Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Monday, 27 May 2019

The end of the cruise

Well, that was a really excellent 3 week cruise - we covered 782nm and discovered some excellent new anchorages as well as re-visiting old haunts. Here is a final selection of photos from Scilly to Dartmouth:

The view of Porthcressa from the east - in the foreground are some great allotments shielded from the wind by high hedges

Impressive rock formations at the SE point of St Mary's

Our hike around the SE coast of St Mary's took us past the final resting place of PM Harold Wilson....

…. and past the end of the airport runway

When the siren sounds, walkers must give way to incoming planes!

Having visited the southernmost Australian vineyard (on Bruny Island, Tasmania), it only seemed right to stop at the southernmost British vineyard
The downside of all this lovely sunny weather in Scilly was, of course, a distinct lack of wind so we left the islands at 05.30 in glassy conditions:

A larger-than average sea mammal - we had a whale take an interest in us

Unfortunately, we only managed to catch this very brief video clip:

Calm conditions allowed us to pass close to Lizard Point (normally you'd keep well clear)

RNLI action as we approached Falmouth
 We anchored off St Mawes, next to sister-ship Quahog, and had a misty start to the following morning:

 Whilst in St Mawes we took the opportunity to visit the beautifully-maintained 16th century castle:

So Maunie is now back on her mooring and the next excitement for us is to haul her out at Baltic Wharf in Totnes in about 3 weeks' time for some serious TLC. Hard work and probably not much fun for us, but she deserves it.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Notes From a Small Island

We are back in English waters (well, Scillonian ones at least) after a good-as-it-gets 27-hour, 160nm crossing of the Irish Sea (gentle spinnaker run, nice breeze overnight and not too rolly). We thoroughly enjoyed our cruising around Bantry Bay and then down to Crookhaven and Baltimore (Maunie's original home).

Here are a few pictures:

Maunie's anchorages, from Dingle, to the north, to Baltimore in the south

Glengarriff - every bit as lovely as we'd hoped

Relaxing in Glengarriff Bay

The lovely Italianate gardens on Garnish Island, Glengarriff

The top of the Martello Tower on Garnish Island, built by the British in 1809

The excellent new town marina in Bantry, with a visit from the Irish Navy

Bantry House, still in the same family since 1720 but the upkeep looks like a struggle. There's no National Trust in Ireland so the family live in a wing and open it to the public but it needs a lot of money spending on it.

Dolphin escort out of Irish waters. We had 3 Pilot whales with us for a while as well.

Porthcressa anchorage on St Mary's, Scilly.

From the Garrison, looking towards St Agnes and Gugh

Hugh Town Harbour, St Mary's

The Harbour at low tide. The white ship is the Scillonian which comes over from Penzance every day, bringing visitors and provisions

16.30, and the Scillonian departs for Cornwall

A brilliant idea on Porthcressa beach
We will have another day on St Mary's, hiking over to the east coast, then head back to Cornwall tomorrow. It's about a 5 hour sail to Newlyn, though we think that some diesel will have to be burnt as there's precious little wind in the forecast.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Wonderful Irish sailing

The wind may be on the cool side but we've had sunny, settled weather for the past few days to enjoy this absolutely beautiful part of Ireland.

Three nights in Dingle gave us time to recover from the night sail, visit the very good Dingle whiskey and gin distillery and have a brilliant night in the quirky Dick Mack's pub. Dingle is definitely a key stop in the Ring of Kerry tourist trail so there are lots of American and German accents to be heard around town and every pub offers some kind of 'traditional' music for the tourists - often it's not too great. We were very lucky when a group of 6 musicians, 3 Irish and 3 Czech asked if we'd mind if they came into our little back room in the pub to play. They were fantastic and we stayed till after midnight.

Time to move on, so we sailed out of Dingle on Friday and were treated to a farewell wave of the fin by Fungie, the resident dolphin who has made the outer harbour his home since 1983 and has brought a lot of tourist income to the trip boats who take visitors out to see him every day.

We've started to head south but have taken the time to go deep into the Kenmare and Bantry bays to find some sheltered and very picturesque anchorages - first to Sneem and then through Dursey Sound, the narrow gap between the mainland and the island at the bottom left of the map, to head towards Glengarriff.

Flying our Irish Flag spinnaker (a set of stitched photos so the sea gets an interesting texture!)

Going up river in the dinghy to the little town of Sneem

The local wildlife

Our anchorage at the mouth of the Sneem River

Heading towards Dursey Sound

Safely though the narrows

Our track shows we had to keep very close to the island to avoid the shallows in the centre of the sound. The "4KN" on the chart means that the current runs at up to 4 knots (about 5mph) so it's vital to arrive at slack water to avoid being pushed towards shallows or rocks.
We had a great sail on to Adrigole Harbour yesterday, a beautiful but empty bay on the north side of Bantry Bay for a quiet night on a mooring. As forecast, the wind is now increasing from the SE again so we'll move on to Glengarriff, right at the head of Bantry Bay, this morning - it looks really pretty and will offer complete shelter from the wind.