Every place we have visited since leaving the tropics claims to be having unseasonably cool temperatures this summer; Maine, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, St. Pierre and now Ireland. While we are now in September and we should expect some cooler climes, Ireland has also had a really pathetic summer (according to all the locals) as seems to be the trend we are seeing. You don't necessarily come to Ireland and the UK for the weather, but we haven't been out of our thermals and fleece yet! That said, we have still enjoyed our stay here and although it is cool, we have avoided rain on most occasions. We visited the Aran Islands and the quaint villages, forts and endless stone walls. No shortage of stone walls in this part of the country! With our boat tucked snuggly in the gated city marina of Galway we rented a car and visited the Southwest coast of the country including the Cliffs of Moher (along with every other tourist it seemed). With the 200 meter sheer cliffs, the iconic image of Ireland was amazing, but taking three kids to walk along vertical cliffs in 20 knot winds and sheet rain and a million other people was anything but relaxing. With a death grip on the kids we took a short walk did the compulsory trip through the visitor center and then called it a day. We tagged it, but I don't necessarily ever need to go back! Afterward we spent three days touring the Beara Peninsula; driving along scenic single land country roads through beautiful country, hiking through the heather to antiquities like signal towers from the Napoleonic age and taking a 30 year old sheep tram across a tidal rip to Dursey Island were among some of our favorite experiences. We stayed in small B&B's, ate way too many Irish breakfasts and drank our way through the pubs tasting whiskeys, our fair share of guiness and ciders. With a combined background in Maine, Alaska and Oregon, the old country was anything but wild, but it was lovely and we certainly enjoyed our time touring by car. Mike tackled all the driving on the other side of the road, and there were a few white knuckled moments on some of the small roads, but we felt we were successful returning the car with both mirrors intact! A small feat. Dang they have small roads here, and nobody has even heard of a shoulder!
We are now back on the boat, with my parents squeezed aboard for a few days, and we are heading north along the West Coast. Inishmaan, Inishbofin and Claire Island are on the itinerary for the next few days. Mike and I are taking advantage of grandparent babysitting and heading out at night to listen to the sounds of Ireland whenever we can. From small 3-4 table pubs to larger establishments there is music everywhere. Occasionally it is just one or two people jamming, but often the entire bar gets involved and everyone ends up singing Irish folksong's.
Schooling has been pretty laid back through the summer, but we are going to start back up this coming week. Ana starts kindergarten, which should be interesting. While she has been doing her "homework" all year, it will be interesting to have three kids to home school on a more structured schedule. I hope I survive this next chapter! On the less structured side of home schooling we have been embracing Irish Literature with readings from Yeats and Joyce to name a few. Porter loves the limericks and is filling his journal with his creations. Although when I told him I wanted a few for the blog and they couldn't have the words; butt, crack or fart in them, he suddenly had writers block. He's quite creative with a certain vocabulary set! Below are a couple of his more appropriate attempts:
There once was a boy named Porter
He had a mental disorder
He hit his head
On the edge of the bed
And woke up on the Irish Border
The once was a man named Papa
He liked to drink Mocha Frappa
He went to Starbucks
And said, this sucks
And went back to drinking Grappa.
The following pages chronicle the journey of the sailing vessel Pelagic and her crew. We are a family of 5; Michael, Amy, Zander, Porter and Anakena, taking our 42' Hallberg Rassy as far as we can comfortably go in three years. We left Oregon in September 2014, participated in the 2014 Baja Haha, continued on through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the coast of the US to Maritime Canada and from there crossed the Atlantic. After an arrival in Ireland we toured Scotland, then sailed down to France, Portugal and on to Morocco. In January of 2016 we slowed down considerably and enrolled the kids in a local Spanish school in Sanlucar de Guadiana for a few months. In the spring of 2016 we crossed the Atlantic towards the Caribbean. We are now in the Pacific, officially on our way home, albeit via a very circuitous path. We are currently in French Polynesia and looking at weather windows to Hawaii before finally making landfall back in the Pacific Northwest.
Currently our exact location is not available. Our spot coverage will pick us back up in Hawaii towards the end of May, 2017.
Our favorite sailing quote:
"If anythings gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there boss!" Captain Ron