Skellig Michael

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 27 Jun 2009 16:18
Noon Position:: 51 46.2 N 010 30.5 W
Course: South Speed 5 knots
Wind: Southeast, light breeze
Weather: mainly sunny Seas: slight, negligible swell

So far it looks like yesterday was productive, the satellite phone reception appears more reliable, hopefully not just a happy coincidence. And I pulled a couple of inspection plates off the side of the engine to inspect the governor linkages ad they did seem a bit sloppy, but there was little I could do about it so I will add a new regulator spring to my shopping list and try that as the cheapest, simplest first fix.

The second mate is getting to be a regular alarm clock, good job too. After BC sounded 'wakey wakey', we enjoyed a leisurely start to the day, getting underway after breakfast at about 9.30. I noted a smaller yacht had left a little before us and have kept an eye on her since.

Once clear of Valentia Harbour we set our sights on Skellig Michael via its smaller neighbour, Little Skellig. A pleasant three hour sail had us passing close by Little Skellig. What a massive bird sanctuary! Every surface not strictly vertical was inhabited by a bird, predominantly gannets, the large craggy precipitous rock resembled a field thick with pure white flowers, from a distance you might have thought the climate was a lot colder and the slopes were covered in snow. Overhead the air was thick with wheeling, squealing birds. I put on a broad brimmed hat. We momentarily got caught in the wind shadow of the island but soon drifted clear and continued on to Skellig Michael. This is larger than Little Skellig as the respective names imply and a small monastery was set up here during the middle ages. At the top of the peak are several very austere beehive dwellings. It is extraordinary to contemplate the lives these ascetic monks must have lived, such isolation in such a harsh environment. Unfortunately there was no way I could get ashore. There is a landing place and the tourist boats were queuing up to it, dropping off their cargo then lying off in wait for them to return. If I had crew it would have been possible but even so as the skipper it would have been me who stayed with the boat so the only way I could have got ashore would have been to join a tourist boat. Nonetheless I am very grateful to have the opportunity to see them I the manner I did. Watch out for the video hitting You Tube soon.

Now we are heading in towards Kenmare River, a large indentation in the coast. During the day we have gradually overtaken our smaller companion, the yacht which departed Velentia Harbour ahead of us, and she is now well astern despite our detour and dawdle at the Skelligs. It is forecast to blow force 6 tonight, that's about 25 knots, a headwind of course. So if possible I would like to seek a comfortable anchorage before it picks up too much. And rain is also forecast, and more wind for tomorrow, so my goal is to round one more headland this evening and make for the next dent, namely Bantry Bay. I have it on impeccable authority that this is well worth a visit.

All is well.

Bob Cat.

Blah, blah, blah. Let me know when something interesting happens, like a big fat juicy fish throwing itself into the cockpit. Now why couldn't I have gotten ashore amongst those birds. Wouldn't that have been fun. In my dreams it seems . Zzzzzzz.