Bettystown to Skerries…. Pete, John, Stephen
So time to up the distance again to around 20km or maybe a little under. Pete's red van was back in action and after defrosting his windscreen inside and out he met us on the South Strand to load up the gear. The journey up was a good chance to chat about our planning and when the time is right to start publicising our adventure. While it's not a secret we want to avoid someone hijacking our idea but we decided that the most important thing was the four of us doing it and if someone beats us to it that doesn't lessen our achievement. Just before we arrived on Bettystown beach we called the coastguard to let them know of our plans and they seemed grateful for our call. It might have been a coincidence but we reckon they used us as a training exercise as the helicopter arrived about 45 mins into the paddle and circled us a few times. The first leg was a nice paddle bringing us just short of the Cardy rocks in just over an hour. We took a quick snack break with the highlight being John's Caca Milis. We set off then towards Balbriggan with a plan to cut straight to Skerries after passing the rocks. However the increasing South westerly winds had other ideas as they picked up to 12-15 knots. As we approached Balbriggan we had to aim towards the harbour just to stop ourselves getting pushed offshore which meant constant hard paddling on the left side. We headed for the shelter of the cliffs just South of Balbriggan and agreed the safest option was to head back to Balbriggan harbour. Maybe we would have been OK but we had been paddling for over two hours with a relentless second half and we were all tired from it. I think we were all relieved and happy we made the right decision despite feeling an element of defeat but safety first. I put in a call to the Mrs and she dropped myself and Pete back up to Bettystown to get the van while John watched the boards. Like all our paddles we learned a lot and I think this was another reminder for us of how much work we have to do to get fitter and improve our paddling. While Killian couldn't join us he did a 10km around the islands which must have been tough going in those conditions.