Thursday, July 01, 2010


[Kyle]Carnlough was deserted as we squeezed out of the harbor at low tide in a brisk southwest wind. We motored along for 20 minutes or so just to get the engine warmed up, then shut it down and hoisted the sails. The minute we did this, the very minute, the wind completely died off to nothing and started swirling all over the place. No sooner did we get the sails trimmed and pulling than they were suddenly backed. We were going so slowly through the water that I couldn’t turn the boat fast enough to react to the wind changes. I was hoping, really hoping, that we were in some kind of a wind shadow caused by the nearby cliffs. We at least had a strong current pushing us to the south so, if all else failed, we would drift into some wind. It never happened. We had a five minute period where we were headed smartly in the right direction. I foolishly decided we were sorted for wind for the day and was just getting comfortable when it just stopped again. If we didn’t keep moving, the current would reverse and we’d never make it anywhere. I threw up my hands, we pulled down the sails and motored the rest of the way to Bangor.

We arrived just as it started to drizzle. We topped off at the fuel dock and by the time we made it to our assigned slip, it was pouring. We secured everything and went to pay the bill.

Bangor Marina is a nice facility but, as seems to be the case in a lot of places these days, they seem to have decided that boaters are all stinking rich and won’t even notice paying exorbitant rates. In addition to the standard slip fee, which includes the use of up to three cleats, everything else is extra and includes its own ridiculously disproportionate markup, Hilton style. We’re not in the middle of New York or London. This is Belfast.

We returned dripping to the boat in a foul mood. We had no power, no internet, no nuttin’ and we were in stinkin’ Bangor in the pouring rain. Well, Bangor is actually pretty nice. Maryanne says it reminds her a lot of Brighton, rhymes with Brighten. Well, I suppose most places look pretty gloomy in a pouring rain. I do remember liking it very much last August, particularly the waterfront gardens and the nice walking trails. We dove back into the boat for a much needed nap, hoping it would clear up later.

We emerged a couple hours later to gray skies but at least no more rain and went out to have a little explore and to get some nice take-out. Along the way, we discovered that one of the local Pubs – Woolsey’s – was having a quiz night.

Maryanne has been wanting to get out to a quiz night for quite some time, but it has always been on a day we weren’t going to be there. This time we were sure to go.

We didn’t do well. We weren’t last, but we think that’s because the last place team slunk out before the last round, allowing us to pass them in a blurring comeback. The game was rigged. Firstly, most of the other teams were comprised of tables of eight or ten people to our two. Second, the questions were heavily weighted to British sports, especially events of the last couple of weeks, when we’ve been places where we haven’t even been able to pick up a radio station. Lastly and most importantly, we were the only group that didn’t start pecking away at half a dozen i-phones the moment each question was asked, dirty cheaters. At least I was able to keep from embarrassing myself too much by getting the one American question: What is the Capital of Hawaii?, right.

Still, it was good fun all around. The value of the prizes given out was way more than the total collected to join in. I’m sure the bar made it up in drink sales, particularly the younger crowd, who were busy trying to impress each other by drinking fancy cocktails that were not on special.

We actually won a prize ourselves. At the end of round three, which I think was British teen heartthrobs or some such thing, we got selected as the worst team for the round, which entitled me to go up and get a prize out of a grab bag, most of which were things like light bulbs or a packet of sweets. It turns out we got the best one in the whole bag: a packet of half a dozen ice cube trays WITH a ten pound note tucked in the bag. Our whole evening ended up costing us £3.50.

Bangor Waterfront and Coastal Walk - from our last visit in August 2009

[Maryanne]Our last week or so has felt very strange as we retrace our steps and find ourselves visiting many areas we've already been. It feels so much less of an adventure some how. Bangor really is a nice place to be based for a while, as Kyle jets off to work for a week or so, but the cost has really surprised us; I was all ready to just go and anchor off somewhere and row in when necessary, but my lovely husband insisted on staying, coughing up the dough and letting me have an easy life of it while he was away.

The weather did clear up in the couple of days before Kyle had to head off to work, and we managed a couple of nice coastal walks. There is laundry, showers and a supermarket close to hand, and I'm hoping for a balance with some tourist stuff to keep me occupied while Kyle is away too. It is nice to be able to step off the boat right on the dock. :-)

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