We decided to leave Inishmore at midnight to make sure of getting through the inside channel at the Blaskett Islands before the tide turned, and also to beat a forecast veer in the wind from south east to south west, which would be almost ahead. It meant running the gauntlet of the lobster pot buoys and ropes, because we could not see them in the swell, even with the bright moonlight. But none of them caught us, though we spent the hours of darkness in fear of the shudder, swish and gurgle that meant we had caught one. The wind was light, so we motorsailed to make sure we did not miss that tide.
We dropped the idea of spending a day or two getting to the Blasketts,and skipped the Shannon and a couple of anchorages south of it, because we had rendezvous with two new crew at different times. With the wind turning against us after today and likely to rise, it becomes much easier to manage the logistics if we first get round to Dingle.
We passed inside the stunning Blasketts at noon, in quiet conditions. Excursion boats from Dingle had landed lots of people on Great Blasket, who we could see exploring the island, now uninhabited except for an artist who lives there part of the year. A former Irish Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, used to have a house on one of the even smaller islands.
Into Dingle, which is am amazingly well hidden harbour with a narrow entrance that broadens out into a wide shallow lagoon that – coming from the west – can only be seen as you are about to enter. There is a narrow dredged channel, which it is important to keep to, because there is very little water outside it.
Moored in our first marina since Port Ellen on Islay, the first time we have had to pay since then. Showers, omelettes, The Killing episode 96 or thereabouts – it is gripping but it does go on a bit.
Passage notes: 83 miles, 15 hours, max wind SW 4, min SSW2, main hazard inshore at night – lobster pots