Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

2 nd to 3 rd of August 2016 - Glengarriff

Crew : Andy and Helen
Destinations : Glengarriff Bay.
Distance : 11 miles

The weather was forecasting Gale 8s for the whole of the Irish coast on Wednesday. We decided it would be necessary to remain in Bantry Bay, so headed up to Glengarriff to ride out the storm. We gybed up the bay, which made a change from tacking. It was quite drizzly and overcast with just a few glimpses of mountain through the fog. It only took us about 3 hours and we followed another ketch the whole way. We initially picked up a mooring buoy so that we could get ashore to the village fairly easily. We found a good supermarket and were able to pick up a few groceries that  we couldn't find in Baltimore. When we got back to the boat, we decided to move to the south west of the bay and anchor off Garinish Island, also known as Illnacullen. This proved to be a more sheltered anchorage and would also mean we should be able to visit the island and gardens, despite the gales.


Whilst sitting in the cockpit looking at the seals basking on nearby rocks and listening to the wind gradually building, we could hear a bird crying. We were just discussing the fact that it sounded like a bird of prey, when a bird, the size of a barn door flew by. We then noticed a large bird sitting on the nearby rock. It turned out to be a baby white tailed sea eagle. Not much later, it's parent turned up with food a couple of times. We enjoyed watching them, on and off, for the duration of our stay.



The following morning we had a wet and windy ride over to the island. We went to buy our tickets, but were told that entry was free on the first Wednesday of every month. It was our lucky day! We were given a tour of the house, which had only been open to the public for the first time this year. As we had arrived quite early, not needing to use a tour boat, we had the guide all to ourselves. The island was brought by the Bryce family in the early 20th century from the British War Office and were going to make it into a holiday home. It was just a rock with a Martello Tower at it's highest point. The family planned to build a large mansion joining the Martello Tower and create a garden. The gardens were designed and created, but the family lost most of their money before they were able to have the mansion built (fortunately). Similarly to Tresco, they noticed the climate of the island was particularly warm and that they would be able to grow some unusual exotic plants. Unfortunately they didn't allow for the wind and rain, so their first attempt didn't work too well. They eventually employed a Scottish gardener, who planted many many trees to protect the plants and it then took off. After the husband died, his wife moved onto the island permanently and she and her son continued to develop the gardens, and moved into the small gardener's cottage, which they extended for themselves to live in.


The AIS is still playing up. Each time we tack or gybe the alarm has started to go off again. However, we do know what the problem is. Whilst in Crosshaven Marina, Andy removed the splitter which connected the stereo to the antenna, along with the AIS. He then put a new arial on the stereo. The hope was that this would solve the problem. It did help the radio reception, but the AIS alarm continued to go off. Andy then went up the mast  to check the connectors at the top. These were rather loose and not in great shape. After cleaning then up a bit, this definitely seemed to fix the problem. However, Andy felt the connector between the AIS cables and antenna were't very solid and subsequent movement, does seem to have loosened them again. So the next step is to replace the antenna and cables through the mast altogether which should fix it.


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