Awake at 0530, drowsing in the bunk until 0615. Slack water was around 0600, and as forecast not a breath of wind was around. Made a cuppa for K and I, disconnected shore power and the springs, and made ready to slip out of the pontoon and away. Fish were splashing at flies on the river surface. Started the engine, had K at the helm, and pushed Blue Opal off of the pontoon and into the channel between the bays (away from the fairway). A touch of astern to keep up the motion, and then forward and out of the bay and down the river to the sea. Lovely golden light as the sun came up.
Saw fish diving and the tell-tale fins of dolphins, so went to investigate. No playing with the boat as they had done on the last transit, but they did come near. Some were leaping out of the water while hunting, and while I tried to “chase” them with Blue Opal, they just eventually meandered off and we couldn’t see them any more.
Meandered up the coast at 4 knots, trolling for mackerel. Not a single one jumped on the line, though something heavy nicked the lures and weight.
Stopped in Ballycotton for breakfast, and tried out the awning. Worked well enough, but needs some improvement. Table got used too! The moorings there have not been serviced, but wind was minimal, so I was comfortable putting a bridle through the eye of the mooring (the actual pendant was home to a lot of sea life). While we were relaxing, a bunch of gannets suddenly took interest in a patch of water in the distance, so we slipped off of the mooring (with the awning still up; the wind was gentle enough), and meandered in their general direction with the line over the side. Nothing bit, but we got some photos of gannets diving; the initial wing-over and dive looks very uncontrolled, but suddenly the wings tuck in, and there’s this arrow of a bird plunging into the sea.
After giving up on catching fish in Ballycotton, we decided to just keep on going, and started sailing for Ardmore Bay. Along the way, my AIS displayed a potential collision, and it turns out the vessel was the Ilen. A slight turn, and we passed port-to-port. There’s an old watch tower (archive) on Ram Head; apparently dates back to the Napoleonic times. there’s also the wreck of a crane barge, something to investigate tomorrow perhaps.
We trolled for fish the whole up to Ardmore. Not a sausage, or a mackerel for that matter. We’ve avoided the hotel-managed moorings, opting to anchor in sand closer in to shore. There’s a bit of roll, but it’s not bad, and a kedge anchor will help if necessary. There’s a group of girls (and one boy) using one of the moorings as a thing to play on, another yacht, and two blokes zipping around on electric hydro-foiling boards. It’ll be an early night tonight, after some curry – early start, and we’re both tired.
Average speed: 3.80 knots
Total time: 10:24:42