Marhofn 106.06 - May 2004

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One man in three boats

Phil Cooper

All my new Marilyns in 2003 were on islands: Man, Ailsa Craig and Bardsey. The sail there and back to Man in March on the 'Ben-my-Chree' from Heysham was fine and comfortable, yet a passenger reminded me that only weeks earlier the boat had departed Douglas in marginal conditions for Heysham. Many people were sick, then nearing Heysham, whose harbour entrance is exposed to the south-westerlies, conditions worsened and prevented entry to the harbour. The captain had no choice but to turn the boat and return to the more sheltered Douglas harbour in the worsening storm.

Who would want to be out in the M.V. 'Glorious' going to Ailsa Craig in conditions only half as bad? Even on what seemed to be a pleasant day in May in Girvan, the wee boat was rolling too much for comfort out at sea, and we all took some sea-water splashings or soakings.

In contrast, we arrived in August at Porth Meudwy near Aberdaron ready to take the boat to Bardsey on a perfect summer Sunday morning. There was a glass-fibre twin-hull boat moored off-shore with a girl in a bikini sunning herself on the roof. This looked more like Monaco than Meudwy. When would the Bardsey ferry turn up? Eventually a R.I.B. (rigid inflatable boat) was despatched from 'The Highlander', and sure enough we were treated to a touch of Monaco for our £20; off we zoomed at about 25 knots, bow up and stern down. The girl in the bikini turned out to be the Welsh tour guide. I seemed to be the only non-Welsh speaker on the trip. As the presentation was exclusively in Welsh, I didn't take in much of the history of the island, but it is still very beautiful and atmospheric, with that special Celtic ambience.

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