Day 7 – Irish Sea

After a bumpy ride to Ardglass, the fleet prepares for another move tomorrow


Position 54° 15.71 N 005° 36.36 W Phennick Cove Marina, Ardglass, Northern Ireland

Ardglass has yet to leave a lasting impression, but if things don’t improve, it’s unlikely any of the crews will be remembering their time in this town fondly. It’s cold, grey, dreary, and cold. But necessary. Ardglass simply could not be avoided. We had to stop here to make sure we timed the tricky tides that run in and out of Strangford Lough correctly.

Perhaps the weather is tainting our appreciation of this town. Perhaps when the sun’s out and it’s not six below, Ardglass is a jolly place, filled with holiday humour and tourists basking on the town’s bottle strewn beach. Perhaps those very bottles were left by visitors to the town made merry by all the good times had in this small fishing port.

It doesn’t pay to grumble. After all, it’s easy to be down on a place when you’re wearing five layers in July and the highlight of the day has been a trip to the local Spar. In fairness, the town is a peaceful little place, with an ancient tower at its centre. The local people we’ve talked to have been disarmingly welcoming, and eager to know about our five-boat flotilla.

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There’s real history here too. According to those in the know, Ardglass, meaning Green Height, has been a fishing port for 2000 years, while the town contains more medieval tower-houses than any other town in Ireland. As you walk around the place, you see snippets of history in the medieval walls that lie in unexpected places down the end of streets, in people’s gardens and in the very walls that make up more modern constructions.

Passage to the small marina here was the lumpiest leg of the trip to date. All boats got bounced around in the shallower water just outside Carlingford Lough, but out in the deeper stuff the waves died a touch. The 20-mile journey was made in about two hours. Departure was delayed an hour from Carlingford Marina after staff there said they could not promise that the entrance had not silted up more than expected. On hearing this, Neale decided to set off an hour late to allow the incoming tide to put a bit more water at the marina entrance.

Tomorrow we depart for Strangford Lough. The plan as it stands is to leave here about 1pm, after a briefing in the morning. It’s only 6 miles or so to the Lough, so it should prove an easy day’s boating.

After the seafood fiasco of yesterday, when, along with the Mackerel that was ditched, the langoustines were adjudged to be a bit “iffy”, a renewed attempt was made today to buy fresh seafood for supper. This being a working fishing port, you would have thought that would be simple. How naive. We now know better. It’s caught here, sent there, then comes back here frozen and encased in cardboard. We do have a lead though. We met a guy who knows a guy who supplies a hotel four miles out of town that might know of some seafood he could drive down to us.

It all sounded too hard. It’s Chicken Tonight tonight.

Gordon from Jolica II
Dragonfly and Jolica II
Phennick Cove Marina


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