Our anchorage at Ballyhack was perfectly calm and quiet but force of habit made me get up for a look at 2am just to make sure that we were sitting nicely at anchor, and we were. Back to bed again and then I was up at 7.30am and sneaked out to let Sarah have a well deserved lay in. We got to Ireland for my birthday so once Sarah was up and about we had breakfast and then a present opening session!
We motored up the River Suir slowly owing to being against the tide which runs very hard in the river. It’s a lovely river with greenery right down to the waters edge and a few small groups of houses along the way as well as some lovely grand places up on the hills. Bejesus, Ireland is so green.
I was itching to put the Irish courtesy flag up but had to resist and fly the yellow Q flag (Q for quarantine) which signalled that we had a foreign animal onboard that needed to be checked over for any nasties that it might be carrying and of course, Max also needed to be cleared in.
Referring to the almanac gave us the number for the harbour master. We spoke to him and he located us on AIS and said he would be down on the pontoon to meet and direct us in and that he would also let customs know that we required clearance. We hugged the right side of the river once we were in sight of the marina at Waterford and this was to wave to Amy and Maria who’s house overlooks the marina from the other side of the river. As we got close the harbour master called and said we were to go on pontoon C and that the customs men were already there waiting for us! We abandoned the plan of waving at the girls and feeling that we were about to undergo some scrutiny we made for the pontoon.
To be perfectly honest and I know I shouldn’t say this but I had read somewhere that dogs needed to be checked in via Cork and we were some considerable distance East of Cork so I was contemplating forgetting to tell anyone about Max. He has a passport and is totally up to date with his vaccinations and hasn’t been anywhere near a rabies country but I feared that bureaucracy would dictate us having to get him in a quarantine van to Cork or something like that. As it turned out this dubious train of thought was taken care of for me when it became clear that the customs guys needed to come onboard to check us out and on opening the door, there was the little scrotum sitting there right in front of them. Fortunately they didn’t bat an eyelid and once they were aware that we had not been to a country associated with rabies, they looked at his passport and he was clear to defecate on Irish soil. Now it was Sarah’s turn but they took it easy on her, the knee pads were not required and they cleared her in too…
So, we were in! I took the yellow flag down and hoisted the Irish flag. This really made us feel like we had arrived. We certainly had, we were moored up right along the front of Waterford City. Last time Sarah and I were here we were visiting Amy and Maria and I remembered saying to Amy ’Next time I am here, hopefully Fiesta will be too’. And now it was so!
I don’t know why but I always tend to hide my excitement about pretty much everything but Sarah is not afflicted with this condition, quite the contrary and I had already had to persuade her to turn her iPhone off and stop playing diddly diddly music on the way up river and now she was excitedly talking about having a Guinness! Good girl, I could get behind that and soon Amy and Maria had driven over to pick us up and off we went to Dunmore East to an awesome pub overlooking the entrance that we had come in to the day before. Guinness and lunch in the Irish sunshine at a beautiful pub. Max was happy to stretch his legs and have things to wee on and the only thing he was nonplussed about was having to meet Amy & Maria’s new puppy Lilly. Max really is a miserable shite sometimes and he never got bored of growling at her whenever she dared to come within a 5 meter radius!
Lunch turned into dinner back at Amy & Maria’s house and we gave up somewhere around 2 am I think. What a great birthday.
What happened next felt very odd! I went to bed for the first time in over 60 nights in a bed that wasn’t afloat! The bed didn’t feel odd but being away from Fiesta did. Fortunately Fiesta was in view from the house so I was at least able to check on her from a distance!
The next day we went on a little tour stopping at several places including Tramore which has a beautiful beach and is perfect for surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing and then we went to look at a waterfall. After full day we went back to the girls’ house and Maria cooked an awesome roast dinner. She is a first class cook and I have benefitted from her culinary skills quite a few times. One of the most memorable was when I visited them when they were living in Bangkok and after a few late nights back at home and a long journey to Bangkok, Maria had a full Irish breakfast ready and waiting for me when I arrived. She’s a cracker!
We loved looking around this part of Ireland but unfortunately the end of Sarah’s holiday was looming. On Sunday we went back to Fiesta for a cosy last night onboard and I have to say, it was great to be back in my happy place!
The next day Sarah and I went out for breakfast and then at midday Sarah had to board the coach bound for Cork. Her ten day holiday had shot past but remembering a blog I wrote a few blog posts back I had said that a fair few stars needed to align to make the trip to the Isles of Scilly, the Isles of Scilly themselves and then the trip to Ireland sync with Sarah’s previously booked flight out of Cork. Sometimes you need a bit of luck and we had had our fair share.
It was a fantastic ten days and I waited faithfully in the rain as Sarah sorted her ticket out with the driver. It took quite some time and Sarah and I raised our eyebrows at each other at the Irish inefficiency being demonstrated so ably as a massive queue of passengers waited outside the bus in the rain while this song and dance happened with each passenger. Still, I waited faithfully in the rain and waited and waited some more for the inevitable emotional wave off. With me now soaked it was finally done and the driver gave Sarah the nod. I raised my arm to wave but Sarah simply turned on her heel and walked straight toward the back of the bus without even glancing at me all forlorn in the rain!!!! Ok, bye then!
Actually I love this about Sarah. For every girlie gesture she misses such as (and I’m not bitter) our first valentines day, no Easter egg and the best one, no Christmas present – I have another ‘I f*cked up token’ stored in my back pocket to use at my discretion. Some might say that Sarah being so supportive of me doing this trip should in fact ensure that my back pocket is empty of such indiscretion tokens but this isn’t so. I’m doing this trip for us!
For the first time since being in Chichester Harbour I am somewhere that I have stayed for more than a few nights. I have now been in Waterford for just over a week. I have roughly 60 places that I want to visit and that means keeping moving or miss some out. However, since arriving here I have just wanted stay a while and take the place in. Plus its been blowing its cock off so being tied up to the pontoon has been lovely, safe and secure.
Since being here I have managed to fully embrace my midlife crisis and have had two kitesurfing lessons. I’ve been faithful to windsurfing for years arguing that kite surfing is kite flying and not sailing. Now I feel stupid about that because what little boy didn’t like flying a kite? I know I loved it and this little prick also loves to be on the water so I should have put the two together a long time ago! However, better late than never and I think I’m already hooked!
Along with catching up with Amy and Maria most days I have also got to know my neighbour on the pontoon. The guy behind me is 70 and he started sailing at the age of 62 and promptly set off with his wife returning 6 years later having circumnavigated the world! Just when you think you are untying the lines, someone else shows you how it’s really done! He is now preparing his boat to sail off again at the end of the year bound for South America. His boat is called Saol Elle which apparently means ‘Another life’. I like that.
He’s got a sh*t load of work to do on his lovely big boat and when I asked if he would be ready in time, ‘Oh to be sure, to be sure’ came the reply. This was one of those embarrassing situations where you uncontrollably crack up and can’t stop because it just reminded me of what Paddy said when the prostitute asked him why he was wearing two condoms ‘To be sure, to be sure’.
I do like the Irish….
Next stop Wales! I aim to leave here tomorrow and head back across to the mainland. It’s 80 miles so that means an early start to make sure I get there in daylight. So far it looks like it will be a force 4 or so from the west, southwest. Spot f*cking bollock – that would be great.
New video in the ‘other bits’ section
Visiting the waterfall
Visiting a haunted house (apparently)
The seed is sown
In and around Waterford
My neighbour, to be sure.