22 June 2008 | Crosshaven, County Cork, Ireland
22 June 2008
Sometimes the weather just gets in the way! We have been waiting out a nasty bout of strong winds and torrential rain for a few days, along with an American yacht and a French yacht, a 30 footer with either five or six people aboard! Each day, whatever the weather, it seems, a sea-angling charter boat goes out from our pontoon - that was it pictured behind the heron - carrying up to twelve happy chappies with rods, reels and assorted fishing gear. They go out around nine, and always return by six. As yet we haven't seen any women sea anglers. I wonder if there are any, or is this an exclusively male sport, here anyway? We sometimes dangle fishing gear off the back of the boat when we are sailing, and catch the odd mackerel, but I now have a book which might just enlighten me as to how to try to catch something else, maybe the odd cod!
Yesterday was dreich, low cloud forming mist in the vast Cork harbour, which we can normally just glimpse from here. During the night in my wakeful moments I had wondered what a distant hooting sound was. In the morning we checked the almanac, and found that the Roches Point lighthouse hoots once every 30 seconds. Out with the stopwatch, yep, that's what it was! As the morning went on we heard ships' horns as well as they entered and left the harbour. Later on I fired up the AIS software on the PC, and it showed two large ships moving in the harbour. Automatic Identification is a great invention, I think, certainly for detecting ships bigger than 300 tonnes. It doesn't help with fishing boats, but radar can help there.
So after a morning of sitting in the cockpit under the totally waterproof canopy (thank goodness), reading or doing sudoku, I suggested a walk. So we got on the waterproof trousers and jackets and headed off along a former railway track upriver towards Carrigaline, the next town to Crosshaven. The track was decorated from time to time with small signals, benches, and two actual pieces of track. Apparently it only ran from 1904 to 1932, only, from Cork to Crosshaven. The rain held off for a bit, and we walked all 10 kilometres in reasonable time. The only mistake we made was to do the walk in our sailing boots, not our walking boots, and feet got a bit tired. So we piled into the Gaelic Bar in Carrigaline and ordered fish and chips for lunch. My glasses chose that moment to fall apart, and Ju coped wonderfully by taking all the bits up the street to an optician's to get them fixed, while I stayed in the pub, myopically waiting for the food, and sipping a pint of Beamish. Ju returned triumphant just in time for the plaice and chips to arrive, and I could see to eat them!
We got the next bus back, and listened to endless securite, small craft warnings and gale warnings, as a low passes over Ireland and the UK. Then there was a brief rescue incident as the coastguard reported a boat in difficulties off Crosshaven, and the local RIB lifeboat went out and towed them safely back to the fish pier.
I have been reading two books by Tim Severin, The Ulysses Voyage and The Brendan Voyage. These are both a good read, interesting on an academic and on an adventure level at the same time. As I was reading the second of these, I discovered to my amazement that the leather-covered curragh 'Brendan' had been built in the boatyard here, in Crosshaven, in the 70s. There was even a photo in the book of launch day, featuring a white house in the background, on the opposite shore to the boatyard. I climbed out into the cockpit to show the photo to Ju, and there was that house, on the shore nearby. What a coincidence that I should be reading that book here! If you could see our onboard library you would see what I mean. We have about thirty to forty books aboard at any one time, regularly swapping them in charity shops for others, or buying new.
So. no sailing to report, yet this is all part of living on a boat, staying put for a while. Just as well we enjoy our enforced leisure! Looks like we'll be here for a few days yet.