Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things



Meeting up with like-minded people


There is an interesting thing that happens when sailors meet while cruising. Because they start out with so much in common, they tend to form instant bonds. Not always. Sometimes you run across people you want to have nothing to do with - but that's a matter of personality. More often you meet like-minded individuals who have lots of stories to tell and lots of advice to share because they haven't been sitting in their armchairs, noooooo, they've been out there doing things. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things out on the world's oceans and their shores.

If you are sailing a circuit, chances are you will meet up with the same people over and over as generally everyone is heading in the same direction

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Valentia Island - easy stopover in the Kingdom of Kerry on the Southeast Coast of Ireland

The Skelligs on approach to Dingle Bay

Convenient pontoon and oldest evidence of life on earth


Selfie with Skelligs
When transiting the west coast of Ireland, it is prudent to know where to hole up for the night should the weather turn sour, which it can do so very quickly. Lying off the Iveragh Peninsula in the southwest of County Kerry, Valentia Island (Dairhbre; the island of the oak forest) offers such refuge.  Just past the remarkable Skelligs rising up from the ocean’s depths to dizzying heights, this is a place that’s easy to tuck into, except in a NW gale.

There are at least five things that distinguish Valentia Island as a stopover while transiting the West Coast of Ireland:
  • Knightstown is unlike most Irish villages by the sea in that it appears more Victorian English in architectural style
  • It is geologically distinct and has a famous fossil
  • It has a rich place in modern history as the place where the transatlantic telegraph cable crossed the pond
  • It has a marina - sort of - and it provides exception shelter from the fierce Atlantic 
  • It is now the place from where you can visit the latest Star Wars set - Skellig Michael

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sacred Caher Island


Caher Island, like a giant stationary sperm whale

Mystical historical treasure 


Landing area at Portatemple
Just off the coast of Inishturk, between there and Clew Bay, lies a small 128-acre uninhabited island, one of many that at one time were the salvation of holy men of great renown. These monks established bases on many of the islands off the coasts of Ireland and Scotland, creating a trade route of connected safe havens where they took refuge from persecution. They set up scriptoriums and preserved the ancient texts that would have likely been lost for all time.  It is where it is conjectured that "civilization was saved". They lived in simple stone huts and built crude churches, travelling the coastal waters in their hide-covered currachs. They erected massive stone crosses and carved elaborate burial slabs. They left behind evidence of a mysterious existence in isolation. Their names - Colmcille or St. Columba, St. Brendan the Voyager, St. Brigid - were etched in history and shrouded in mystery.