5.40 h to 18.00 h
N 53.38951 W 06.06776
No reason to launch late as guessed, thank goodness, as the water was at 5.40 am just still high enough to launch conveniently from the steeper part of the beach. I was really not keen on dragging my gear out over the wide half-rocky sandflat on lower tide! Yesterday, a local lady explained to me that the flag she was waving at her nearby house what not one of the life guards, and she was warning me about their absence here on this beach, as my tent was put up so close to the high tide mark…Yes, this is what I needed! A lifeguard on duty all night rescuing my tent being flooded away at night by the high tide… 🙂
The wind was a strong north-westerly all day. Sounds great in theory, but de facto it is about half of the time somehow slightly pushing, the rest of the time you point your bow to shore not to get blown off the coast too far and you have the wind 90 degrees’ full-on side. And in 20 knots wind, you lean all the time into it. Not really great paddling…
The paddle out of Dundalk bay around Dunany Point was still rather pleasant pushing, and crossing over to Clogher head was quick, but lumpy going with the tide. Just watching not to get blown too far offshore and still hitting the next headland, leaning into the wind all the time.
The long beach behind Clogher Head was wide and shallow sandy, and it looked ever so funny when the tide was running up the beach in really tiny low surf waves, but getting blown back by the strong offshore wind with another tiny line of offshore waves. Where they hit each other, high spray was blown up and both contraire waves were winding into each other in spirals. I paddled for a while just playfully for fun just in the middle of those lines until I was wet enough…I wonder how this beach is looking on a strong onshore wind? Will there be developing some real surf? But the swell is probably too low.
Behind Drogheda, the railway became my company, some frequently passing Irish-green wagons, 4 or 8 together, were winding along the shore like a green caterpillar. The small rocky Brayore Point was a pleasant change to the long sandy beach, it was sunny and the seals were everywhere. Huge guys, with horse-size looking like heads, curious as always sticking their heads up here and there. Wish they’d come closer for a pet and chat! 🙂
I was an hour before tide change at Skerries, but the strong wind was pushing me nicely around the corner on flat water, no contraire tide noticeable. But after tide change, it was a good run straight down to the Howth peninsula, but leaning constantly into the wind and my bow pointing very much inshore to avoid actually getting blown past the harbor entrance!
If I wouldn’t have had a friendly invitation for a homestay with Niamth, the small island just across Howth was looking on high tide so much inviting to land and camp. But I really liked to shop some new food, not that I was out of anything, just tired of the old stuff. And I was looking forward to some nice woman’s paddling company and actually also to some chatty social interaction after being alone for such long time.
Before I got collected from the harbor by Niamth and Marian, some young teenage sailing lads performed a high-speed stunt run off the slipway still inside the very windy harbor which was really exciting looking! I was really worried they would hit the harbor wall or some moored boat, looking like they were not really in full control of their two-men sailing boat, almost capsizing, hanging or rather dangling in the rig off board. The escorting motorboat shouted advices, and when I was landed on their slipway, they returned with a damaged sail, but in one piece. Thank goodness!
Time this evening was short on landing late, I showered, got driven to the supermarket for my last shopping of this trip. I did not expect almost the whole Lidl was an oversized fridge and was freezing my butt off in my tank top with freshly washed wet hair! While packing the food into my zip locks and food bags at Niamth’s house, Sue did an interview for the Irish paddling magazine. Eileen was also coming in for dinner, yummy Chinese take-away, and if I wouldn’t have been so tired and dinner so late, it could have been a long, pleasant chatty girl’s paddlers night with a bit to swallow out of this or that bottle…but launching time for tomorrow was 6 am, and all four were planning to paddle with me! Why wasn’t it bad weather just tomorrow? Thanks for hosting me, Niamth, and thanks for the lovely paddling lady’s company this night! Sue (with Sonia) last year, and Eileen as the first woman solo in 2005, have already been paddling around Ireland themselves.