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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!