Salty dog turns west

Tuesday I woke to a near calm day, just north of Wexford Harbour. I thought my damp gear would have dried out on the improvised washing line overlooking the beach, but no such luck. It was a cold night.

Pitched up north of Wexford

No matter. The conditions were perfect for the 10km or so crossing of Wexford Harbour to Rosslare Harbour.  There was little more than a light ripple on the sea and visibility for miles. Not a ferry in sight! Rosslare came along fairly quickly with a little tidal assistance.

Rosslare Harbour light

The next section would take me around the corner and down to Carnsore Point, the most south-easterly in Ireland. I was expecting a lot of tide through here, and there was certainly some, but I guess most of it must have been offshore. St. Helen’s Quay was a warm and pleasant stop for lunch on the way down and a chance to fill up with water.

Lunch at St. Helen’s Quay

Carnsore Point was a bit of an anti-climax. If you like wind farms and flat-land as far as one can see, this is for you. I didn’t hang about and swiftly turned the corner to the west. Only 4 days in, but it feels like a significant point and I’m now on the south coast.

Turning west at Carnsore Point

The other side of Carnsore Point is also low sandy beach as far as the eye can see. Nothing to do but paddle straight to Kilmore Quay. By now there was almost no wind.

Out of the blue I heard the unmistakeable “whoosh” of a whale blowing and then another, somewhere off to my side. It must have been 500m away, but I saw the fin several times. I might have been tempted to give chase, but today I was on a mission.

Just outside Kilmore Quay is St. Patrick’s Bridge, a long  shallow rock rib sticking well out towards the Saltees, with a very strong tide flowing over it. I had another hour or more to paddle and the tide was about to turn. By the time I got to the bridge it was well against me, perhaps 2kn, and probably only half a metre of water. I had to work hard for the last kilometre into Kilmore Quay.

Safely in the harbour!

With the tide as it was, I wasn’t going any further today. There’s not really anywhere just here to camp, but I found a comfortable and reasonably priced B&B in the Harbour Lights, within boat dragging distance of the slipway. After a welcome shower, it was time for a trip to the Little Saltee!

Enough salt for a packet of Tayto!
Fish and chips worth the wait!

A grand day out

I was well looked after on Sunday night by friends Graeme and Amber in Wicklow, board and lodgings, whilst the RNLI kindly looked after my boat. Theirs are a bit bigger. I explained to the friendly chap in the station that yes I was going out in “that” and yes, I was going south to Wicklow Head. It was a rather different day to Sunday, still pleasantly sunny but with rather more wind from the north-east. (F4/5). That’s good news for pushing me along in the right direction, but also causes a messy, lumpy sea. I wished the chap farewell and hoped that I wouldn’t be seeing him again. Wicklow Head was doing it’s thing, but wasn’t too bad in reality. It was grand.

A bit lumpy at Wicklow Head. (Spot the light!)

So it was a rather bumpy ride down to Arklow, and section that I’ve paddled a number of times before. After an interesting landing onto the beach next to the harbour, for the view you see, it was then a bit chilly. I didn’t hang around.

Chilly lunch at Arklow

I’d hoped to get to Courtown, but that was just a bit too far for me, so I found a nice sandy beach a few kilometres sooner. There was just enough space to squeeze in my tent and the view was fantastic.

Room with a view