I actually think I understand what Christopher Columbus felt the first time he spotted America. Ok. Well that is a slight exaggeration but crossing the Irish Sea made me feel on the same level somewhat.
Ocean crossings have been the toughest part of this trip for me. No sight of land. Constant sailing as you’re unable to anchor, which means shifts through the night to make sure you don’t crash into a ship. Considering I left my glasses at home, my watch was slightly unnerving. Especially considering I’m scared of the water, things are splashing around, it’s cold and raining, and I can’t actually see what direction the monster ferry is going (these ferries take 7 1/2 miles to stop after that press the emergency stop button just to give you some scale on their enormity). On top of that, I seem to have no in-built compass. Maybe that’s because I’m a girl. But when I’m heading north and the tide is pulling me south and I can’t tell whether I’m going round in circles, the whole process can get quite irritating.
We experienced days at sea with no sleep, huge waves, dreaded hair, torrential rain and steaming ships while dolphins jumped around us, phosphorescence glowed in the night and all the while, I could have been paddling in circles. Once we were 18 miles from Irish land, we decided to try and motor to shore for some sleep and food. Jez settled in for a eight hour sail and the Irish Sea decided to show us what she was made of. The wind picked up. The boat was flying. And all the stuff in it. As were we. The kayak capsized off the back and stared sinking. ‘Friday While’ started flooding. Water was filling up from the bottom of the boat. The wind tore the sail slightly. The table fell off. The bit of wood that holds the mast snapped (Jez will love my technical chat). So by the time we reached Ireland we were tired, wet and covered in bruises.
But we made it.
I had been planning a trip to Ireland in November this year. I was going to fly to Dublin. Eat and drink my way round the city. Fly home. And say I had been to Ireland. Instead I kayaked here with one crazy eyed skipper at the helm, one bearded PR guru and one ginger weirdo. And we were about to kayak up the whole coast. Hello Ireland.