0030 - Portaferry, Ireland to Holyhead, Wales

An early start to this day as we had a little over 70nm to go, from sunrise to sunset we would be moving...it was going to be a long day...


Getting away from the marina was a lot easier than I had been told it would be, and once away from Portaferry it became immediately apparent that the currents were going to be an issue again....but this time the currents were going in the other direction...

As soon as we left our speed picked up and we were swept along with fleeing flow of water, I kept the engine revs at a respectable rate to keep the steering in check.

And with our autopilot keeping our course I took some pictures - things always look nice at this time of the day for some reason, I never seem to get used to it...

Despite leaving at the same state of flow as that which we arrived in, we were moving a bit quicker on the way out than they were on the way in.


Before things got too hairy I snapped this pic of our speed and with Greta at only half revs at least 10 knots of that speed is pure current...

As we got closer to the bottom of the channel the water started looking very ominous again, with currents, eddies and whirlpools all over the place...

But something was different this time, it seemed a little angrier than it did on the way in, I put it down to the low-light, it just seemed different somehow...

On the charts shows a warning for rip-tides at the mouth of the channel, but on the way in they were nowhere to be seen, at this time I had almost forgotten about them as they are only visible on the chart plotter at lower-zooms...


Looking ahead, I could see something happening in the water and I figured this must be the rip-tides they were referring to...

Uh-oh - There really wasn't time to do anything - looking down below I could see a few things I hadn't yet put away yet - and well, they weren't going to be staying where I left them. Seconds later things got wild for about five minutes, as decent sized waves that were very close together smashed into the bow of the boat.

The problem is that as you get over one wave the boat doesn't have enough time to recover before the next one hits, so every other wave crashed over the bow sending a thousand gallons of seawater flooding down the decks! - I didn't get any proper photos - just these 4 pictures that were shot as I held on...lol

Once clear of the rip-tides things were still a bit choppy, but acceptable - and eventually it would all settle down, the skies would clear, and it would actually be a nice day, the calm before the storm - high winds and nasty weather were due in less than 30 hours.

I decided to keep the motor running for about sixty percent of the way as the higher winds I had hoped for did not materialize, although the waves and swell were both beneficial, but there just wasn't quite enough wind to get us to where we needed to be before dark...

As we put some distance between ourselves and Ireland I found myself wondering If I had done the right thing in leaving, I really love Ireland and not being sure when I'll get the chance to go back was a little sad - I'm sure at some point I'll get to go back, just not sure when...

But, little did I know, Ireland still had one last treat of us! A double rainbow! And we all know whwhat'sats at the end of those things!! At first, it was just one rainbow but after a little bit, a second less-obvious one also appeared...but still - A double rainbow y'all!

Things were a rolly for a while, and we tossed about a little bit, nothin' too bad, but when you're out here, you can't help but notice how small this boat is.

And being a 'small' boat we just don't have the stability that larger vessels have and this boat isn't really a cruising yacht, it's part racer, part cruiser - a bit of both and is relatively lightweight for boats of a similar size but that's the compromise for extra speed...

But it did all settle down and it got rather smooth for a while, the sun came out and it was even warm for a little while!


As we got closer to Holyhead, Wales it did get a bit choppier but nothing like those rip-tides!

We also had some company in the form of Dolphins!


I never get used to seeing these animals, they are so fast and graceful in the water, they are always just an awesome unexpected surprise whenever they appear, but I always seem to notice them - they always do something to get my attention - they seem to bang on the hull - I always hear a series of small bangs that get my attention...kinda like they want me to know they're there

After they appeared, they just disappeared...that's pretty much how it always goes, they come, they play for a bit then they just disappear...but I'm always happy they did. Part of me still can't believe it happens - to me - that I get to see them, and once they go I always find myself asking, is this real life?

After the excitement of the dolphins, it was just open sea for a while, which is kinda enjoyable - so long as the weather is nice - I'm sure being this far out in rough conditions is another story - you can't just duck into a harbour for refuge if you want - you've just got to deal with whatever the sea throws at you... it's going to happen to me one day, of that I'm quite sure...

Just as the sun was beginning to fall way behind us, Holyhead came in to view. A couple of hours later we were almost into the bay, but again something wasn't right.


As we approached, we had yet another GPS malfunction...affecting every GPS onboard...Our COG Speed was correct, but our location was about a mile off target. Some quick bearings revealed our true location and some adjustments were made, and as we approached the systems seemed to correct themselves...this has been happening a little too often for my liking.

Our course was also about sixty degrees off from our compass but as we got into Holyhead bay it came back to where it should be...very mysterious, and a little dangerous as we were, at one point, headed toward some rocks marked with a cardinal marker that we should not have been pointing at - which is how I noticed...a lesser captain might not have noticed...lol


By now, the sun was going down and this was to be our first Welsh sunset...

...and here's a few more shot from the same time.


Maybe not as pretty as the sunset by still nice in their own way, I love the orange hue that the fading sun puts on everything, yet another thing I never seem to tire of looking at, its always different, and special in one way or another...

As we passed the lighthouse on the end of the breakwater this meant that we were here, in Holyhead, and in Wales.

Having completely crossed the Irish sea and we're now within reach of our next berth for a few days...

But don't think for a second that we're going to the fancy marina that's located here, we came here to shelter from some nasty weather that's coming, and a few years back - Holyhead Marina got washed onto the rocks - along with all the yachts that were there.


Plus, we're totally out of cash and need to hang someplace for a while till I get some more...we have a few bucks left for food and whatnot, but what we have left won't stretch to a fancy marina - I did call just to see how much it was - just for shits and gigs - way too pricey for our pockets...but I had to ask...lol

I called the Holyhead Port Authority and spoke to Rob, an awesome dude who invited us to chill on the Fish Quay and if not there we could go onto the Public Quay, both of which are free, and we could, if we wanted, stay for as long as we liked.


I radioed the Port Authority requesting permission to enter the controlled channel in the harbour and after clearance was obtained we proceeded to check out the Fish Quay, no good - already had boats in there, we again radioed Port Control and got permission to proceed to the Public Quay.

After a long day - we were now tied to the quay and weren't going anywhere for a few days, and for the next few days the winds howled...in the harbour we were getting about 30 knots of wind forcing us up against the quay wall, with every fender we had - we defended ourselves as best we could - at the end of it all - no damage to report.

Outside the harbour, container and gas ships were reporting much higher winds - 38 knots gusting up to 45 knots. We had gotten in here with 10 hours to spare and were much happier in the Harbour than I think we would have been had we actually been in the Marina - it's much more exposed than the inner harbour - and you can't beat FREE!


So for the next few days, we didn't do very much. We spent two days on the wall, and then another day rafter to another, much larger, vessel. During this time, the crew also didn't do very much...Phoebe did a lot of laying around and our CSO kept an eye on the weather...

The weather was pretty miserable for most of the time so we just stayed below, caught up on some sleep, but on our last evening in Holyhead the weather cleared up a bit and the crew enjoyed a bit of topside time...

It's funny, we didn't even leave the harbour at all, I have no idea what Holyhead is like, other than briefly speaking to a few people on the pier, and a quick conversation with the captain of the vessel we rafted onto - we didn't really explore the place at all.

And that's pretty much it for our trip from Portaferry to Holyhead, tomorrow we leave here still heading South - the winds aren't ideal, and not totally sure where we're going.

We'll go as far as we can see - and when we get there, we should know how to go further - As you walk the path, The path will appear...or something like that...

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