Belfast Arrival

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The Harland and Wolff twin shipbuilding gantry cranes dominate the Belfast skyline and are a notable landmarks on entering Belfast Harbour. Harland and Wolff are a shipbuilding and offshore construction company founded in Belfast in 1861 who built most of the ships for the White Star Line, including the Titanic and its sister ships Olympic and Britannic.

From the Isle of Gigha, we departed Scotland and made a 9-hour, 83nm run south past the Mull of Kintyre, through the North Channel and into the busy Victoria Channel towards Belfast. We passed the ferry terminals and commercial shipping port to moor at Belfast Harbour Marina right in downtown Belfast. The location was excellent, and it was great to be back in Ireland again.

Below are trip highlights from October 23rd, 2017. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

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North Channel

On our run south from the Isle of Gigha to Belfast, we’re starting to see a fair bit of commercial traffic as we near the North Channel. We’ll soon cross our July 13th track from Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland to Greenock, Scotland. That sure feels like a long time ago.
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Mull of Kintyre

We left the Isle of Gigha at 5am this morning to pass the Mull of Kintyre at slack water and ride the flood current south. The large white building partway up the hill at the left is the Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse.
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The maximum pitch over the past 5 minutes is 15.4°—the seas are picking up a bit as we run south with the current against about 20 knots of wind. Note: Our weather station had failed a couple days earlier and was reading erratically. We cycled the power and it ran will for nearly a day, but it failed again after we got underway this morning. Time to replace it).
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The winds and pitch have settled down and now we’re making good time with a 1-knot positive current.
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Belfast is a busy port. We’re starting to see a lot of vessel traffic as we near the harbour limit.
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Maiden Lighthouses

East Maiden (left) and West Maiden lighthouses on The Maidens just outside Belfast Harbour. The lighthouses, on two separate rocks, were completed in 1829. East Maiden still is operational, but West Maiden was discontinued in 1903.
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The dramatic Gobbins Cliff Path opened in 1902 and runs along the cliff base through tunnels, into caves, and across suspension bridges. We would have loved to make the walk, but it was closed for the season.
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Blackhead Lighthouse

The Blackhead Lighthouse was completed in 1902 to guide ships into Belfast Lough and the port of Belfast,
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Colorful houses in the seaside town of Whitehead just outside Belfast Harbour.
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Cloghan Point oil terminal extends 4020 ft (1,225m) into Belfast Lough and was built in the 1980s to offload oil to supply the Kilroot and Ballylumford power stations.
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Stena Superfast VIII

All vessels arriving entering Victoria Channel into the Port of Belfast must first get approval from the harbour master. And we could see why: the channel is rather narrow and is very busy. The Stena Superfast VIII, en route from Cairnryan just across the North Channel in Scotland, was one of two massive Stena ferries entering at the same time we were.
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Port of Belfast

Two more Stena ferries moored at the Port of Belfast, with the port’s container ship cranes visible between them.
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H & W Cranes

The Harland and Wolff twin shipbuilding gantry cranes, named Samson and Goliath, dominate the Belfast skyline. Harland and Wolff are a shipbuilding and offshore construction company founded in Belfast in 1861 who built most of the ships for the White Star Line, including the Titanic and its sister ships Olympic and Britannic. Goliath is 315 ft (96 m) tall and was completed in 1969. Samson was completed five years later in 1974 and stands 348ft (106m).
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HMS Caroline

The HMS Caroline, part of the Royal Navy National Museum, with the H & W gantry crane Goliath in the background.
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Titanic Studios

Paint Hall, once the main Harland and Wolff painting building, now is home to Titanic Studios where they film the HBO series Game of Thrones.
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Belfast Harbour Marina

Dirona moored at Belfast Harbour Marina. The H & W gantry crane Sampson is just visible in the distance at roughly the center of the picture. The unusual silver building at the left is Titanic Belfast, a museum devoted to the story of the Titanic and its construction in Belfast.
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Lagan Wier

Pedestrian bridge over Lagan Weir, built in 1994 to improve the water quality of the Lagan River. Steel barriers keep the river artificially high at low tide while dredging and an underwater aeration system have improved water quality sufficiently for spawning salmon to return, along with otters and seals. riverside development also has increased now that the waterway has a constant high water level, rather than smelly mudflats at low tide.
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We had an excellent lunch at McHugh’s Bar. The pub is in Belfast’s oldest building, dating from the 1711. It’s great to be back in Ireland again.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at


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