Friday, August 29, 2008

Glandore and Union Hall

Thu 28 Aug
The alarm went off at 6am and by half past, we were raising the anchor and preparing to creep out past all the moorings to catch the favourable tide. We had a glorious sunrise and we even saw the sun for about 15 minutes as it rose above the headland. Unfortunately, by 7am it had disappeared behind the clouds and that was the last we saw of it during the journey. The winds were very light so we motored most of the way, though we were finally able to get the sails up when we turned to enter the bay. The cloudy day we started with, turned into a misty day, then into full-on fog. For several hours we ventured on in our own little grey bubble, only being able to see about half a mile in any direction. As we got closer to our destination, we were both starting to get concerned as land was less than a mile away and we couldn’t see it. By this point visibility was down to less than 400 metres but since we were in over 30 metres of water, there was no possibility of anchoring to wait for the fog to lift.
It was quite shocking to suddenly see the cliffs in front of us, even though we knew they were there, as the light grey murk gave no hint whatsoever. Thank goodness for GPS!

Luckily, as we crept into the bay, the fog started to lift – the further in we got, the more we could see, until there was no mist at all, just a faint haze. When we looked behind though, there was still a massive wall of fog, with wisps of it following us into the bay. It actually looked quite sinister and Mark videoed a billowing swirling cloud that seemed to be tracking us.
We tucked right round the corner close to Union Hall to anchor – Glandore is on the opposite side of the bay so we’ll take the dinghy over there tomorrow.

As we sorted ourselves out, the sun emerged and we had a glorious afternoon of sunshine as we explored Union Hall. As we motored to the quay in the dinghy, a curious seal poked his head out of the water about 4 feet away to have a look at us. He was much bigger than the seals we’d seen before, but was completely unafraid of us. He followed us to the beach and I was able to get some fairly close pictures of his head before he got bored and swam off.

The guidebook had mentioned a general hardware store where we could get more gas so Mark lugged the empty bottle into town, only for us to find the store had closed down and the supermarket only stocks ‘Koz’ gas. We’ve only just switched on the new bottle so we’ll try again at Baltimore, otherwise we’ll probably manage until we get back to Kinsale or Cork.

Fri 29 Aug
Glandore is even smaller than Union Hall, with no shop, just a couple of pubs and bars. We walked about 2 miles or so to the Drombeg stone circle with Pippin doing her best to get run over by every passing car, despite being on a tight lead. She has this uncanny ability to jump sideways, straight into the path of vehicle tyres – never mind the nine lives of a cat, she obviously thinks she’s immortal !
The stone circle is quite a small one, with other stones nearby marking out cooking places and a well. Its history is unknown, though excavations in the 60’s discovered the cremated remains of a young boy buried in a pot at the centre. Quite how they worked out it was a young boy from ashes wasn’t clear – there’s not a lot of information about the site anywhere that we could find, either on noticeboards or in our guidebooks.

On the way back we stopped for lunch at the Glandore Inn – the sun hadn’t quite managed to come out but it was a warm muggy day so we were quite startled to look out to sea to face another bank of fog rapidly moving inland. By the time we got back to Talia, Glandore was out of sight and within half an hour of getting back, visibility was back down to about 200 metres. We were planning to move on to Baltimore tomorrow but will definitely be waiting for a weather forecast before attempting to set off !

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