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Galway to Lough Derg - 121nm 15hrs


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#1 OceanFroggie

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 03:35 PM

Photo blog of a trip bringing a cruiser back to Lough Derg from Galway harbour last week. I was lucky enough to be on board as crew. Snaps below when fog permitted! :)

Arrived in Galway Tuesday evening. Had a walk around the "buzzin" downdown part of the city, more reminisent of small back streets in south of France and Italy rather than Ireland. Hadn't been in Galway city centre since 1993, wow what a change - for the better. Had a bite of grub, provisioned boat, systems and gear check, passage plan checked and slept on board ready for a 0600am rise.

Track Log - 122 nautical miles from Galway to Killaloe
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Floating jetties inside Galway Harbour which is protected by a tidal sea lock. Access only for 2hr before HW Galway, which means only twice a day, so a little planning needed. But Arran Islands visitor mooring bouys offer an alternative, or sling out the hook if you need to wait outside for a few hours before the harbour is accesseable
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Galway Docks - The commercial shipping end
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0708 underway, Galway docks as we approach the lock. Weather forecast excellent
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Sea lock at Galway docks. Opens to let us out 2hr before HW Galway. Looks a little misty in the distance, I wonder if we might experience a little morning fog before it burns off for the day in the forecast sunshine.
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View out over Galway Bay after we leave the docks, following the dreged channel. Flat calm in here.
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Galway City as we head out towards the mist
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On route for Loop head, but due mist can't see the Arran Islands
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Fuji HS10 compact bridge super zoom at 720mm on a moving boat - image stabilisation doing it's job
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We run into fog for about an hour and a half, have to peg the speed back to 8kt and keep sharp lookout. Radar on. The delay means we will miss the tidal access in Limerick (ie we dont want to arrive within 2hrs of LW Limerick as it's springs). Having an auto helm is an essential aid when cruising in poor visibility, takes all the fatigue out of steering when you've no visual reference. Fog opens up a few times over the 90mins. We are moderately hopeful the morning fog will have burnt off before we enter the Shannon Estuary. As a contingency we plan a new route up the estuary through shallow water to avoid shipping in case the fog persists.
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8kt a very relazed shannon cruising speed
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Horay, the fog suddenly lifts and we have 25miles visibility, speed back up to 16kt. View astern. Due to the fog we missed the views of the Arran Islands and the planned close in views of the cliffs of Moher. Next time!
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Loop head in the far distance - Fuji HS10 at 30x zoom and camera trying hard to eliminate shake on a moving boat. Loop head is awesome. Kerry coast shrowded in the far distance due heat haze. We can see Mt Brandon in the far distance, the three sisters and Tearacht Island of the Blaskets
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Loop Head as we round it and enter the Shannon Estuary. Minimal swell all trip, pure magic, and no sea sickness. The "Travella" homeopathic sea sick pills have never let me down yet, not in a gentle lazy swell, nor in an F6.
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We proceed up the estuary at slow displacement speed as we cannot make Limerick the 2hrs before LW that we need. View aft to mouth of Shannon Estuary - flat calm sun and blue sky, what more could we ask for.
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We anchored off Scattery Island for lunch while we wait for the tide (ie near Kilrush Creek). Sandwiches, Coffee and Fanta are the order of the day and some yummie choc and toffee biscuits :)
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Undeway again, now well up the estuary crusing at about 6kt waterspeed, but as tide as turned an extra 3kt of spring tide pushing our SOG to 9kt in places. Having passed Foynes island, now about to pass Aughinish, heading for Shannon airport. Listening to VHF traffic about a medivac involving CG SAR heli "CG" changing callsign to rescue 115 once tasked to pickup medical casualty - hoping all is well for the persons involved
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Spotted this nice little structure nearing Limerick. We then cruised over the new Limerick tunnel, Thomand Park dominant on the horizon like a giant dinasore nest.
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Limerick city as the spring flood tide is now racing in, water muddy brown and full of little tidal eddies and micro whirlpools. We arrive 2hr after LW Limerick so there is not a lot of water under our keel. We tickeled her along slowly just in case, but relaxed in the knowledge we would quickly float off on a rising tide should we run gently aground on the mud flats. It's a very different matter if one runs aground on a falling tide.
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We lock through Sarsfield sea lock after waiting for some young ladies locking down in a UL rowing boat. Depth reading drops to zero under our keel, so gently nudge her along past the Limerick marina complex and gingerly heading up the Abbey river. Single engine vessels would have little problems, but with a twin one has to be extra careful to protect the exposed props.
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Limerick looks amazing - We have passed through two city centres in the same day in a boat. Feeling very lucky.
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Just about to exit the Abbey river back into the Shannon ahead. Then on up to Ardnacrusha, hoping to make Killaloe eta 2115, but alas the new control systems at the 102ft lock and partween wier add about 45mins to our transit up. Had a good chat with the lock keeper, got our pin code to open Parteen wiers lift gate, and proceeded up the head race at 7kt.
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Approaching the eel nets on the headrace on route to Killaloe. It's such a balmy warm evening, loads of folks out walking, and youngsters diving off the gantry at the nets for a late evening swim. Costa del Shannon at it's best.
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We tie up in Killaloe, put the radar arch and canopy back up. What an amazing day, but boy are we tired after a wonderful 15hr passage from Galway (ie 0650-2210). I slept well that night! We had been blessed with wonderful weather and near perfect sea state.

#2 Whopper

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 04:37 PM

Whats the boat OF? Atlantic 42 or 444 maybe?

#3 kindredspirit

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 07:42 PM

A lovely trip.

You put the atmosphere of it into words perfectly.
Useful links.................................................................Boating photographs.
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On waves of silver, dreaming of gold,

#4 fergal butler

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 09:45 PM

Posted Image Enjoyed that trip,Thanks

#5 Cor-32

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 10:11 PM

great post OF, really captured the trip in the report

Cormac

#6 Day Dream's

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 12:17 AM

Nice trip, pity about the fog, I'm sure it's the first Log of a busy season :ban

ps Thanks for your help with my trip :bow




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