You spin me right round baby right round, like a record baby right round !!
After setting off from Clew Bay we had two plans depending on the swell and wind we met once outside the shelter of the bay. We soon decided to divert to plan B just do a short 15 mile trip and seek shelter in Achill Sound for the night to let the sea settle down making a more comfortable journey the following day for the a larger 50+ mile journey up the coast.
Sounded good in theory (and did work out well in the end), however our plan B did give us a little excitement. We knew there were a couple of mooring buoys in near Achill Sound as well as a small pontoon that can be used a little way in the river, with a bit of swell in the bay we decided to head up the river but hadn’t calculated the tides for the sound (as we were originally were travelling much further on), well, actually that’s probably not entirely correct either as we had calculated the tide to take us out (which we had been using) but it hadn’t finished yet and as we motored into the sound we noticed the strong current against us and increased engine power, then increased it some more, then realised we were not going anywhere! A bonus was that we were not going backwards but with the engine on high revs working hard we were just managing to stay in the one spot in the water and not making progress forward.
Well, plan C was called for, this being turn back to the large wooden jetty we had just passed. So the smallest hint of a turn on the tiller was all that was needed for the boat to be taken by the current and spun around (rather quickly!) and spat back out down towards the jetty at a very high speed all courtesy of the current (we had backed the engine right off), the jetty loomed large and close and thank goodness there was a work platform secured to it with large old tyres and fenders buffering the sides as we didn’t get a choice where we landed (read this as . . . we planned to tie up further along, but that didn’t work in the current) anyway by pure luck or as we like to think our good design (yeah right) we were pushed onto the cushioned work platform where upon I jumped onto it and tied us off very quickly before thinking to ourselves – oh shit that was lucky.
After 15 minutes or so and feeling a lot more composed (and looking up when the tide was due to go slack and change) we jokingly said to each other, all we need now is for the work boat to come back and make us move from their barge/resupply platform…luck of the Irish guess what turned up 10 minutes later telling us to move – yep you guessed it! Luckily he was also off loading some crew who were kind enough to help us. We were doubtful as to if we were going to be able to push off the platform in the current but it had eased enough and the guys from the boat then took our lines and helped us tie up around the other side of the jetty.
We worked out that we would be able to move to the river pontoon in about 2 hours once tide was fully slack, in the meantime I watch a couple of fishing boats come out of the sound and the moment they came around the corner it was obvious they hit (or just let the boat go) into the same stream we were in and they all came rushing down towards the jetty as great speed before getting turned around towards the mouth, then motoring off, they looked out of control and I can only imagine it how we looked too but at least they were locals and knew they wouldn’t hit the jetty where as we had the panic of not knowing.
Now, Achill Island is no small island, in-fact it is large enough that there is a bridge across the sound further up to connect it to the mainland, furthermore we took the bikes out the following day and only managed to cycle around about a quarter of it. The reason I am going into detail about how big an island it is and how many residents is because whilst we were on Inishturk Island a few days prior Phil had been chatting to a lady Phil (Philiomena) whilst at the swimming hole where myself and Philomenas daughter were swimming, she told us she lived on Achill Island, nice enough we didn’t think much else of it. We did however visit the pub she recommended in Westport with the music as it was her pub, with her sister and her being the licences’s and running it. Anyway whilst sitting at the jetty waiting to move we saw someone walking down the jetty waving at us…our immediate thoughts were “oh no here we go, we have to move again” well glad to say we were wrong it was our mate Phil she lived in one of the two houses at the end of the jetty (the only houses in view). How’s that for a small world. Anyway we went up to the house for a very nice warm cup of tea whilst waiting for the time to move. She must have thought we were stalking her after Inishturk Island, Westport Pub and then stopping 100 m from her front door.
One further highlight from Achill Sound comes from when we finally made it up the river to the small pontoon. We were assured by the local fishermen that we were fine to stop there (it was the weekend and the ferry that runs to and fro from there doesn’t operate on weekends). So of course about about 5pm that Saturday night we see the ferry chugging towards us … it had been hired for a private charter to the island for the day! He was coming in to offload the passengers … no problem he said no need to move we will come along side and they can climb onto us then onto shore. Great, and to Phil’s delight the passengers were all very good looking 20-30 something year olds who were on a hens day/night!! All extremely wobbly after a day on the booze on the island and wearing the highest heels possible they were absolutely delighted that Phil was there to lend them a hand climbing onto our boat (but it has to be said not as delighted as Phil was to help them) they then trotted across the deck to where I helped them off onto the shore where there bus was due to pick them up. They of course wanted a picture with the yacht, again to Phil’s absolute delight (and huge smile). After they had merrily gone on their way we found a glass and an empty beer bottle on deck where they had came across. The picture says it all ☺ Phil now recalls it as the day he held “new crew interviews” unfortunately for Phil none of the girls were silly enough to actually want to stay!