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Sailmithril: The voyages.

In God's own land
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Newry

Albert Basin, Newry. July 2006.

Strangford village is a very picturesque stop for a visiting boat and if you can dry out the quay provides a very sheltered berth. We usually moor as far up the landward end of the wall as we can and then you only float for about 2 hours every tide which saves a lot of looking after. There’s also plenty to see and do around the village and across in Portaferry with good walks in Castleward estate. We particularly enjoy this after a passage.

 

After a week or so here we sailed around to Carlingford Lough and spent a night – an expensive night – at the new marina in Warrenpoint before coming on up into Newry. This isn’t something to undertake without local knowledge at the moment, as there are no navigation marks in the Newry river. Warrenpoint harbour authority took them away a couple of years ago as they considered them a danger to navigation due to their decrepit state. But they didn’t replace them with anything else and now there is no danger OF navigation. We have been into the ship canal quite a few times but still have moments of trepidation as the depth sounder reduces and we have to decide which side of the channel we are on. But we made the voyage with no difficulties and were met in the lock by Marie McStay from radio Ulster who interviewed us for the Your Place and Mine programme. They had been following our progress over the winter with live-on-air phone calls and this was the ending for the little series.

 

The Newry ship canal is a wonderful asset for boats which is severely underused. Mithril is the only boat to have used the canal in the last 18 months. That is a great shame as the berth in the Albert Basin is right in the centre of the city with Sainsbury only 50 metres away, which has proved very convenient for us provisioning for our circumnavigation. I have spent the last week buying and stowing more than 200 tins of fruit and veg and kilos of flour and dry goods not to mention the various treat things that you can only get in Norn Iron like Tayto crisps and Cadbury’s chocolate as well as things for Christmas which will probably be spent in the Southern Ocean. But back to Newry. There are plans in the Council pipeline to automate the lock and build a marina and shore development in the Albert basin, which will make a big difference to the look of the place. We are a big attraction here in the basin with passers-by taking photographs at all hours of the day and night. Today we had a bridal party wanting the boat in the background but they had to wait until Peter had finished putting a new antenna up the mizzen mast otherwise he would have been in the picture which might have taken some explaining in the years to come. Some people are very cheeky too; walking aboard and posing on our foredeck and then being abusive when we tell them to **** off. Perhaps we should just have charged them 5 a photo. Our most bizarre visit was a couple strolling home from a club at 4 a.m. and deciding that the dawn sky from the boat would make a nice pic. The trouble with a metal boat is that the slightest noise on the deck reverberates like a drum.

 

We have been very busy during our time here fitting some new equipment and Mithril is now the proud owner of a rudder indicator; something I have been hinting at for a long time. We also have a wind indicator for the first time. It remains to be seen if we will like this or not – sometimes you do better not to know. Almost in spite of ourselves we have ended up buying a wind generator. With UK fuel prices as they are it is now an economically viable way of generating extra electricity but if fuel is as cheap now in South Africa as it was there in 1999 it again becomes merely an eco-friendly luxury. Everybody says we look more like a proper cruising boat with one though. One passing drunk this morning however said he didn’t reckon on it driving us as far as Omeath never mind down the Irish Sea – I don’t think he quite understood the principle of the thing. He did offer us a drink of Guinness and an invitation to a party continuing in the flats further along the canal bank. This was at 08.30 when he had been sent out to visit Sainsbury’s off-licence as soon as it opened!! We will miss this sort of encounter when we leave the Albert basin on Tuesday and venture south once more. On the other hand we mightn’t miss it at all.

 

copyright Geraldine Foley 2008. "sailmithril ocean sailing adventures."