First, a detour to Clifden to see the Connemara mainland at least briefly, though we had a long view of the hills all day at sea. Quite a swell running as we followed a complicated course through a series of reefs and small islands, with waves crashing unnervingly near.
Clifden has a peaceful little estuary and river, not the wild Connemara of legend, and could almost be on the south Cornish coast. Up past a castle to a pleasant mooring, near the sailing club, but we could not reach the town because of the tide – indeed our stay was only for a brief lunch to avoid being locked in by the shallow bar as the tide fell.
Then rounded Slyne Head, with more rock dodging using the chartplotter, but only where we could be sure of a margin of at least 200 metres either side of us (see earlier post). On to Inishmore, the biggest of the Aran Islands, with the swell dropping as we reached its lee. Lucky again with a mooring (free again), because the anchor is hard work and noisy at night. Hot and sweaty with little wind all day, with the rolling swell probably coming from a long way away. Motorsailed.
Passage notes:52 miles, variable 2 to calm, 3 metre swell in exposed area, 2.5 hours to Clifden, 6 hours Clifden to Inishmore. Shortest passage is fairly close to large reefs so would go further out in bad visibility and strong onshore winds. Care with tide timings – bar on the way in to Clifden.