Chapel Island


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We anchored for three nights off Chapel Island just inside Strangford Lough, NI in wonderfully calm and sunny conditions. While there, we made a tender tour of the southern end of the lough and checked out the current in the entry channel at full flood. We also took a closer look at several of the castles we’d seen as we entered in Dirona, and passed by the extensive grounds of 16th-century Castle Ward, used as the filming location for the castle Winterfell in the HBO series Game of Thrones. And the Easter Bunny braved the current and found us there, setting up a bountiful annual Dirona Easter Egg hunt.

Below are highlights from April 3rd and 4th, 2021. 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 mvdirona.com/maps.

4/3/2021
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Dawn
The view northwest over Chapel Island to Killyleagh at dawn from our anchorage in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland.
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Fog
Fog and seasmoke in Strangford Lough.
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First Smell
Spitfire out on deck getting his “first smell” of Northern Ireland. He’s rarely wanted outside for months, but seems to really like Northern Ireland.
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Dirona
Dirona moored off Chapel Island on another calm and clear day in Strangford Lough.
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Strangford 2
The ferry Strangford 2 moored at Portaferry. The vessel makes frequent crossings to Strangford on the other side of the entrance channel. Because of the strong currents, the ferry looks a little unusual when it crosses on a diagonal to its direction of travel.
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St Patricks Hall
St Patricks Hall is a Victorian church converted into apartments.
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Current
The currents run up to 8 knots in the entrance to Strangford Lough, generating large whirlpools and upwellings.
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Angus Rock Lighthouse
The Angus Rock Lighthouse that we passed yesterday entering Strangford Lough, this time viewed from the west side in the tender.
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Paddling
The water and air temperature both are about 50°F (10°C). That doesn’t scream beach weather to us, but hey, it wasn’t frozen :-).
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Seals
Strangford Lough is home to dozens and dozens of seals. We see them everywhere.
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Celtic Nations
Sailboat off Strangford flying a flag encompassing the flags of the six territories that make up the Celtic Nations, clockwise from upper right: Ireland, Brittany, Isle of Man, Wales, Scotland and Cornwall.
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Old Court
View to the lookout tower at Old Court, 17th-century estate.
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Castle Ward
A portion of the extensive grounds of 16th-century Castle Ward in Strangford Lough, used as the filming location for the castle Winterfell in Game of Thrones.
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Boathouse
Boathouse on the Castle Ward grounds.
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Audley’s Castle
Another view to Audley’s Castle, on the Castle Ward grounds, that we passed as we first entered Strangford Lough.
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Minesto Test Station
Minesto ocean energy test site in the entrance to Strangford Lough. The company uses what is effectively an underwater airplane tethered to the bottom that “flies” amd moves in the current, generating energy through the spinning of its propeller (turbine).
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Buoy
Data gathering buoy, likely related to the Minesto Test Station, in Audley’s Roads near Audley’s Castle.
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Pontoons
An unusual pair of pontoons installed in Audley’s Roads.
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Wall
The wall along the road above Strangford Lough appears centuries old with many generations and styles of construction visible. The vertical slate section at right is common throughout the area.
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Strangford Stone
The Strangford Stone, standing over 10m high, was erected to celebrate the millenium.
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Quoile Yacht Club
The Quoile Yacht Club is one of several clubs and marinas in Strangford Lough, all with many boats ashore. It looks like it would be a a busy boating area in the summer.
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Mooring Field
Several area in Strangford Lough are packed with moorings. This time of year there’s almost no boats underway in the area, but it’s a very busy place in the summer.
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Quoile Barrier
The Quoile Barrier along the river Quoile was constructed in 1957 to prevent flooding of the Downpatrick area.
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Town Rock
The old navigation aid Town Rock was built in the 19th century to guide vessels into the village of Killyleagh.
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Killyleagh
Pastel-colored buildings alongshore in the village of Killyleagh.
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Swimmers
A group of kids out enjoying the balmy 50°F (10°C) air and water in Killyleagh. Brrrr!
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Killyleagh Castle
Killyleagh Castle is believed to be the oldest inhabited castle in the world with sections dating to the 12th century.
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Aerial Shot
Blog readers Phil and Lisa Sloan sent us this picture of Dirona anchored off Chapel Island in Strangford Lough, NI. They were flying overhead in an Aeroprakt AP32, a small two-seater powered by a 100 bhp Rotax engine. The plane is an impressive package. It is amazingly light at 705 lb (320 kg), with a maximum takeoff weight of 1,323 lb (600 kg). At a cruise speed of 115kn and carrying 25 gallons (95 l) of fuel, it has an endurance of 4.5 hours. We need one!
4/4/2021
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Happy Easter!
The Easter Bunny found is in Northern Ireland this year. Our Bell Equipment model mining truck normally carries real iron-ore pellets from the LKAB mine in Kiruna, Sweden. This morning it carries a payload of Aero peppermint chocolate Easter eggs.
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Easter Haul
James with his haul from the annual Dirona Easter egg hunt.
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Fog
A foggy morning on Strangford Lough.
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Laundry
After eleven years, we still marvel at having a laundry machine on board, possibly after so much use of the handwringer on our previous boat. Not having on-board laundry would be a real hassle traveling the way we do, particularly during the pandemic when so many shoreside facilities are closed.
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Tender Cover
Replacing some of the worn bungee in our tender cover. We also added a new bungee at the aft end to secure it better.
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 mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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