Tramore to nr. Ballymacart Cove – 40k
Yesterday and today we experienced the full force of the Waterford sea kayaker’s hospitality. Mick and his family took us in and when it came out that it was my birthday a surprise was prepared while Mick took us into Waterford. At dinner time a birthday cake miraculously appeared and I was treated to two rounds of happy birthday in both English and Irish. A big thanks to Mick’s eldest daughter for baking the cake and getting candles to match my age (not single ones thankfully as there isn’t enough puff left in these ageing lungs to blow out that many).
Other paddlers dropped round to wish us well and share a few bottles: Brian and Dermot – both of whom had paddled with Mick round Ireland in 1990. Dermot also featured in Brian Wilson’s book Dances With Waves as the person who swam out to meet him as he paddled by on his solo paddle round Ireland. Mick himself of course has paddled twice round Ireland and holds the record for the fastest time – 23 days. Being around guys who have achieved so much and have a lifetime of paddling experiences definitely puts our challenge into perspective.
After breakfast and saying our goodbyes to Mick and family and members of the lifeboat crew we set off alongside Dermot and Fergus who were joining us for a few hours. It was a fine morning with sunshine and a very light breeze. Cags were discarded for the first time on the trip.
We paddled past the metal man statue situated on top of the middle of three pillars above the headland south of Tramore. The pillars were built as a series of one, two and three located on three headlands around Waterford to help ships locate Waterford harbour and avoid being wrecked in the shallow waters of Tramore bay.
Dermot and Fergus showed us the best caves along the spectacular coast west of Tramore before turning round and heading back at a pace more suited to empty kayaks. We headed on a bit before stopping at a small harbour to have a bite to eat and don our cags. The breeze had started to rise and we were going to leave the coast on a straight course to Helvick Head 15kms away. Trying to put cags on at sea is never a great idea.
After a couple of hours and still a good distance from the head we stopped to eat a few snacks. Just as we were about to set off again a fast moving plastic Knordkapp appeared. A local paddler, Craig Keyworth, had been watching our track and decided to paddle out to see us. He wasn’t well impressed that we’d decided to leave the coast and miss the local highlights of the Copper Coast. It is unfortunately the nature of the sort of trip we’re doing that we’ll miss out on so many of the best sites. I’m sure by the end we’ll each have a long list of places we want to revisit to explore more.
Craig left us to carry on. We rounded the point and carried on till a suitable campsite presented itself.