Friday, July 18, 2014

Dealing with garbage at sea




Graphics: Oliver Lüde / CC: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, ZHdK / plasticgarbageproject.org

No more messages in a bottle


For generations, blue water cruisers have separated out garbage underway to dispose of  the "degradable" items from garbage into the sea.  Food scraps were definitely in that category, as was paper and glass. Metal tins were often considered degradable as well, given how quickly things rust away if left on their own.  But no more. MARPOL Annex V adopted for international waters as of January 2013 delineates that discharge is prohibited of plastics, synthetic ropes, fishing gear, plastic garbage bags, cooking oil, lining and packing materials, paper, rags, glass, metal, and bottles. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Alternative energy proposals wreak havoc with boating traffic

Crown Estate approves new wave and tidal installations  

Last week, two separate proposals from opposite sides of the Atlantic drew the attention of groups that represent the interests of boaters.  Although very different issues, they illustrate what happens when a body makes decisions in the absence of input from all affected parties.


A case in point is the Crown Estate's eager approval of proposals by commercial ventures to explore wave and tidal energy installations. This is not a go-ahead but it is a nod in favour of continued development. What they failed to take into account is the precarious navigation in some of the chosen locations. The RYA, rightly so, and the ICC on behalf of Irish cruisers, are preparing arguments against such development.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sailing the West Coast of Ireland

Sailing around the cliffs of Achill

Remote and Wild 


by Daria Blackwell
s/v Aleria
Co-author of Happy Hooking The Art of Anchoring.

We emerged from the shelter of the inner islands only to find a furious chop in the bay. It was supposed to be fairly benign conditions today, but the wind was howling in from the West whipping up the seas against the outgoing tide.  There was a huge swell coming in from the Atlantic, which we had expected behind the retreating gale from the day before, but we had not expected this maelstrom given the Met Eireann forecast early this morning. But that's the west coast of Ireland. Unpredictable. Majestic. And many days formidable.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hard aground with the tide going out

Poor little yacht stranded on a falling tide

Kedging for your life


While out on one of the islands ready to enjoy a picnic on a beautiful day, we came upon a sailboat hard aground with the tide still running out. Our friend Philip, casually said, "Hey, there's a sailboat aground."  We all ran to peer over the dunes to see what we could see. Indeed there was a lovely little boat hard aground on the rocky shore. And the tide was only about 3/4 out.  Our hearts dropped as we imagined the circumstances. This is one of the possibilities all sailors dread. Questions popped into all our minds unspoken, "I wonder if there is anyone onboard and if they are okay?"

Philip discussing strategy with the skipper. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Reflections on turning 60

What age are you inside?


Selfie taken on June 29, 2014 in my Ukrainian Tryzub cap. 


This past weekend, Aleria stayed calmly on her mooring while her crew pursued shore side pursuits. Specifically, we bought two-day tickets to the Westport Festival of Music and Food.  Westport happens to be on Clew Bay along the Wild Atlantic Way so I feel justified in spending time writing about my home town. Alex grew up here but I'm a recent transplant. Every day I feel fortunate to be allowed to live in such a beautiful and welcoming place. I look out the window on the water and gaze toward Croagh Patrick and thank the Lord for my good fortune.