874 nautical miles or 1620km, a total of 43 days, with 37 paddling days and 6 days off (2 due to weather, 3 due to illness and 1 while waiting for a new tent pole to arrive in the post). Justine Curgenven, Barry Shaw and my self had only one main headland between us and the finish, with either 14 or 18 nm to go. The distance depended on whether we could cut straight across Dublin Bay or due to the winds had to hug the coast. But for today I was beat and happy to come ashore. I would deal with the stronger winds, which where likely to be from the side/following and into wind, in the morning. I was looking forward to food and an early night and considering we had got on the water after 12 and in just after 6pm, 18nm was respectable.
The next morning after breakfast, we were on the water for 6am, forecast was a F5 and gusting up to F7. For me this was the most physical part of our journey and as we clawed our way in to the harbor, 18nm and 6 hours from our start. I felt a mix of relief and warm satisfaction. In the last few days, life is almost back to normal. I’ve been sorting through all my kit, washing and repacking and looking over video clips and photos.
A few more stats. The biggest mileage was 34 nm and there was 2 of these. Day 26 round the Mullet Peninsular, up in the NW and day 39 from Belfast Lough to St Johns Point. While the smallest distance was 10nm as we rounded Clogher and Sybil Head and experienced a significant 3-4mt Atlantic swell, confused reflected waves and sustained clapotis. It was an exciting as well as a gripping morning. Overall we had fantastic conditions and more days than expected with stunning silky seas and blue-sky days.
I’ve seen first hand just how spectacular the coastline and wildlife around Ireland is. And I feel we got the balance right, based on the 50 days I had available before going back to work. From exploring, caves, gullies and tunnels, outer islands, villages and time with local people. To paddling from headland to headland and making the most of conditions, to get the mileage in. Overall I’ve been blown away by the generosity, kindness and hospitality of the people we’ve met along the journey. From paddlers, following our journey and those we just met who opened their house to us, and welcomed us in.
I feel very fortunate to have been able to take the time out to complete this expedition and thank my partner Sonja for managing mission control, with updating my Blog and managing the bookings for Coastal Spirit.
Fundraising for my chosen charity, Cancer Research UK now stands at over £1,200, so thank you to those who donated. My Cetus HV carried the load and felt secure and stable in rough seas and challenging winds. Being able to trust that my boat was up for the job, was a big weight off my mind.