I’m in Oban, on the west coast of Scotland. My Atlantic crossing is complete, as is the sailing portion of my journey.
Actually, the crossing was completed on Monday afternoon (6/19) by making a brief landfall on the island of Inishmore, in western Ireland. Ireland was not on our original itinerary, but we enjoyed such a smooth passage coming north from the Azores that we found ourselves a couple days ahead of schedule, so we took the opportunity to add in a bonus landfall in Ireland. Landing in Ireland was a special and somewhat emotional treat for me, as our McMahan roots are traced to County Claire, which lays directly across the bay from where we landed. I stepped off the boat and declared that after having immigrating 175 year ago (to escape being hung by the Brits), the Texas McMahans had returned to our Irish homeland.
As mentioned, this passage up from the Azores was very pleasant and mostly uneventful. It was much less dramatic than the previous passage from Bermuda to the Azores, where we endured wind as strong as 44 knots and very rough seas with swells between 15 & 18 feet. We had expected even worse from the North Atlantic Ocean, which is known for unpredictably rough & rainy weather. But clearly Poseidon has smiled upon little Isbjorn, and has delivered us to a safe harbor.
We remained in Ireland for only a day and a night, enjoying hot showers and pub food, and a wee bit of Irish whiskey. We expected to stay one more night, but a sudden shift in the winds late in the afternoon had us pulling up anchor late evening and heading back to sea after dark on Tuesday night. Such is the sailing life.
I am now 7 weeks into this expedition, and exactly 25% of my way around the planet. Tomorrow I’ll tour the Oban Whiskey Distillery, sample and then buy some Oban Scotch, and prepare to head to Edinburgh, where I will chill out for a few days after living for almost 6 weeks on a sailboat.
In a day or two I’ll post some final thoughts about Sailor Mac’s big adventure, and wrap up this portion of my adventure before launching onto the mainland of Europe and the next phase of the journey.