July 08, 2009
On Wednesday the wind had abated slightly and we decided to set off to Donegal. Fraser’s sister and her family were staying in a holiday cottage not far from Greencastle in lough Foyle, so we decided to pay them a visit.
The sea was still pretty rough when we set off, so we decided to give all 3 children sea-sick pills. Big mistake. Although all 3 had shown themselves to pretty good sailors, this looked to be worse than anything else we had taken them out in, so it seemed a good idea at the time.
We gave the girls half doses, but they still had trouble staying awake in the cockpit and their heads were nodding the whole way across. I was worried in case they’d be too sleepy to hold on in the rough water, but they coped OK. Digger the Border Terrier didn’t enjoy it much, but just cuddled up to the warmest person and kept his head down…
Patrick (age 11) conked out very shortly after taking his Stugeron and slept soundly inside his lee cloth for the whole journey. Maybe Stugeron wasn’t such a bad idea after all…
When we arrived at Lough Foyle we had got the tide right (it can be 3.5 knots in the narrows) and had a trouble free passage. The pilot said that since the fishing industry in Donegal has declined, yachts are now welcome in Greencastle, but the Almanac said the opposite. We found the almanac to be closer.
When we got into the harbour it was thick with fishing boats. There were quite a few local yachts rafted up 6-deep but they were all much smaller that our girl and we didn’t think it was appropriate to add her beamy bulk to the mix. We found two other yachts tied up alongside a huge trawler , so we tied up to the outside one with a gentle bump. Not gentle enough. We woke up the poor man!
Luckily the two men on the yacht were extremely friendly and helpful and it turned out that they and the other yacht had both run foul of salmon nets across the Foyle. The other boat, a gorgeos najad, had tried to reverse off and ended up partially unscrewing her cutlass bearing, so she had to be towed in and was due to be lifted out and repaired. Mark, in the yacht next to us, had fortunately gone straight to neutral and avoided damage, waiting to be given permission by the fishermen to cut the nets. He dived overboard and did the work himself. A very enterprising bloke with a quiet manner and oodles of sang froid.
The family in the Najad had her lifted out and repaired and the locals were very helpful and supportive throughout, except for the fisherman whose unmarked nets they fouled on, who turned up in the middle of all theis demanding 200 euros for replacement nets. The locals advised the family to ignore him!
We met up with Fraser’s sister Kirsty and her family and were treated to a couple of amazing barbeques at their luxurious holiday cottage.
The whole time in Greencastle we looked for and failed to find the Harbour Master to pay him. Didn’t feel too guilty as there were no facilities at all.
We didn’t leave Greencastle, except for taking Kirsty’s husband and 2 of the children for a fishing trip for a couple of hours, until Friday (Fraser’s birthday).
We had a good opportunity to admire a large cruise ship on our way out…