With the jobs completed on board we are ready to leave Carrickfergus, so we pop into the marina office to return the keys and say goodbye. The sweet girl in reception is shocked to hear that we are leaving Carrick to go to Bangor just on the other side of the Lough. "Why do you want to go there? It's much nicer hear" she says - well she is totally right: Bangor is not the most inspiring harbour nor is it an inspiring town.
We are however glad of the short first sail of the second half of our journey to check that all the ships instruments are functioning properly and ensure that the minor repair to our mainsail is to our liking. Well fortunately all systems are go!
Due to the strong wind forecast we postpone our departure to Ardglass and decide to give Belfast a second visit.
The trip this time into Belfast is a complete contrast to our previous trip, which was very much focussed on the Troubles and the strong divisions in the country. This time we visit the Botanical Gardens, the Ulster Museum and go on a guided tour of the City Hall, maybe we now have a more balanced view of the city, which we certainly recommend to be worth visiting (see our blog Northern Ireland for our first Belfast visit).
The next morning the weather gods are on our side and we depart Bangor for the 43 mile trip down to Ardglass. Leontine has her sea-sickness sticker in place and enjoys the upwind sailing in choppy seas. Roland, who normally is happy beating into the wind, is feeling far from happy and has trouble finding his sea-legs.
After about 7 hours we arrive safely in Ardglass and tie up in the marina. Ardglass is a pleasant little town which boasts a beautiful coastal golf-course and a decent restaurant.
We enjoy our stay in Ardglass very much and leave the following morning for our next leg: the Isle of Man. This is one of the destinations on our trip that we both want to visit whatever the effort required. In fact the effort is minimal and we leave Ardglass for a 32 mile trip east to Peel. Unfortunately the wind is very light and from the west so we motor-sail most of the way. During the passage we talk about all the beautiful creatures we saw on the first half of our trip and wonder whether the second half would also have its rewards.
In fact during this single passage we spot seals, guillemots, puffins, porpoises, minke whales and dolphins.
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