Cork - 51° 48' 18" N 08° 18' 09"W

We left the Isles of Scilly in a glorious breeze and set a course towards Cork, Ireland about 110 nautical miles away.  We expected the passage to take us somewhere from 15-20 hours.  We enjoyed a magic sail, enough wind but not too much, relatively flat seas and sunshine.  Dolphins waved us off from the Scillies and welcomed us to Ireland as we crossed the dotted line on the chart! 

About 2am, the wind totally died out so we resorted to motoring.  It was very misty, the light sprinkle of moisture covering everything.  We didn't see land until we were about 3 nautical miles off.

Sooo, this is Ireland.

We saw three large pods of some sea creature - not whales or dolphins - the fins glided through the water like a shark but were not shark-shaped.  We were frustratingly close but not quite close enough to get a good photo (we only have iPhones and a GoPro without great zoom capability) or see the whole creature.  On chatting to the locals, we discovered that they are basking sharks and there have been an unusually large number around Cork harbour this year. 

We pulled into the Royal Cork Yacht Club with about a 2.5kn tide pushing us in! Checking in at the bar, we asked the barman about checking into Ireland*. "Oh, you'll be right, you're just here on a holiday" he replied. Sean, with his Irish passport, was fine, but I felt I needed something more substantial than "the barman said it was okay!" After a number of phone calls, it was determined that I needed to go to the airport and have my passport stamped. 

*We did a LOT of research on checking into Ireland and did not get a clear answer on what a non-EU passport holder should do.

Cork Airport, even though we came by boat.

We found the bus and had a bit of adventure getting to the airport and back.  I was told to ring immigration on our arrival and they would pop out and stamp my passport.  Unfortunately, about three planes landed at the time we arrived and we had a bit of a wait.  Eventually, my passport was whisked away and stamped.  no questions such as  'When did you arrive?', 'What is the name of your boat?', 'Where do you plan to go?'.  Simply 'Oh, you're be right, you're just here on a holiday'.  Stamp in passport - all checked in!

This is why Ireland is so green.

Here we are, we are in Ireland! And it is pouring. And pouring...  So we stayed snugged up at Royal Cork in Crosshaven and caught the bus into Cork to do some exploring.  Trotting around the district, we discovered the Butter Museum.  The butter trade was huge in Ireland in the 1700's and there was even a 'Butter Exchange'. Unfortunately, we came across this gem only an hour prior to closing so we decided to visit another day.

We popped into the cathedral of St Mary and St Anne, only to discover we were crashing Frankie's funeral.  Frankie must have been quite the lad as the cathedral was packed with mourners of all ages.  We listened to a couple of eulogies and discreetly departed.  We were subsequently advised that no-one would have blinked an eyelid at us crashing the funeral.  The Irish do death so well.  A funeral is a bit like an house auction in Melbourne - you check the papers, see what's on and head over for a bit of entertainment and a jolly good cry. There is even a website - - where you can check out who has checked out and what the arrangements are!

Frank is leaving in style.

Downtown is great.  We noted that there are many independent shops and services, including a large number of clothing alteration shops.  We also had fun browsing through the English Market, a collection of high quality food ingredient stalls (butchers, green grocers, cheese makers, honey/butter sellers, etc.).

... and vendor of Chinook's new heavy-duty sewing machine.

The English Market

On the streets of Cork.

We also noticed that Cork is a very international city.  There were many different ethnicities and languages being spoken in the street.  It had a very cosmopolitain vibe and displayed a high level of tolerance for new arrivals.  More than a few Russian/Ukrainian speakers - young families with small children.  Good on ya, Ireland.

On our return back to the marina, we managed to hop on the wrong bus.  We had to change busses about 5km from Crosshaven.  As we were standing at the bus stop, a cars came to a halt, blocked traffic for a few minutes then reversed back to us.  The old bloke at the wheel rolled down his window and said, "You two look like you are heading to the yacht club, hop in!"  And with that, we found ourselves safely delivered back to the yacht club!

Originally, our intention in coming to Cork was to go to the Cork City Marina,  right in the city about 7nm up the River Lee.  Instead, we had pulled into the Royal Cork Yacht Club as it was close to the entrance of the harbour and saved us a long motor when we were tired.

So, with clear weather and some rest, we set out.  We motored past Cobh with a massive cruise ship in port, past the military base, dodged the cross-river ferry at Glenbrook and wiggled our way along the winding channel.

The red line is the route

Cobh, capable of accommodating a large cruise ship.
This is less surprising than it originally appears, seeing as this was the last stop for the Titanic.

Blackrock Castle, successfully thwarted by Chinook!

We dodged rowing sculls, gig boats and kayakers and ships. It is remarkable the size of ships that make their way up, just shy of where we were tying up. The marina operates of an honour system, you scan the OR code, pay the money and receive the gate code.  You step off the boat and you are bam in the middle of Cork.  Fantastic!

Location, location, location (we are the blue dot).

Prime spot!  Right downtown.

Being downtown, we have easy access to explore.  We did a day of gathering provisions and on a different day (once we were sure the sun was going to be out), we explored Cork further.

Road signs in both official languages, luckily for us.

While in Cork, we posted on Facebook to say that we were here. A friend from Australia put us together with some of their friends that lived close by, in Ballycotton. They were able to stop by Chinook and a new friendship was formed.

They invited us to come off the boat for a night (A different bed!  Endless hot water for showers!) and visit Ballycotton.  We could not turn down an offer like this!

Going on a cliff walk with the lovely Helen.

Ballycotton Harbour from Beth (Helen's mom)'s house

The guest room - what a view!

Our accidental timing was once again, impeccable.  We had arrived just in time for the Ballymaloe Food Festival.  Would we like to go?  Yes, please!
Trinidadian Chicken cooking demo.  Got the recipe, too! 

local farmer's produce market

Food vendors.  Looks like dinner tonight is covered.

Our stay in Cork has been so much fun, we hardly want to move on, but the rest of the south coast is calling.  We can't pass that up!


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