0026 - Belfast to Bangor

We set off about 7am, and not in any particular rush - we took a quick tour of the harbour... This wasn't planned, just a spur of the moment type of thing...and phoebe decided to partake in the tour...by coming on deck and just watching everything as it went by - She is very well-behaved, I never have to worry too much about her, Chloe is the risk-taker, but her bed was too comfortable for her to take part in the tour.

We backed away from the pontoon and instead of going to the right toward the channel, we went left toward the bridge - now we can't go under it, or get too close to it as the supports for it extend under the water, so we had to be careful not to get too close.

We just went up one side and down the other just to get a better look at all the buildings...

After getting turned around, we carried on down the harbour, with Phoebe showing a very keen interest in what was going on.

She would walk up to the bow, come back to the stern - then amidships - she seemed to be enjoying the tour!!

I didn't get any decent shots of the Titanic Centre on my last post so I decided to get a bunch of them this time around. I took a few as we left the pontoon, as we passed, and after we passed - I hope they give you an idea of the size of the thing - It really is a massive big thing.

Now, I was a little sad that I didn't get to go on the tour - BUT - I learned from another tourist that you are not allowed to take photos once inside the building! - Or, so they said - I have not confirmed this, but that certainly made me feel better at not having spent the money to go on the tour - it's a bit pricey, but I thought it might have been worth it for the pictures...

Getting further away from the marina things quickly get industrial, as you saw in our earlier post when we arrived here.

But there was still a bit to see here, it's funny how just changing your angle of approach - gives you a whole new perspective...we continued the tour...

Like I said, as we got further away from the pontoon the tour continued, but just as we were getting to the next section - I heard on the radio - we were reported to the Port Authority by an approaching vessel...

After the cruise ship had finished snitching on us, I immediately radioed the Port Authority to let them know that we were just taking some pictures and would radio back when we intended to exit the harbour so as not to impede any other vessel. This, of course, was totally fine....the tour continued.

As we got a bit further down there was an old military ship docked, I think it's kind of a floating museum now, I kinda wanted to have a closer look. This ship is called the HMS Caroline and is the sole survivor of the WWI Battle of Jutland

When I was at the Titanic Centre I saw it in the distance and meant to got check it out, but I kinda forgot, so now was the perfect opportunity to get a peek at it...

Now, you might have noticed these two big yellow gantry cranes - evidently, they're famous and are known as Samson and Goliath - and can be seen from miles away and form part of the Belfast Skyline.

They are huge, just another cog in the mighty shipbuilding reputation that Belfast has.

And there was, even more, to see on the way out of here, I'm not really sure how to frame them up, I don't really have that much to say about them, they just are what they are...


So here is just a bunch of random photos I took on the way out of here, not sure if you'll like them or not, I include them just so you can see them - it was just an interesting place.

At this point, we are just about into the channel and this just about concludes our time in Belfast. You know, time is just such a vanishing commodity.

This fella (below) marks the start of the channel, and we are on our way out... Belfast was awesome, I really enjoyed it - it's unlike any city I've ever been in - If you ever get the chance - you must go - you won't be disappointed - the sights, the people and just everything that makes up Belfast - it's just such a unique place - I hope I get the chance to go back someday... fingers crossed.

And naturally, a trip down the channel wouldn't be complete without an encounter with a ferry.

We started down the channel following the starboard markers but had to cross over to the port markers as the ferry approached - I never get used to these things - they could run us over, and they wouldn't even feel it!

We left the channel as soon as we had enough depth to do so and informed the Port Authority that we were now clear and out of the way, and pointed our bow slightly South - We were going to Bangor for a day.

Now the winds were quite light, but Bangor was only a short distance away, so we were in no hurry, once we got the engine off and the sails up, we were only averaging about 2 knots at best, but we only had a few miles to go - plus it was a really nice day! so we took our time to take in a little scenery...

Pheobe took part in the morning tour, but now it was Chloe's turn...with the engine off I think Chloes assumed we were at anchor, docked, or something...

But as soon as she got topside she was a little surprised...and as we were going very slow and on very flat seas, I let her have a wander about without her harness on - she doesn't like her harness, but had we been going any faster or if conditions were not as flat - she would have been in her harness - she is a little too adventurous sometimes...

As I mentioned, we didn't have far to go, as we were already almost there, about an hour away from Bangor, we somehow managed to pick up a tiny little hitch-hiker...


I took a picture, then another - but as I got a little closer - he/she just flew away...off and out across the water...good luck little friend!

Bangor was in sight and I radioed ahead to confirm availability of a berth, there were loads - We were given docking instructions and requested to radio just prior to entering the marina to confirm the traffic situation...As we passed Bangor on the way to Belfast I remember it being quite colourful, kinda like Tobermory, just a lot bigger - but there was to be a lot more colour than I expected - and not in the way I thought...

As we approached the entrance, I again noticed the shabbiness of our sail bag and a new development - the zipper has ceased to function, and bag itself is now only hanging onto the boom by a few threads...I only really think about these things as we go into larger marinas that are just stuffed with pristine yachts, all sporting new canvas and looking very smart.


They do all make it a little hard not to be just a touch self-conscious about it...lol...when we're out on the water - these things don't matter...but we were practically there...

Once through the entrance, we got to our pontoon and I got up to the office and paid our dues as we were clearing out the next day...This is a nice marina, but we had work to do. I had asked someone what there was to see here - Bangor Castle, and that I must try a 'Lemon Top Ice Cream' was the answer I got.

A Castle? We're there - And with my camera in my bag - I wasted no time in getting myself there...it was only a 10 min walk away from the marina - The ice cream would have to wait till tomorrow morning...there is an Irish Castle to see!!

No, this wasn't to be Stonehaven all over again - we would actually get to see this one up close - perhaps not as big or old as the castle at Stonehaven - but we were here.


But first, I have to say that I noticed a few benches in front of the place, they were memorial benches dedicated to a few people. The first one I noticed was dedicated to the former Mayor of North Down...

The next bench was dedicated to C. S. Lewis and his favourite view of Belfast Lough, all I can say is that I think it's changed a bit since he last sat here. The pictures below are of the plaque itself and the associated view.

I sat here for a few minutes and thought about the dramatic changes that have occurred to his prized view - all I could see was a massive modern white structure that has obscured most of it- amazing what happens in the name of progress and profit.

And the last bench was my favourite one, for sure. I don't know anything about this lady, but she must have been something...

There is something else I would like to mention - The way the Irish write these things down, its almost poetic - well - it is poetic but I feel its unintentional, it just seems to come out that way, to foreign eyes, it seems charming - but it's just the way it is here, and damn it - I like it - it's not charming, I think calling it charming is doing it a disservice - there is a pure honesty in their words that is just not present, I feel, anywhere else quite like the way it is here...


Back to Bangor Castle - I don't know much about the place other than what was written on an info board nearby - so rather than pretend I know what's going on here - he is a picture of the board...

Walking around this place was interesting, it was open to the public - but you couldn't go inside due to Covid-19 restrictions, but I was able to take a bunch of pictures. There is also a museum, but I arrived just to see it closing...


They really do keep the grounds in beautiful condition, a lot of time and effort - and no doubt, money - public money has been spent keeping it pretty, and I suppose it's no surprise that the local government council has it as their HQ - not exactly sure how I feel about that...but it was nice.

In fact, a very good friend of mine, Paul and his lovely partner Danielle , got married here some years back, so i guess it does see some public use......hmmmmmm - but check it out, it's a neat building.....

Earlier, I mentioned colour, the grounds were filled with so much colour, I've never seen this much variety of colours and species of flowers, many of them I had never seen before. plus a few butterflies sharing the flowers with some busy bees - not fighting, sharing - they were quite cute to watch...

I'm not really into flowers, but these were something else - just so vibrant! - and all around the castle there were enormous patches of clovers - This is Ireland after all..

Okay - that's enough for this post - tomorrow - we will try and get a 'Lemon Top Ice Cream' - apparently, they are only available here in Bangor, and nowhere else!

But I think we will have to be quick, not sure what check-out time is here in the marina - But we are headed out to some nearby islands for the next night in Ireland.

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