5.55 to 16.35 h
N 51.52269 W 09.54402
Schull Sailing Club
The tide was a bit higher than on landing yesterday, and I could conveniently paddle out of the river mouth. Nothing of those scary river mouth bars though I have experienced in South America, all easy landings here. It was a day with very limited visibility, but good enough to not necessarily rail along the cliffs. Although I love it, paddling as close as possible, my urge to cut through bays for the shortest distance has disappeared a little.
I briefly landed on Rabbit Island, some leftovers of old very Irish looking cottages caught my eyes. Many islands today had some abandoned ruins as a sign of old days where the smallest island was populated, as the possibility of having electricity or other conveniences did not count much.
Toe Head was one of the bumpier headlands, and Spanish Point had some more lurking caves. The first one was with almost no swell, huge, deep, well-lit with beautiful colors on the walls. I wish my cameras would catch the sceneries better! I could have landed at a rocky platform in the back end, and explored the rest of the cave by climbing around. Well, next time with a dry suit…
The second just next door was more narrow, as long and deep as the first one, but the swell played up too much to feel comfortable in there.
The third one was wide and calm and so long I was not seeing the lit opening at the end for a while until the surprise hit me! But unfortunately when I was stuck in the now very dark channel, I kind of heard eventually the swell breaking at the exit, and could rather guess than see some fat rock blocking the way. What a pity, but this one felt not safe to give it a complete try and to keep on going, not sure if it even possible to paddle through on dead calm conditions? Who of the locals can tell me?
I just imagine I’d be stuck in some cave, I assume no signaling device would send an emergency message out! It may take long to get found…my GPS at least shows lost signal pretty soon in all of the caves. So better play it safe, as usual, if in doubt, stay out. But this was the longest cave tunnel I have found so far, according to chart and satellite images it must be about 250-280 m long cutting across all Spanish Point! The Old Head cave tunnel was about 150-180 m. The exit hole at the back end did not look inviting today either on rough swell water, so I had to leave this beauty sinking just now into thick fog anyway.
Once more thank goodness to a working GPS with a good chart when turning around into the channel between Sherkin Island and the mainland, finding my way through the islands in foggy conditions. But here it was dead calm in the shelter of the islands, just a pity I could not see much of the beauty of the archipelago. I worked my way to Schull harbor, where I would meet Jim Kennedy from Atlantic Sea Kayaking in Skibberen. Jim organized with caretaker Mark a free room for me at the Sailing school, a perfect place to hang out at least two, if not three days with electricity and internet in a small single teacher’s room for myself. Thank you, Jim and Mark!
Only five other guys occupied one of the two bunk rooms with five stock beds, the other bunk room I could spread out my gear to dry. The forecast for Sat and Sun is way over 20 knots headwinds, with seas going up to three meter. Maybe Monday later in the day I can start again, maybe Tuesday. Still North-Westerly headwind though. I’d love to eventually catch FOLLOWING winds! At least it is good for my elbows and finger to give the injuries some rest, they kept up well on paddling, but are not healed fully yet.