The last days we had change of plans due to predicted storms, however we managed to leave Scotland and reach Ireland within a week!
We wished to visit Armadale Castle and Loch Moidart, but our trusted Windfinder app forecasted strong winds for the following days, which made us change our route and head South as soon as possible and also take refugee at the east side of the island of Mull. Therefore, early morning on the 15th August we left our not-so-sheltered anchorage spot and headed towards Loch Aline.
Loch Aline is a pretty lake, a bit similar to Camas Ban bay opposite Portree. The weather allowed us to enjoy a BBQ in the cockpit which comprised corn, burgers and a big mackerel that Jelle caught on the way! The following day was the “planning day” as our next stop would be Loch Craignish, a passage filled with strong currents and dangerous swallows.
Arriving to Loch Craignish we reached 1063 nautical miles since our starting point in Holland! Loch Craignish is a sheltered lake with beautiful surroundings and a well-equipped marina and the most moorings I have ever seen in my life! All the boats were moored so close to each other, I was dreading that they would hit each other every single time the wind direction changed! Thankfully, that alarming scenario never came true and our Libra, the only boat anchoring between decades buoys, was safe and sound the two days we spent there. Waiting out the storm to pass, we took advantage of the crappy weather to fix small things in the boat, laundry, cleaning, buy necessary supplies from the chandlery and catch up on some reading and rest.
On Saturday, 18th August following some lazy days and lots of planning we headed towards Islay island. We were once again unlucky with the wind as we had to motor all the way to Port Ellen, our last stop in Scotland. We decided to go to the marina this time as the wind predictions were not favorable for anchoring and we also wished to get a good night sleep before our longer trip towards Dublin. The isle of Islay is known for its 9 whiskey distilleries, from which we visited none as we arrived too late and they were already closed. Nonetheless, we strolled around the little village, did some groceries and chatted with our fellow sailors in the port.
19th August, the big day had finally arrived! We would leave Scotland and visit our next destination, Ireland! The sailing was beautiful the first 12 hours as we had strong wind and we managed to sail with spinnaker and reach some nice speeds! We also broke our record, we did 9.7 knots through the water! During the night, the wind died out completely, so we had to turn on our motor (again!) which was easier for night sailing but quite loud for sleeping through shifts and also not good for our wallet! In the end we motored the rest of the way to Dublin, as the God of winds was unkind to us and did not let us sail any more.
We moored to Poolberg marina, which is a small port with good facilities, relatively close to the city center of Dublin but very busy and loud, as it is in the middle of the Dublin port. In other words, we are surrounded by big ferry boats, huge cruise ships, cargo ships, cranes and in general, any big ship that makes lots of noise and waves when it moves. Despite the uneasy environment though, the location is close to perfect, as we managed to bike our way to most of Dublin’s monuments and places to visit and still be home (Libra) for dinner!
Dublin is such a lively city, super busy with locals and tourists walking and biking everywhere, with cool museums to visit, green parks to rest and cute little streets to stroll around. We biked many kilometers in our folding bikes but we were so happy with the exceptionally good weather- we were on T-shirts and shorts the whole day! And of course, no visit to Dublin is complete without the necessary stops to local pubs where we conquered our thirst with Guinness pints and enjoyed some local musicians jamming Irish tunes. We were lucky enough to have our very own guide through the pub tour, my friend Pantelis Monioudis, who was more than willing to show us some traditional and non-traditional pubs and gave us some good tips on places to visit and places to avoid. Our trip to Dublin was a great success but now it is time to head towards the South. Next stop? Scilly Islands!