Windy in Skerries, Part II

Check this photo, from Mia's blog.

At two o’clock, cabin fever got the best of us and we ventured ashore. I had on my running clothing – and old pair of Mia’s brother Erik’s board shorts, tight, white long underwear and my five-finger shoes (their brown leather, and in Kinsale someone joked that I ought to wash my feet). Mia was similarly attired. She had a backpack with her, and I the black Pelican case that we transport our computers in when we’re on the boat. The plan was to sit in the pub for a while, do some work (I had an article to send in), and then go for a long exploratory run before returning to the boat later in the evening.

We set out along the beach that fronts the sea. The community had built a beautiful paved footpath behind the sand. Several benches were set in the grass every few hundred meters, and there were recycling bins by each one. The path ended when the beach turned into a cliff, and we continued along the road. Neither of us had ventured this far yet, though Mia had run along the beach path two days before.  Our goal was to run for a while along this road, then head west, towards the setting sun, and loop back around to the harbor, exploring through the town as we did so.

Ever since Crookhaven, each place we’ve visited shoreside has been overgrown with blackberries. Mia finds them irresistible. Mia and I run side-by-side, her a half-step in front of me because she hates when I run faster than her. We chatted along the road out of Skerries, and soon became aware that there were no turnoffs to our right, the direction we wanted to go. I mentioned something about this to Mia, but she was gone. I stopped and turned around to find her stooped by the sidewalk eating berries. This is a common occurrence. By the end of the run her tongue was black.

I found a dirt path the headed inland into some farmland, and we took it. After several hundred meters we came to a field of rye, about waist high, with two narrow paths cut in it, apparently made by tractor tires. We followed one of these paths, and it felt like running in a cloud. I couldn't see my feet, and the rye was fluffy and flowing in the wind. The field ended near a large building of blue and white corrugated tin, with several farm vehicles parked around the dirt on the property. In an adjacent field a large green John Deere tractor was doing some sort of farm work. On the other side of the building, a dirt driveway led past the farmhouse and to a proper paved road, which we followed for several miles in the wrong direction, before it intersected a road which we thought would take us back into town. We were out for over an hour, though a large chunk of that time was spent stopped on the side of the road eating berries.

Back in the harbor, the wind was blowing as hard as ever. The two seals who apparently lived there were back, and bobbing in the chop just off the large fishing pier. It was rather obvious that there was no way we’d be able to row against the wind and sea back to the boat, despite the fact that it was only a few hundred feet away from the pier.

Along the wall, two fishing boats and their crews were making ready for sea. A younger man in yellow oilies was laying out a long fire-house on the dock, while an older man, also in yellow oilies and a blue sweater, was welding a broken piece on one of their traps. When it was complete, they tied it to the back of their van and dragged it along the concrete to the boat. We stopped to ask them if anybody could give us a ride in a real boat, while towing the little dink. They couldn’t, which was just as well, because I hated to bother them while they were working. The younger one directed us towards the sailing club, where a van was parked near the boat-ramp, with an empty trailor half-submerged in the water. It was a long walk around the bay. We tried to row.

Almost immediately we were blown backwards. The seal bobbed his head up again as I admitted defeat, and we maneuvered back into the lee of the large red fishing boat we’d been tied up near. An older man out walking his golden retriever helped us take the painter ashore. I petted his dog. Mia and I made the long walk round the harbor and found a man sitting in the driver’s seat of the van. He made a quick call, and two of his friends out surveying the moorings in the gale came to our aid in their large inflatable, towing mini-Sojourner behind. We would not have made it without their help.