circumnavigation by kayak

Starting point
We will start paddling from Dublin in clockwise direction.

June 30
Misha, Alon and Gadi launched from Dan Laoghaire, one of the Dublin ports. They started paddling late afternoon and paddled for 1.5 hour, just to get at some distance from the busy city. The sea was calm, light south wind. Tired after a sleepless night, they set a camp a few miles north to Bray. Good night guys. Sleep well!

July 1 (26 nm (47km))
Landed 3 miles north to Mizen Head (East coast).
The team paddled against S-SW 3-4bf wind in the morning that became 5bf in the afternoon. On the other hand, they took advantage of the tide. Alon's shoulder is aching strongly. He will be taking medicine during the nearest days, and hope he gets better.
Nevertheless, everybody is in a very good mood. The evening was spent reparing a petrol-stove and cooking a dinner on it. Saw the first seal today.

July 2 (30 nm (54km))
The weather is not bad at all. 3-4bf back winds. The team's paddlig schedule is build according to the currents table. They paddle during the hours when the current runs in favorable direction and take a break when the it switches the direction. Paddled today until 9 pm, the "switch" hour.
The landscape is beautiful. The spirits are high. Alon's shoulder feels better, so does its owner. Gadi and Alon are in charge of the kitchen today. They chose to cook spaghetti this evening. Misha would make the dishes.

July 3 (32 nm (58km))
In the beginning of the day the wind was NE5 bf, while the team was paddling south. The 45-degree angle made paddling quite exhausting. The team had a big break in the middle of the day, due to the current's direction. Finished paddling at 10 pm. Everyone feels pretty much tired. The good new is that Alon's shoulder is getting better! Tomorrow the wind will be calming down. Hope the guys won't need to work this hard.

July 4 (26 nm (47km))
Started paddling after 12pm, this time just because everybody got up late. The day was calm. The views become more and more beautiful every day. Today they enjoyed the rocky landscape of the coastline. Today the team was awarded for the hard paddling of the last days. They came accross a fisherman's boat and received a generous gift from the guys on the boat - fish for dinner.
Looks like everybody is getting into shape and getting used to the expedition paddling schedule. There was no yet internet access along their way, all of the above updates are based on phone calls.
July 5 (26 nm (47km))
Today was a beautiful day. In the early afternoon hours the sea was calm. The scenery was very special. The guys were entering rocky corridors and passing under natural arcs. Everybody enjoyed the paddle and the view. Around 4 pm the wind picked up and finally was around W4-5bf (head wind). So the later hours were less enjoyable.
Alon's back is now aching strongly. But all in all the guys feel good. Started looking for a place to eat - they landed next to Ardmore town. Bon appetit! Have a nice evening!

July 6 (11 nm (20km))
Strong winds today. 4bf head wind that was in the morning soon encreased to 5bf and finally 6bf. Therefore the guys decided to stop before the next headland - Knockadoon head, and see what the weather is going to be tomorrow.

July 7 (21 nm (38km))
After a quite exhausting paddling day, the team is in the bay of Cork, Crosshaven town. The day started with head wind 3bf. The guys quickly passed Ballycotton bay, when the wind switched to 4 and immediately after that to 5bf. In this conditions they passed the next bay and got rather tired. 5 miles were left to enter the bay of Cork,a good spot to stop and have rest for the next day, since the gale winds are supposed to cover the area tomorrow.
The last 5 miles the team paddled adainst 6-7bf head wind, which was more than exhausting at the end of a hard paddling day. Tired but happy they finally landed at Crosshaven town, at the entrance of the bay of Cork city.
Tomorrow is a day of rest, both due to the gale winds visiting the area and also because they needed a day of rest after 8 paddlign days. Hopefully tomorrow the team will have internet access, and we will have a live update from the field.

July 8 (a day off)
Today the team is in Cork, enjoying their day day-off. Following are the updates sent by the team members:
I cannot escape the comparison between Tasmania and Ireland and I like the relaxed tempo we are taking here.i hope it is not too relaxed. The first few days always put my body in a very painful position and then the muscles slowly grow and the pain is slowly leaving and that is when I start really to enjoy an expedition. I think I reached that phase here and the last two day, although were tough (due to the wind) were much better for me. I had fears from not being motivated enough but I guess that I like paddling to much and motivation grows in every paddle stroke. That's it for now.
The expedition intensity is gradually growing. We started in very friendly sea with sunny sky and each following day I feel that the wind is stronger and change direction from our backs to our faces. Yesterday we were forced to paddle one leg that started at 7:30 and finished at 15:00, most of it in 5-6 head winds and occasionally breaking waves. If someone would ask me a week ago if I can paddle 7.5 hours straight in such conditions I would hesitate with my answer. Above all we are moving with caution and prefer to make it smart and safely. I am very happy with it. Looking forward to the west coast while we still have the south coast to finish. I woulld like to thank all the people that following our progress. I consider all of you as a part of our expedition.
We're here near Cork waiting for the seas to calm down. Today SW winds are expected to reach force 8-9, making the seas too rough for us. Tomorrow evening depending on the weather conditions we will try to make some progress towards Kinsale head.
Up to now we haven't experienced any seas higher than 1.5 meters. We're still in relatively protected areas but in a few paddling days we will reach the exposed West coast well known for the big swell. The winds show pretty definite pattern: start increasing each 10 am, peaking at 2-3 pm, and calming down again at 7 pm. It doesn't look like a breeze since it varies in the direction. Anyway, the wind power in the afternoon is frequently a few beauforts higher than predicted. Ideally we would have to paddle early mornings and late evenings, however that would leave too few hours for the sleep at night. Unlike Tasmania we don't push that hard here. We decided to limit our paddling days to 10 hours. We don't need to prove anything to ourselves anymore, it's time to enjoy Ireland. Alon and me feel much more relaxed here, but I hope it won't affect our awareness to the seas.

July 9 (Mondial final game)
This day could hardly be called a paddling day. The wind was relatively calm in the morning but picked up, as predicted, to 6-7bf in early afternoon. The forecast was telling about SW5bf later in the afternoon. So it was decided to set off for a late afternoon paddle. They passed a few miles against 5bf headwind but couldn't help thinking of a Mondial game tonight. Finally the fleet surrendered. They landed in the next bay after the one they started from and rushed to watch the game.
Tomorrow the forecast still predicts head 5-6bf winds that make the team's progress quite a challenge.

July 10 (31 nm (56km))
A good progress was made today inspite of an unfavorable forecast. The forecast predicted head 4-5-6bf winds during the day. In the morning it was cloudy and the winds were W-SW2-3bf. Then gradually, with the sun coming out of the clouds, the wind picked up to 4 and finally to 5bf. So for the last 3 hours the guys paddled against 5bf wind. Tired after the last leg. Spirits are high!
The seas are going calm down the day after tomorrow, so hopefully the team will have a break from the head winds, at least for a couple of days.

July 11 (26 nm (47km))
Another good weather day. And again it was better than predicted by the forecast. It was mostly 3bf head wind, sedomly increasing to 4bf.
The team started paddling late today due to the problems they had with their gas stove that went out of order. Misha was fixing it for 1.5 hour, and finally the stove had no choice and came back to its cooking duties.
At the end of day the guys were hesitating whether to land at Baltimore or at one of the islands next to it. Finally they decided on Baltimore, which would probably be the last spot of civilization on the coast line for the nearest days.

July 12 (17 nm (31km))
Today the day started with a thick fog. The team could see for less than a mile. Thus they had a chance to try dead reckoning, navigating by compass only. They paddled a few miles from the shore but couldn't see the land. In the morning there was 3bf head wind that encreased to 4 and soon to 5bf in the afternoon. In addition to that, they occurred to paddle against the tide. So when the guys reached the bay next to Mizen head, thay decided to land, since the next leg after Mizen Head was supposed to be about 20 nm. There were amazing caves in the Mizen Head area, with picturesque rocks and long beautiful corridors. The evening was spent at a pub, as usual.

July 13 (28 nm (51km))
The team makes their way north along the West coast. Today they had a good calm weather. The sea swell was up to 4 meaters which reminded Alon ans Misha of Tasmania.
Today for the first time they saw puffins and were also escorted by dolfins, who were diving under their kayaks. The Dreenish island they landed on is amazingly beautiful: the rocks, sheep and locks of birds. In the evening though lots of midges are coming which makes the landing places less hospital.
The spirits are high. The only thing that saddens is the news coming from Israel.

July 14 (38 nm (69km))
Another big leg today. The team passed Dingle Bay.
It was a calm day but around 3 pm the wind picked up to 5bf. After 2 hours of paddling againdt 5bf, the team landed on an island on there way, to have some rest. Then suddenly the wind calmed down, and it was calm till the end of the day.
Tomorrow the team plans to reach Loop Head.

July 15 (33 nm (60km))
Today's paddle was hard - 12 hours on the water without getting out of the kayak. The reason - just lack of luck.
The team started paddling at 9:30 knowing that they are going to paddle against the tide. They basically had no choice because the tide was supposed to be with them at 3am and then at 3pm. None of those suited the team's plans. So they paddled for 6 hours against the tide but when the tide was supposed to switch at 3pm they realized that it actually didn't. What probably happened was that they entered another tide that wasn't registered on their maps, with a direction opposite to the first one, so they continued paddling against the tide, which made their day this long.
Today again the guys received LOTS OS FISH from a fisherman, Shawn Johnson. And yesterday they were visited by a very hospital family, William and Hilda Canner, who brought them milk, bread and beer. Amaizing people here!
The Loop Head appeared to be one of the most beautiful rocks in the world. The team passed through a natural corridor formed by a gigantic rock sticking out of the sea and the rocks of the land, with hundreds of birds all around them.

July 16 (12 nm (22km))
In Kilkee. There were 2 reasons for a short day today. First, the guys were tired after yesterday's paddle. Second, there was a parcel from MSR (Mountain Safety Research company) waiting for them in Kilkee, but since the post offices are closed on Sunday, they had to wait until tomorrow morning to receive the parcel.
A few words about this parcel. Due to the problems that the team was having with their gas stove the team contacted the stove's manufactor in Ireland to help them to fix the problem. The response was immediate and amaizing - the parcel from MSR waiting for them in Kilkee included a spare pump for the stove, repair kit and dry bags. Many thanks to Tina O`Flynn who organized the delivery in such an efficient way!

July 17 (29 nm (53km))
Today the team reached Aran islands. Lots of birds here. The day started with swells, for a change, but the sea calmed down afterwards. At the end of the day they paddled against the tide for a few hours. Tomorrow they will meet Inna who is going to take Gadi's place for the next 8 days. Also, tomorrow the team will be on half a way to their final point!

July 18 (15 nm (24km))
Short paddling day today. The team reached Carna village, the place they supposed to meet Inna. Very hot weather, probably Inna brought some south sun from Israel.

July 19 (25 nm (46km))
Today was first day paddling with sleepless Inna, which replaced Gadi in the third kayak. The visibility was pretty low - ~1.5 miles. Still the team made nice progress with help of 4bf back wind. Landing was pretty difficult due to high swells and a big number of underwater reefs.

July 20 (28 nm (52km))
Good progress, despite the heavy fog most of the way - 0.5mile visibility.

July 21 (26 nm (47km))
The team reached Belmullet town.

July 22 (14 nm (26km))
The day started at Belmullet at 8:30am with nice SE 3-4bf forecast. At Broad Have bay it became obvious that the day will not be as nice as predicted. The winds picked up to SE 5-6bf. At Benwee Head the wind picked up again to SE 6-7bf. The cliffs on the right side were beautiful but impossible to land. It was clear to the team that they have to go closer to the cliffs to get some protection from the wind and then to land as soon as possible. As they've got closer they were hit by 8-9bf wind strokes. Alon capsized by one of those strokes and successfully rolled back. The team eventually landed at Portacloy at 3pm.

July 23 (17 nm (31km))
Started at 9:00 today. The wind was stable SW 6bf with occasionally 7bf. Fortunately in many places the cliffs gave very good protection from the wind. The scenery was spectacular, with many arcs and caves. Inna, Misha, and Alon were able to paddle inside those structures. Landed at 4pm at Downpatrick Head. Depending on the weather conditions, the team may be able to cross the Donegal Bay tomorrow.

July 24 (34 nm (63km))
Donegal Bay is crossed.
Started early at 7:00. The wind was 4-5 bf at the beginning, weakened later. The direction of the wind was 45% in the back, not ideal, but not bad. Misha’s wrist started to soar after a couple of hours. The situation was stabilized with the help of a spoon, attached tightly to the wrist. This way he managed to finish the crossing. Tomorrow is the rest day.

July 26 (30 nm (55km))
Arrived to a beautiful village of Kincasslagh. Today the weather forecast spoke for SE3-5 that shouldn't be favorable for the team, however the sea was calm, no any disturbing wind, a little bit of refreshening rain. The team paddled against the current at the very end of the day but the current wasn't too strong. They finally arrived at one of the bays of Kincasslagh village and were welcomed by a local family at the beach. One of the sons, Darrah, kindly allowed the team members to use the hot shower. After having dinner on the beach, the team headed to a local pub to mark Inna's last paddling day of the expedition.

The team members wrote a few words describing their feelings at this stage of the expedition:


Day 25 was a great relaxing day. This trip for me wasn't thrilling and exciting as Tasmania so I was worried that I won't get my share of good time - just hard work of constant endless paddling. I was wrong! Three weeks into the expedition gave me some of the best paddling I have ever done! The cliffs and caves along the coast from Benwee to DownPatrick Head were stunnung. Caves with rooms and shapes and exits from the other side of the mountain. Waterfalls that drop water strait on the kayak from 60-80 meters, the shapes that were covered in thousands of huge waves smashing on the rocks - all the and more gave me the thrill I so much needed.
I only hope that I will continue to be surprised by what I meet along the way.

These were wonderfull 9 days. Inna brought calmness and light to the expedition. Forced by the winds we paddled close to the cliffs exploring the stunning SW part of Donegal bay. I felt really happy, and it was only a bit pitty that each paddling day gets us closer to the finishing point.

9 days into the expedition made me understand that all I want from my life is to wake up in the morning, eat my oats porrige by the sea, get into the kayak and paddle, paddle, paddle. That's the way of life I'd like to be on. Comparing this Ireland expeditions to my former (solo) trips I have to admit that a great company makes a huge difference. Misha and Alon were an amaizing company. I was good feeling part of their fellowship, sharing their moods, understanding their needs. Together we explored the beauty of the bays, the constantly changing seas and the menus at local restaurants. So favorable seas, stunning views, good people along with you, a LOTS OF SEA KAYAKING - could I wish more than that...

July 27 (28 nm (51km))
This is the first paddling day in group of two. From here only Alon and Misha will continue to Dublin.
Not a simple day. In the 9.5 hours of paddling the currents were all the time against the paddlers. They tried to use eddies but not with huge success. Eventually they landed on the place called Doagh.
The midges at this place are forming into little clouds. Wrists, backs, shoulders and other potential painful body parts all ok at the moment.

July 28 (33 nm (61km))
Portaleen. Following is the update on that day as written by Misha:

It was a difficult day. The storm is approaching Ireland and we needed to pass Malin Head (the most Northern point of Ireland) to get protection from the raising swell coming from the West. We started paddling at 7:45 towards the head and by all calculations and the evidence of the fishermen the current should have been turned against us in two hours. However we paddled with the current all the time and covered 21 miles in nearly 5 hours. The swell raised quickly and reached 3-4 meters near the head.

Once we reached the head we entered a race that turned out to be against us. The current exceeded 2.5 knots and though sprinting we progressed just 1-1.5 knots. The alternative was to turn back and wait a few hours in the sea till the current changes. It was impossible to land near Malin head due to the big swell hitting the land. We decided to push against the race. It was quite exciting and we even filmed our progress. The race coupled with massive swell and strong reflections from the cliffs created very messy seas. The whole area in radius of 3 miles around the head was full of reefs and the swell raised and crashed on them. It looked like walking on a minefield. Suddenly we saw a boat also making its way through the swell. We tried to follow the route of the boat, however we saw heavy surf almost everywhere. At some point we decided to go through the less aggressive surf and land. A few minutes ago we saw a heavy swell crashing there but if we schedule it right we can make it. The current pushed us back to the reefs. We sprinted to the beach looking back at the scary swells rising behind our backs. It looked like we're going to make it. We progressed through the waves but when we looked at the cliffs aside we discovered that we're stuck at the same point. We were paddling against really strong current, stuck deep inside the surf zone. These were very tensed minutes. We sprinted to the beach as fast as we only could making some rediculously slow progress. Finally we crossed the breakers line, right after it the sea was amazingly calm as if someone would completely switch off the whole mess, though there were no cliffs that protected this area.

We landed very exhausted, ate and rested. The flood had started and we decided to paddle 9 more miles to the next village. The fishermen claimed however that the current should change only 2 hours later. It looked unreasonable: if the ebb changes to flood then the current should change as well. However when we paddled out we discovered that we're paddling again against 1.5 knots current. The fishermen were right, there must be some anomaly at Malin head. 2 hours later the current changed and though tired we made the rest of the way with the average speed of 5 knots.

Many thanks to John and Mary for a hot shower and tea with chocolates on our arrival to Portaleen!

July 29
Misha wrote:
Bad weather day. There are 5-6 beaufort head winds that run against the strong spring tides here. We decided not to risk and stay on the beach.

July 30 (40 nm (74km))
Today was S-SW5-6, at times 7 beaufort, almost no swell. Misha and Alon thoroughly planned their day in order to run with the tide. And the day was very successfull due to the planning they've done. In spite of the strong side winds, they made their progress with the average speed of 4+ knots. The only delay was at Rathlin Island where their speed suddenly dropped from 4 to 1 knot, then afterwards rised to 3 knots and further on dropped to 1 knot again. When they realized that the tide behaves in this very confusing manner here, they decided to approach the shore. When they did it, their speed dropped to 0 knots! Just as the day before yesterday, they sprinted to the nearest landing place which eventually was the Ballycastle marine.

They had a hot shower in the marine and talked to the coastguard regarding the conditions they had at Rathlin Island today and their plans for tomorrow. The cost guard official explained to them that the behaviour of the tide they experienced at Rathlin Island today was typical for the 2-3rd hours of flood tide at Rathlin (exactly the time Alon and Misha passed the place).

So it was not an easy day with a very good progress made and a couple of new things the team learned. They saw beautiful rocks on their way, that were different from all the previous rocks they've seen so far.
The 12.5 hours of paddling were summed up with fish&chips dinner at Balycastle restaurant.
Misha wrote:
That was a very long day. In Tasmania I would consider it a great success, however here I feel sad that we were too tired to really enjoy the amazing cliffs of Giants Causeway and the enterance of the Ballycastle Bay. At this stage of my life I don't want to push anymore or set new records. I just want to paddle, enjoy the calmness, the silence, the scenery, the excitement of rough seas.

July 31
Misha wrote:
We're stuck again, this time in Ballycastle. The southerly winds 5-7 beaufort are blowing against the tide on Fair Head - the NE corner - creating powerfull overfalls. This is the strongest tide of Ireland, and it would be too risky to try to pass it in these conditions. At least all the yachts are staying as well in the port.

August 1 (35 nm (65km))
Another interesting paddling day today. Alon and Misha left Ballycastle and started running with the tide and side wind. The wind was 6 beaufort at first but soon picked up to 7 and even 8 beaufort and changed from side to back wind. When they were passing Fair Head their average speed was 7.5 knots for about half an hour. No wonder that the team made 35 nm progress in 6 hours! In the afternoon the wind droped down but picked up again to 8 beaufort towards 16:00. At this time the guys already passed Larne and were planning to cross the Belfast bay. The tide was supposed to switch its direction at 16:40. So Misha and Alon decided to continue paddling. However they noticed that their speed started dropping down from 6 to 4, then 3, and finally to 2 knots. When one makes progress of 2 knots with 8 beaufort wind at one's back, that means that one paddles against a strong current. The seas also got much higher around them, it was a tidal race. When the guys realized that thay are paddling agains the tide, they decided to turn back and land at the shore that they've recently spotted on their way. To go back meant paddling against 8 beaufort wind. After turning around (which wasn't easy at all) they had to paddle for 1 mile to get to the beach. The heavy wind blowing against the current was raising 4 meter waves within the race. However, the tide was so strong that after turning back the guys made progress of 3.5 knots against 8 beaufort wind. Finally they reached the landing spot at Portmuck where they stayed for tonight.

August 2 (27 nm (50km))
Today Misha and Alon started paddling at 11:00, because of the tide. They had back wind 5-6 beaufort which picked up to 7 beaufort towards the end of the day. The paddling day was "short" - 6 hours, until Alon's shoulder started aching, eventually due to the sprints of the last days.
The team has 90 nm left to their target, Dublin. It depends mainly on the winds whether they get there by the end of this week.

August 3 (37 nm (68km))
Misha and Alon arrived to Kilkeel after 11 hours of paddling. Today, in spite of relatively strong side winds they managed to make a good progress. The spirits are high - no wonder, Dublin is 46 nm far from them! Today they finally visited a real Indian restaurant. Alon who felt so homesick about hot food finally got a native Indian meal that made him almost cry. Looks like tomorrow he is going to pay tribute to European style cuisine...

August 4 (31 nm (57km))
Skerries today. Light head wind, fog - couldn't see much of the shore - and drizzling. Today again they paddled against the tide. But hard paddling job is already rewarded by the thoughts about tomorrow, when they are about to reach their final goal.

August 5 (19 nm (35km))

Upon their arrival to Dan Laoghaire, Misha and Alon were warmly welcomed by a National Yacht Club ( who provided the guys with hot showers, invited them for a dinner and helped wih lot's of logistics issues in Dan Laoghaire. Many thanks to the club for their hospitality.

It's quite a weird feeling that no paddling needs to be done tomorrow, no need to check when high/low water would be and how would the tide behave in this area. Lot's and lot's of rest now.

Well guys, Ireland is behind you, what's next?..

Last updated: August 5, 2006