbor of Milford Haven, passing Pembroke Castle on Thorn Island to starboard, we obviously entered a security zone.


A high speed RIB was following us and we are sure, reporting to higher authorities the suspicious, bearded, guy taking pictures from the ferry.

After clearing customs, which was more of a security check, we had 6 minutes to catch our train. "The station is a mile & a half away" the security officer told us, "you'll need a cab".

You know the Jimmy Buffett song, Everybody's got a Cousin in Miami? Such was the case with this security officer. Her friend worked in the cafe, and her friend, had a friend who drove a cab. We really didn't care, we were going to get a cab one way or the other, and now when the cab arrived, we had 4 minutes!!

We quickly explained our situation and hung on. Two minute, £4, and an "E-ticket" ride later we boarded our train.

The two hour train ride through the beautiful Welsh countryside brought us to Llanelli (pronounced Cla-Neth-Lee). We were here nearly three years ago to find the home were Wendy's grandmother lived as a girl.

Our host in Llanelli, Jon, picked us up at the train station and took us to his condo a long the coast. Only about a mile from town, we have a wonderful view of the water from our room. A short walk to town showed that there have been a lot of changes since our last visit. Tomorrow we explore, further.

Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Wendy & Jeff

Johnstown Castle & Gardens

27 March 2017 | Wexford, Ireland
Friday morning, our Air B&B host John, provided us with a nice light breakfast of bran cereal, tea, and milk. It was perfect, especially when we were going to spend the day exploring.

Our first stop was the train station to make sure train service was restored. It was, so no need for a last minute change in plans. As a backup John had already volunteered to drive us the 30 minutes to Rosslare, if needed. Sunday afternoon, we travel to Rosslare which It is our "jumping off" spot to Wales.


Bus service was still a bit sketchy so we hopped in a cab for a €12 ride to visit Johnstown Castle & Gardens. The present day Castle has been in place since the 19th century, relatively new by Irish standards. However a Castle has been located at this site since Norman times, the 12th century.


The last member of the estate's family, the Edmonds family, died in 1942. The estate was gifted to the nation. Passing through bureaucratic hands, the responsibility for its care finally settled with Teagasc, the Agriculture & Food Development Authority. The Castle was used as offices until three years ago, today it stands locked & empty.


The real highlight is the estate grounds. The total estate consists of 400 hectares (OK-we had to Google it too) one hectare contains about 2.47 acres. Forty of those are a park, Which included three large lakes. The remaining acreage is used for agricultural research.


The park is home to a variety of plants & animals. Although we didn't see any, Red Squirrels are one of the residents. Some we did see are ducks & swans, chickens, and peacocks.


We also watched this small wren work at building it's nest on a high spot in one of the lakes. Good thing there were no alligator.


Flowering trees and shrubs are beginning to bust into color like these Himalayan Rhododendrons.


There are large trees all over the park including Redwoods. There is also a Monterey Cypress, a Champion Tree of Ireland. The seeds were claimed to be smuggled in from America in a man's hat.


Structures other than the Castle still stand like the "Meat House" with it's secret passage to the castle's kitchen so visiting guests wouldn't see the staff working. There is also, Rathlannon Castle. It's nothing more than a rectangular tower house but it dates between the 15th & 16th century.


Our final stop was the Agriculture Museum. Housed appropriately in the Farmyard Building, it displayed a variety of farm life items such as; horse drawn carts, tractors, furniture, and more.


An eye opening "special feature" was the famine museum. It traced the history of life of pre-famine, small (1-10 acres of land) farm families before, during, and after the potato famine. During this time farmers leased land in hopes of not just making a living, but surviving. Many lost everything!


Potatoes, introduced in the 1500's, were a cheap source of food that could grow almost anywhere.

When the blight destroyed 20-30% of the potato crop people starved. Weather through complacency or by design, little was done by the British government to help. This all while massive amounts of food was still being exported from Ireland to England.


During this time Ireland lost a third of its population either to starvation or emigration. It was said at the time that the people moved on," either to the New World or the Next World".

Tonight we are staying in Rosslare on the south-eastern tip of Ireland. We are staying with David and Eileen, who are new but terrific Air B&B hosts. Their son came in from Dublin to visit for Irish Mothers Day. We all sat around with some late afternoon tea discussing our travels & theirs, places to see and of course some politics. Tomorrow morning at 0845 we board our three hour ferry to Wales. Fair well Ireland, for now!

Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy

The Big City

25 March 2017
After a wonderful breakfast of Bulgarian French Toast, berries, & jam we said fair well to Corey, Nadia, and her mom. We were planning to take the train to Dublin then transfer to another train to Wexford, arriving around 2000.

Corey recommended a travel site (http://getthere.ie) to help find a better route. We did and it would cut several hours off our travel time. Our plan, now, was to travel back to Waterford by train, then take the bus to Wexford. Simple--we thought!

On our walk to the train station we passed a small coffee shop. Thinking we had time to kill we stopped in for a cuppa, of tea. We thought about our experiences so far, and the similarities & differences of small Irish towns to those like it in the US.

One thing we noted was the lack of a visible police (Garda-meaning guardian of the peace) presence. So far, in a week, we have seen only three Garda patrol cars & no uniformed officers walking the streets.

The first was in Cobh's Paddy's Day Parade. The second, just outside Cashel parked at a residence , and the third driving the streets of Kilkenny. We mentioned this to Corey who told us if we were out at 0200 early on a Saturday morning after the pubs closed, then we would see them...;)

"No trains or buses to Waterford" the ticket agent said, "on account of the bus drivers strike". Several train routes we're cancelled, delayed, or were modified to ease the shortage of buses. Hummm!

Remembering our original plan we inquired about travel to Wexford via Dublin. After some consultation the agent said it was the long way around but we could do it. So, we purchased the tickets and 10 minutes later we were on our way to Ireland's Capital City.

We weren't in Kansas anymore! Kilkenny or Waterford had been the biggest towns we had been in so far, but now we were in a city of over a million, plus tourists. A strong police presents was everywhere, especially after the terror attack in London only days ago.

There were multiple pairs of Garda and other Rail Security Service Officers out & about. We saw several questioning people that, we suspected, were intoxicated in one form or another.

Graffiti tagged buildings were everywhere too, some with so much that it appeared taggers were competing for space. Even some commuter train cars had graffiti on them.

This was also our first experience, in Ireland, with active and almost in your face panhandlers, but a couple of NO's and they were on to the next person.

The big news was not the strike but tonight's football (Soccer) game between Ireland and Wales. The stadium, with its shining steel dome was surrounded by sports media trucks. Fathers and sons, dressed to show Irish pride, hustled for trains to take them to the the stadium. Ultimately, the game ended in a 0-0 tie.

As we left on platform 5, at 1736 headed for Wexford Town, we travelled along the coast. The calm Irish Sea was beautiful as the evening sun faded over the hills to the west. Then, passenger, after passenger, began to leave the crowded "standing room only" train. We continued to travel through the outskirts of Dublin, then the suburbs, and finally back into the Irish countryside.

Arriving about 2000, which was our original plan, we had a ten minute walk to #5 Sunrise Circle. This was the home of John and his lab mix dog, Bella, who greeted us and gave a brief tour of his beautiful contemporary home by the sea. We settled into our room with a glass of wine from a bottle Wendy had "squirreled" away for just such an occasion.

What a difference, the entire County of Wexford only has 20K people living in it. Back to no graffiti, no visible Garda, and no hustle & bustle of the big city. Tomorrow we explore Wexford Town.

Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy

Kilkenny

24 March 2017
Thursday morning, Corey made us a full Irish breakfast, what a treat! Then we were off, continuing to explore this wonderful medieval city.

It started out clear and a bit cool. As we walked to the old cathedral the clouds moved in, the wind picked up, and it started to rain. Very similar to NC winter weather, give it 30 minutes and it will change...;

After a brief 5 minute drizzle, we reached St. Canices (Can-is) Cathedral. We purchased there combo ticket which gave us access to both the cathedral and the round tower.

The tower built in the mid-9th century, made it the oldest standing structure in the City, the tower was used not only as a lookout but "as a place of refuge for body and treasure". The tower is one of only two towers, of this age in Ireland, that tourists can still climb.

A recorded voice gives information as you climb the towers 121 steep wooden steps. The climb is broken up by seven landings as you make your way up the 100' (30 meter) climb. This is not for the faint of heart, especially when, at the half way point, the voice tells you that the tower has a slight lean, WHAT!

So, as you climb, not only does the the inside diameter get narrow, making the passing of climbers in the opposite direction a challenge, but you soon realize the extent of the lean, which is "2 feet (.7 meters) off plumb".


Not to worry, what's the worst that can happen? All that is forgotten when you reach the top and you have an unrestricted full view of the city and surrounding countryside.


The site were St Canice’s Cathedral was built in the 13th century had been the site of Christian worship since the 6th century. Over the years and after initial construction the structure has seen modifications, additions, the ravages of war, and re-building. The bishops seat inside is made of stone and visitors are encouraged to sit in it and listen to a recorded history, is dated to 1120. A complete history can be found at, http://www.stcanicescathedral.ie/visitors-information-page50542.html


The weather warmed and everyone seemed to appear at the grassy commons near the Castle. So, we did the same and enjoyed a picnic lunch while watching school kids practice Hurling.


Played for over 3000 years its like lacrosse, but the sticks don't have nets.

We visited the Hole in the Wall Pub and enjoyed an Irish coffee. This 20x20 foot Pub has an amazing history and was a hangout in the 1700's by the Duke of Wellington. Cram 7 people into this tiny bar and it's just one big conversation.


While rummaging through an antique store, the shopkeeper recommended we visit the Medieval Mile Museum. It opened only two weeks earlier. It is the 13th century site of St Mary’s cruciform church and graveyard.


After 5 years of archeological renovation the museum displays 800 years of artifacts related to Irish history.


We chose to take a guided tour lead by the museum curator. Better yet, we were the only ones, making it a private tour.

We will miss Kilkenny! Nadia and Corey have been terrific hosts, with a beautiful home, in a fantastic location. They are genuinely warm, friendly, helpful, and caring. Staying with them as been like staying with family. We enjoyed evening chats, and morning talks over wonderful breakfast! Tomorrow we are traveling by train back to Waterford then bus to Wexford.

Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy

The Big City

24 March 2017
After a wonderful breakfast of Bulgarian French Toast, berries, & jam we said fair well to Corey, Nadia, and her mom. We were planning to take the train to Dublin then transfer to another train to Wexford, arriving around 2000.

Corey recommended a travel site (http://getthere.ie) to help find a better route. We did and it would cut several hours off our travel time. Our plan, now, was to travel back to Waterford by train, then take the bus to Wexford. Simple--we thought!

On our walk to the train station we passed a small coffee shop. Thinking we had time to kill we stopped in for a cuppa, of tea. We thought about our experiences so far, and the similarities & differences of small Irish towns to those like it in the US.

One thing we noted was the lack of a visible police (Garda-meaning guardian of the peace) presence. So far, in a week, we have seen only three Garda patrol cars & no uniformed officers walking the streets.

The first was in Cobh's Paddy's Day Parade. The second, just outside Cashel parked at a residence , and the third driving the streets of Kilkenny. We mentioned this to Corey who told us if we were out at 0200 early on a Saturday morning after the pubs closed, then we would see them...;)

"No trains or buses to Waterford" the ticket agent said, "on account of the bus drivers strike". Several train routes we're cancelled, delayed, or were modified to ease the shortage of buses. Hummm!

Remembering our original plan we inquired about travel to Wexford via Dublin. After some consultation the agent said it was the long way around but we could do it. So, we purchased the tickets and 10 minutes later we were on our way to Ireland's Capital City.

We weren't in Kansas anymore! Kilkenny or Waterford had been the biggest towns we had been in so far, but now we were in a city of over a million, plus tourists. A strong police presents was everywhere, especially after the terror attack in London only days ago.

There were multiple pairs of Garda and other Rail Security Service Officers out & about. We saw several questioning people that, we suspected, were intoxicated in one form or another.

Graffiti tagged buildings were everywhere too, some with so much that it appeared taggers were competing for space. Even some commuter train cars had graffiti on them.

This was also our first experience, in Ireland, with active and almost in your face panhandlers, but a couple of NO's and they were on to the next person.

The big news was not the strike but tonight's football (Soccer) game between Ireland and Wales. The stadium, with its shining steel dome was surrounded by sports media trucks. Fathers and sons, dressed to show Irish pride, hustled for trains to take them to the the stadium. Ultimately, the game ended in a 0-0 tie.

As we left on platform 5, at 1736 headed for Wexford Town, we travelled along the coast. The calm Irish Sea was beautiful as the evening sun faded over the hills to the west. Then, passenger, after passenger, began to leave the crowded "standing room only" train. We continued to travel through the outskirts of Dublin, then the suburbs, and finally back into the Irish countryside.

Arriving about 2000, which was our original plan, we had a ten minute walk to #5 Sunrise Circle. This was the home of John and his lab mix dog, Bella, who greeted us and gave a brief tour of his beautiful contemporary home by the sea. We settled into our room with a glass of wine from a bottle Wendy had "squirreled" away for just such an occasion.

What a difference, the entire County of Wexford only has 20K people living in it. Back to no graffiti, no visible Garda, and no hustle & bustle of the big city. Tomorrow we explore Wexford Town.

Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy
Vessel Name: Calypso
Vessel Make/Model: Westsail 32
Hailing Port: Clearwater, Fla
Social:
Calypso's Photos - Main
Repair to Calypso's foredeck, mast step, rudder, & Seacock replacement
7 Photos
Created 3 November 2016