Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Boat uncovered

First trip on Winter Solstice, up the lake from Mountshannon on a summery evening. Joe had been replacing filters on the engines, but had only done the port side when I cycled down to see how he was getting on.
'We could take her out tonight anyway,' he said. 'While the weather's good.'
Not the first time we've travelled on one engine.We were pulling out, nice and steady, all the canvas covers off except for the one on the coachhouse roof, which was flapping alarmingly.
'The cover's flapping alarmingly,' I said to Joe.
'It'll be OK! Don't worry!'
I put the throttles forward and picked up a bit of speed, the wind got under the front of the canvas and lifted it high, peeling it back towards me.
'Joe! The cover's coming off!'
He was on the deck and rushing forward. The boat slowed, the engine ticking over gently while he grappled with the unwieldy cloth. Thank goodness it wasn't windy. Finally we were secure again and set off, rounding Cribby Island where the white-tailed eagles nested last year. The cover gave an experimental flutter, teasing me, then settled down, behaving itself until we turned into Dromaan Harbour forty-five minutes later. 

There she is, tucked into the far corner. 

We put her there, nose in, because of the one engine business. It's always the last bit that's tricky with one engine out of action, trying to get the boat to turn against itself, port engine pushing to the right, wheel hard over to the left to counteract it. There were two sailors having a barbecue who came to catch the ropes, their faces giving away their thoughts - 'look at these incompetents coming in. Woman at the wheel, what d'you expect.'
'We've one engine out!' I cried. 'It's tricky!'

It was here we removed the cover from the coachhouse roof a couple of days later, before the rains came back. 

She doesn't look too bad in the photo, but close up you see the varnish peeling and the paint looking scruffy. At least one side of the deck looks good.

We moved Winter Solstice to her new berth on Thursday last week, just up the lake from Dromaan. Here she is in Holland's newly done-up harbour.

And again.

Lovely part  of the lake. Halfway up with a choice of destinations. We popped over to Domineer to the Whiskey Still for dinner that night. We'll be doing that again.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The car park is back in Mountshannon

Finally the waters subsided and we were able to get to the boat again. She was fine - floating pontoons are excellent things.

There's sand on the pathways, rippled as though on a beach from the waves that were battering Mountshannon over the last few weeks. A tide mark of reeds marks the high water mark. And there's something missing. Spot the difference:

The sculpture has gone from the end of the little pier, knocked by wind and water power. There's just a couple of blocks and buckled tarmac. We've seen all the pictures of terrible damage on the coast, but hard to believe that can happen on a lake.

We finally have the pathway back, but the beach area is still under water.

The water level came above the bottom of the barriers only last week. The Freeman just beyond the barrier is over the harbour wall.

Still a bit wet, but the harbour wall is back.

The Freeman is back in the water - it's behind these two sailing boats whose deep keels kept them off the wall.

I'm almost able to imagine boating again now with these blue skies and still waters.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Not quite as bad as 2009, but very close. Floods.

Mountshannon Harbour disappearing.

Waders only if you want to get to your boat. Waterways Ireland arrived soon after with a barrier and keep out notice to stop you going onto the harbour wall.

There used to be a path to the right of this tree.

And there used to be a harbour wall this boat was (still is) tied to. And a harbour wall beyond in the distance.

The car park filling up.

Walkway become swimway.

Scarriff Harbour at the weekend. The floods here come from the Scarriff River (the other side of the embankment to the left) and not the Shannon.

Here's the harbour with the levels down a little, but the jetties are still under water.

Mountshannon Harbour is still flooded, but you can get to your boat with wellies not waders.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Storm Desmond

Yesterday in Mountshannon Harbour in the middle of Storm Desmond. The lake is waterfalling into the harbour.


Sunday and the water is rising. 

Pathways disappearing

Harbour wall going under

Slipway submerged

The wall of the small harbour has gone - you can just see the bollards on the left

And Winter Solstice finally has her full winter covers on. We took the opportunity before the next lot of high wind hits. Meanwhile other boat owners were moving off the wall and onto the floating jetties.

The calm before the next storm

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Storm Barney

This is Joe fixing the temporary forehatch cover on Winter Solstice. The blue sky is deceptive - the wind was still howling. Ten minutes earlier the sky was black and a squall rocked the harbour. When we came to the boat yesterday we weren't the only ones there. Two or three boats had people in them, sitting it out in case of further damage. Winter Solstice was fine, but the cover we had over the forecabin to keep the rain out was hanging off, the boarding plank off the coach house roof was gone, along with the inflatable kayak (cheapo from Aldi), and - the only really regrettable loss - the forehatch cover had blown off.

Another boat owner had the story - things had been going on before we got there. The plank had been salvaged from the water and was lying on the harbour wall and the kayak was in the back of Sean Glennan's boat having been hooked from the water. But there was no sign of the forehatch cover. We made a temporary job of it in the dark and wind. Joe went down first thing this morning to take measurements (the joy of living so close to the boat) and made a temporary cover from plywood. We wrapped it in polythene and he screwed it in place. Taking no chances here.

Another benign looking photo of the harbour, but you can see the trees are bending. Nothing like yesterday. That was an extraordinary wind.

There's a boat leaning at an odd angle on the far jetty in this one, and windows were out on other vessels.


Joe just had a phone call from Dick Cleary, the man who'd picked out the kayak yesterday. He spends a lot of his spare time when not painting and decorating down at the harbour on his boat. He has the forehatch cover and its cover. They were floating at the back of his boat. Wonder where they'd been all night and day. They were nowhere to be seen when we were looking.

Joe's gone off to retrieve them. Lucky day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Water stealing and clearing the decks

We kept passing these bouys with yellow crosses on top on the way down Lough Derg from Portumna:

Hopeless quality, I know, but I didn't have a proper camera (phone only), we were rocking about a fair bit and I was supposed to be driving. What on earth are they? we said, puzzled. Some kind of hazard, obviously. A quick check of Waterways Ireland's Marine Notices informed me they were monitoring buoys, but gave nothing away about what they were monitoring. Had I been paying proper attention to the Summer edition of the Inland Waterways News Magazine I would have known all about it. A company acting for Irish Water put them there. What's being monitored is the status of Lough Derg in relation to water abstraction - Irish Water plan to filch water from the lake in order to help quench the very heavy thirst of Dubliners, but they can't just go ahead and do it - they have to put in a water abstraction application. 

The lake was as beautiful as ever as we motored south towards home.

Back in Mountshannon Harbour again and Joe was immediately busy blow torching the decks. A very tedious job, but less tedious than using just a paint scraper. There was a huge mass of algae in the corner of the harbour where we put Winter Solstice - you can see it in the photo.

You can also see what the weather was like - Joe was relying on the high pressure forecast to get the job finished.

So he kept going well into the evening:

If you look really closely you can see Winter Solstice on the right hand harbour wall. I'd gone down on the bike with cake.

Next day and this part of the job was nearly done.

As night began to fall ...

... he was onto the last bit. Here we go:

And so we reach the end of another beautiful day:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Banagher to Portumna

We were both on board with the small dog as far as Meelick Lock. It's an easy cycle back to Banagher for the boat, along quiet and narrow lanes. After that it was Joe on Winter Solstice and Aoife and me in the car. I decided to follow my nose to Portumna instead of going back through Banagher, turning right as I came onto the main(ish) road from Meelick Lock instead of left. I've been caught out like this before. Roads that seem to be going in the correct direction sneakily turn without you noticing until you're miles out of your way.

I thought that had happened to me here when I came out on a proper main road, not too far from Birr. But then I always forget how close we are to Birr on this part of the river. I pulled into a small road, took out my phone. A car came up behind me, then alongside, so I rolled down the window.

'Go that way, then turn right. About ten miles.' Excellent. I did as advised. Two minutes later I knew exactly where I was. I'd found a short cut. I was annoyed I'd stopped and had to ask. Much more satisfying to have come upon it as though I knew where I was going.

I waited for Joe at Connacht Harbour. Lots of sniff time for Aoife.

Here he is coming in:

Nearly home.