Day 95 – Islay to Island Magee

Day 95 – 20th October 2010

Islay – Isle of Muck, Island Magee, Northern Ireland

There was no panic to leave early as we had to wait for a favourable tidal stream. The water pump in the head was broken again.

John found the spare VHF radios and began to hook one up. Success! There was power.  I suggested that John called the coastguard for a radio check as I’d heard loads of vessels doing this.  As usual he seemed reluctant but tried to call them.  Nothing! “Is the aerial connected?”  Well it wasn’t connected, but a few minutes later we were given the message –

“SV Faraway, This is Belfast Coastguard.  I hear you loud and clear!”

I thought I could smell something singeing, so we both scouted about in search of the source.  Nothing was found.

We sailed for most of the day with Westerlies and North Westerlies blowing Force 3 – 4 occasionally F6 – 7 in the squalls. We passed between Rathlin Island and the Mull of Kintyre the plan being to go for Red Bay or Carnlough in Northern Ireland.  By 7pm we were still 10 miles from shore beating into the wind and drifting south.  The seas got rough but the swell was minimal.  By 22.30 we were still 3 or 4 miles from shore and John decided it would be better to turn back and try to make Stranraer in Scotland! John tried motorsailing towards Ireland, but it was futile, the boat tacked and we were both tired and unable to concentrate.  We were going around in circles.  We were both cross and frustrated.  John sent me to bed for a while.  It was hard to get any rest as the waves ere pounding and thumping hard into the bow and breaking across the decks.  I lay there for a while (fully dressed) and dozed off for a while.  John called me at 2am and we were still on a road to nowhere.  The new decision was to heave to and wait till morning.

We hove to and set the anchor drag alarm to ensure we didn’t get too close to shore in the drift.  The alarm went off every 45 – 60 minutes but we napped in between.  It was a wild, crazy and sleepless night, and by 9.30 in the daylight (when things always seem better) we had anchored at Muck Island beside Island Magee. I had tea, John had chocolate ovaltine and we went to bed totally exhausted.

Menu today

Breakfast – Porridge with dates, apple and raisins

Lunch – French onion soup toast and cheese

Dinner – Roast beef, roast potatoes and carrots

Snacks – Banana, crackers and cheese, pear, figs nuts and fruit cake, chocolate

Meraid Griffin

Freelance writer, adventurer and public speaker. Descibed in the Sunday Times as a 'modest explorer'. Nothing modest about me.

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