|"Tomorrow it will be cold and overcast, storms are raging all over Europe..." was the forecast given to us by the Publican of Castletownshend's only pub and eatery.|
Caption: Castlehaven anchorage.
We woke to a perfectly blue sky as the sun warmed the deck.
The plan today is to cycle the 5.5 miles to Skibereen where we hope to find a good wifi connection so that Franco who spent yesterday working, can send a few work emails. We packed the 2 bikes, the panniers, computer and rubbish into the dinghy and rowed ashore.
After a short cycle up a steep hill, we free-wheeled nearly the whole of the 5 miles into Skibereen (the return trip will be all up hill - deep joy!) which is a delightful West Cork town with all mod-cons including a laundry where they will wash, dry and fold your clothes for the price of the washing machine in Holyhead.
Caption: Castletownshend village.
We have been in Castlehaven since Sunday, we sailed here from Oysterhaven and the sailing was perfect, the sun shone and the winds were gentle, in the distance we saw a minke whale. We anchored in the haven around 4pm and tidied up, we then rowed ashore to Castletownshend where the pub had just started serving food, we were famished so decided to sample the scallops which were excellent, followed by the strawberry meringue roulade which was extravagant... somehow, we managed to row back to Caramor.
The next morning we put the kayaks together and Jim Kennedy arrived with croissants (now, that's service!) for breakfast. Mid-morning we paddled over to the spit from which he runs his successful kayaking business and he took us into Union Hall (a village) for lunch. In the afternoon we tagged along on one of his guided paddles to the end of the Haven from where Franco and I paddled off to The Stags, spectacular rocky outcrops approximately 0.8 nautical mile off Toe Head.
Last night we assisted Jim with a night paddle he had organised for 40+ employees of an insurance company, most had never paddled, they had all had a few pints in the hotel and were not aware they were going for a night paddle. A night to be remembered, no doubt!
Now, a bit of history; Jim and Franco met in 1978 when Franco kayaked round Ireland with his two friends Derek Hairon and John Bouteloup from the Jersey Canoe Club. Jim was a kayak racer but had never seen a sea kayak before, neither had he met many visitors with strange "foreign" accents, at the end of the circumnavigation, Jim convinced Franco to sell him his sea kayak, the first in Ireland. Since then Jim and Franco have only met once in Scotland so we thought it would be fun to visit him on our journey.
We are still waiting for our EPIRB (emergency distress beacon) which went off to the manufacturer for a service and will be sent to Jim's house as soon as it is ready, (we would prefer to have it with us on our crossing of the Bay of Biscay), in the meantime we will enjoy the fabulous Irish hospitality.