Passage Planning is a process. A process that, until this morning, I really didn’t appreciate. I knew I had to get tide times and heights, sunrise and set, moonrise and set (it helps that, at the moment, the moon is ‘on’ during daylight hours, competing with the Sun – and failing – to gather our attention), weather conditions and anticipated changes in weather conditions as well as tidal streams and their directions. And then, through an iterative process, formulate all these aspects into the plan. That iterative process is, indeed, a dark art. Still, I believe I have arrived at a Plan A for Sunday’s expedition to the Isle of Man and will test it out with the Skipper, Duncs, in the morning.
Meanwhile, pleasant though it is to be onshore in such fine weather, I am anxious to get out on the water and learn some new skills and techniques together with cementing old skills and techniques. Boredom or, rather, impatience will soon set in so I might have to alleviate that by going Out Out again. However my wallet, liver and conscience will scream their objection. Rightly so. An evening in beckons, watching Sky Go (Yes, I can get that here. A bit grainy but it’s there nonetheless).
I spent a couple of hours walking around town looking for lunch. There are many fresh fish sellers here, as you would expect in a working port, and they have a broad range of fish and shellfish, including those famous Dublin Bay Prawns. Now, I have had eaten some of the finest shellfish when on my business travels around the world but I still have this ‘thing’ for Whelks. Yes, the humble, inexpensive and low socio-economically labelled Whelk. Delicious with granary bread, malt vinegar and white pepper. In my opinion, lobster thermidor comes a distant second to that.
Well, anyway, I have tried to find them in these myriad of mongers (Aside: is that the collective noun for them? Moyna please correct me here) with little success amid the many turned-up noses. However, today I struck the proverbial mother load and found a monger selling Whelks the size of my fist. And at just a few Euro’s per kilo. “Lovely”, I said, “I’ll have 6”, which looked about right for lunch. Well, Mr Monger bagged them up and I took them back to the RBE boat to eat. Opened the bag and looked for a plate to empty them onto, turned back to see them crawling out! It simply did not cross my mind that they would still be alive. No mention of them in the song, Molly Malone, where its only cockles and mussels. Not a hint of a whelk being “..alive, alive, O”. But they were. Oh dear. Lunch delayed.
Whilst searching for my Whelks I also managed to video a large seal within the harbour walls dining out on the very best Cod fish head. Bobbing vertically in the water whilst chewing on his lunch he (or she, as it was impossible to tell) seemed quite content and at peace with the world. Bless.
The marina has been very busy today as its hosting the Irish Sailing Association’s National Youth Championships. Hundreds of young sailors, already experts in their age group and discipline, competing for national honours. So very, very good to see.
Staying In, In tonight.
Day 20 25th April