End September 2006 – Waterford to Milford Haven and Neyland
We had intended to sail straight from Cork to Milford Haven, but we found that the once outside the shelter of Cork harbour the seas were on the rough side of moderate and we didn't fancy 24 hours of that, especially as East Ferry (our base in Cork) was very sheltered and our sea legs had all but disappeared. So we opted for our alternative passage plan and sailed to Waterford with an overnight stop in Youghal. The entrance to Waterford was memorable for sailing into a fog bank in the entrance to the river. The wind died and we could barely see 50yds. We had to pick out the buoys using radar it was that bad. Thankfully it cleared part way up the river, so the large ships were clearly visible. We had timed our arrival at the start of the flood tide, and as it was one of the highest tides of the year the water doubled our speed in places. It was mid tide, so the fastest period of flow as we approached Waterford and the eddies were very strong making steering troublesome at times! We definitely avoided that for the return trip.
Poor weather enforced a stay of four days in Waterford, but there was plenty of entertainment. The crystal factory has a very slick, but most interesting tour showing the glass blowing, cutting and engraving. The whole set up was every effective of relieving American tourist of their cash, with many signs "not available in America" below the wares, free engraving and shipping for purchases over a €200 (they were spending like no tomorrow). We were pleased to see two trophies on display depicting our two loves for a lazy summer - sailing and cricket. There are always three trophies made - one for the event, one for a proof (kept at the factory) and a spare just in case!
The Waterford Heritage museum has won several awards, and rightly so. It had a very well laid out series of audio visual displays depicting the history of the town back to Viking times. The National Museum in Dublin (we went for a day trip on the train) is very different but equally good. There the national collection of gold is on display, most of which has been dug out of the peat bogs. Not just simple bracelets and necklaces, but huge waist-lets - massive helix of solid gold to go around the waist.
It has been very noticeable since Cork that the summer was passing and autumn on the way. The weather had been less predictable with longer periods in port with us awaiting suitable weather windows. All the signs of autumn were appearing, the leaves were starting to turn and this huge mushroom (shown with a 10p piece - was beside a path in the Pembroke hills). Our passage to Milford Haven was chosen carefully and as such was uneventful. We arrived in the early morning so there was thankfully little traffic around the oil terminals. We carried on up river to the very sheltered marina at Neyland, and here we staying for the winter. It is nice to be back in the UK - as she says "There's no place like home".
Both of us have found some contract work over the winter so the sailing kitty will be topped up for next year. We have a short but significant list of jobs for the winter, with replacing the heads as the top of the list. We just managed to nurse our Jabsco to the end of the season which consumed considerable amounts of Stikaflex on the cracks in the plastic pump. So a Lavac and holding tank are planned for next season. We have decided that the Kayak did not earn it's passage this year (we only used it three times) so we are contemplating some folding bicycles for next year - but we shall see.