We cruised several of the islands off the Connemara Coast in Ireland including Inishbofin and Clare. These are highlighted in the cruising guide as some of the best islands to visit by sailboat. Both islands were scenic with rocky headlands protecting beautiful white sand beaches rivalling those in the tropics. The hillsides were dotted with sheep, covered with wild flowers and carpeted in heather. We saw peat harvested on Inishbofin and experienced Gaelic football and Hurling in all its glory as the championship games were televised and the whole island of Clare seemed to come out to watch. After a few days of hiking and biking we put my parents on a ferry and got the boat ready to cross to Scotland. Ana spent almost 11 weeks with my parents this summer, both with and without us, and she was particularly bummed to see them leave. She wailed on the stern until the ferry was completely out of sight. It was nice to have them share a little of our voyage with us. I think every time they visit they feel a little less like we are taking their grandkids and sailing off the end of the earth.
To sail to Scotland we got up at 2am to minimize the sea time for the kids, anticipating about a 30 hour passage. We motored past the northwestern portion of Ireland and when the wind piped up we were able to sail the last 12 hours or so into Scotland. The current forecast is for another week of 15-25 knot winds from the south, so as long as we are headed north, we should have good wind. Hopefully, at some point the wind will clock around and we can sail south, otherwise we may be wintering in the north of Scotland! We had originally planned to sail all the way around northern Scotland, but we've decided, since it is so late in the season, and since the weather has been so unpredictable, we may only go as far north as Loch Ness or the Isle of Skye and then move back down through the Irish Sea. This will also minimize our travel in the English Channel and save a few days of sailing against the West wind in the Channel on our way to France.
We entered Scotland on the Island of Islay. This part of the country is known for it's whiskey distilleries and we felt obligated to tour a few. One in Bowmore used the waste cooling water to heat the community pool and hot tub. Hot tub heated by whiskey, how cool is that! We had to visit that one! In Port Ellen, on the same island, Porter befriended a group of about 10 other hooligans and they took over the town; they made Porter look like an alter boy! In comparison, Porter appeared cautious, quiet and risk adverse. Love that he is making friends and learning a little about other cultures, I just hope he survives the interaction.
At the moment we are looking at tidal charts and planning our route up to the Caledonia Canal and Loch Ness. It takes about two days to go through all the canals and get to Loch Ness and then two more days to return. I suggested it may be easier to rent a car and visit the area by car, but I was quickly out voted. The boys of the boat definitely want to take the boat up all the way up, regardless of the time motoring through small waterways. They are excited to search for the elusive Nessie.
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