The evening of the 22nd looked promising, Sunday evening and the sun was out and the wind had died down to a breeze on the way to the boat. I brought out the mainsail hoping to mark reef points onto the sail but this was difficult with the midges attacking from the gorse bushes nearby. As the sun set I hoisted the sail to test it out, not a great success, so I dispensed with the lower baton and furled it around the boom, it set fine. I packed everything away as the wind came back and remained with me all night; I made food and prepared to sleep. I did not sleep much as the wind howled and rocked the boat. At 4am the tide came in and Sadaf began to scrape on the stony bottom, then she heeled drastically as her keels got stuck on the stones and the wind pushed her over, she skidded and slid away and came up again. When there was depth she danced around the mooring as the wind pushed her about. She would get a gust on her beam and she would heel over and come into the wind then would right herself. Often the gusts would blow her to her mooring chain’s length then she would jerk forward. I did not sleep at all, the rain pelted the cabin, we were tossed around, and the sounds of the jerking and heeling made it impossible to feel calm.
When the tide was out I ate, read then slept until about 1pm. I went for a walk and saw a mass of pink flowers along the saltings; I walked over the sands out to the low tide mark. The wind was shrieking across the shallow pools leaving dark streaks on the water, shaking my hands as I took the videos. The wind increased when I got to the tide, it was lifting the waves and throwing them over the surface as spray. In the distance the dry sand of Rockcliff Marshes was treated in the same way making it look like the Sahara in a dust storm. I turn and faced the wind and it nearly blew me over. The center of the channel was a mass of white tops and I noticed that the tide was advancing against the wind, tide was coming in and I was a long way from Sadaf. There was a channel between me and the boat. I walked fast but was hampered by the wind, I ran and could hardly make headway so strong was the gusts. I waded through the channel and headed for the boat, reaching it as the tide encroached.
On the boat there was a repeat as the morning, but with more wind strength and gusts that heel Sadaf drastically and pulled at her mooring chain with loud bangs. I changed into my wet suit and put on my life jacket, I also got ready 2 anchors incase she pulled from the mooring. After a while I got used to these conditions and read and cooked, amazing how you can get used to new situations. I videoed the sea but the wind’s strength actually flattened the waves and made it look quite flat on the video.
A brief shower brought with it a glorious rainbow over the estuary. The Shipping forecast for that day reads: Irish Sea, Gale warning issued 23 May 15:30 UTC. Storm force 10 veering westerly and decreasing gale force 8 imminent
• Wind Westerly or southwesterly 6 to gale 8, occasionally severe gale 9 at first, decreasing 5 or 6.
• Sea State Moderate or rough.
• Weather Showers.
• Visibility Good.