It has become a tradition to sail and kayak the day after boxing day. This year it was no different and even more welcome to get socializing in the open air with our friends at a time when so many of our friends are going for PCRs and some testing positive. Our thoughts are with those whose health and livelihoods have been affected.
The forecast looked promising but the drive to the club was anything but, grey mist with the wipers clearing the rain from the windscreen. However, three miles from the club, and the sky was starting to clear. Arriving at the club we were welcomed by sunshine.
Seven Kayaks departed the slip shortly after 10.30 and headed north for Pawle Island. Three Lasers, a Topper and a Wayfarer were also at the top of the slip waiting to launch. The wind was filling in nicely from the east for the sail and the kayaks were not going to be too bothered by the light winds.
Low tide was an hour away so we had no problem paddling up the western shore of Taggart. It was calm and sheltered. This all changed as we emerged into the main lough at the north of Taggart. Whilst the winds were relatively light the easterlies had the full fetch of the lough from Portaferry and there was an interesting side on short sharp wave hitting our kayaks. Not a problem for those of us that had adjusted our foot rests so that feet and thighs were locked into the boat. For those without this luxury it was an uncomfortable ride as they “floated” around the inside of their kayaks with only their “bo**om,” in contact with the kayak.
A pladdy provided some rest bite from the waves but soon we were out again to the steep side on waves. However, it was not that long before we beached on the lee shore of Pawle, grabbed our bags and took our cold turkey sandwiches up to the shelter of the farm house wall.
The warm coffee and winter picnic were welcome.
As we sat munching at our sandwiches, we could see the sails of the dinghies south between the southern shore of Taggart and Dunnyneill. To the North we could see the sails on a cruiser on the other side of Islandmore, possibly Magdaline.
Sandwiches eaten it was time to head south again towards the club. The sun was still shining and low in the sky which made for a beautiful scene as we paddled into it.
Our 17-foot sea kayaks made easy work of the waves as we headed towards home. A smaller river kayak took a bit more work and skill to keep in going in a straight line through the waves.
Stephen and Catherine Dow kindly had arrived at the club with coffee and home-made mince pies which was very kind of them and much appreciated by all those that had been out kayaking and sailing and even a few who had been down to work on their boats. It was a great day meeting up in the open air with our friends. Those that came along all seemed to have a great day and enjoyed the weather in a very special place. Looking forward to my next trip out on Strangford. Happy New Year.
It might not be too long if I can brave the cold and join the sailors in the sailing series organized in January by Liam Kelly. Further Info on the club website soon.