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“The Ronan” Beheaded…

February 28th, 2014 No comments

Another weekend has landed and I have no blog up! This will be a quick one.. Last weekend was intended to be a West Coast mission but the weather did not comply. Instead Iza and I went to the Waitaki Valley to fish Benmore and Aviemore. The sight fishing was excellent on Saturday. Plenty fish about and in great condition. Sunday the weather closed in quickly but I had a few good moments in the morning. Iza is not having much joy with her spinning rod. It’s as if the fish Gods are against her but they’ll come round. I know they will, I have a direct line and they’re just playin’ silly buggers at the moment (as they say in NZ).

Almost at the end of the fishing day on Saturday, I handed Iza my fly-rod (an SL Pro Hot torpedo, aka”The Ronan”). I took her spinning rod to whack out a cast. Somehow my fly-rod sneaked in front of the spinning rod while in mid cast. I beheaded “The Ronan”… That’s the second time I’ve learned to keep fly-rods away from spinning rods. My good friend back home once ploughed his spinning rod through my Sage XP. Thanks Eamonn!! “Lesson to be repeated until learned”, as Graeme Williams would say.

I’m meeting Robbie Mcphee tomorrow for a weekend on the water.

Later all! Let me know what you think of the slideshow feature. I think it needs to be bigger? Below the pics? I’ll work on it.

Ronan..

Daltona Rides Again…

February 17th, 2014 8 comments

The last time I tried to start Daltona’s old 35hp Johnson was with Chris Dore on Lake Wakitipu last winter. She simply would not start. I think Chris was secretly happy because the wind was strong and the waves were big. I was a bit relieved myself, truth be told. My diagnosis at the time was that the spark plugs had run their course. There was one Saturday since then that I made a half assed effort to resolve the problem; I borrowed a spark plug spanner but it did not fit. On Saturday last, Kevin and I decided to take a look at the outboard with the hope of getting out on the water. Within 5 minutes Kevin had the engine running like the well oiled machine she is. It was indeed the spark plugs. We wasted no time and hit for the lake.

The weekend was a rare one where the almost incessant shitwinds of Cromwell took a respite. Fishing the glass on Dunstan is extremely challenging and in my opinion the best fishing Dunstan has to offer. It’s a shame its such a rare event. The fish move and track, usually around the edges of the weed beds. Dries and nymphs will work but quick, accurate casting will be the difference between a great day and few or no fish. When the breeze picks up to a slight ripple the fishing is a lot easier and I usually move to the silty pockets among the weeds. Most of Sunday had a corduroy ripple on the surface and I lost count of how many fish I had to the net. All sighted. A size 14 weighted spider was the ticket. A 2mm tungsten bead was just enough weight to quickly get the fly to the zone.

Daltona rides again…

ps. Sorry about the small pics this week! I had my camera set on very low res because I forgot my sd card one day, then I forgot to put it back on full res! The internal memory is shite.

Ronan..

Fishing with Ken Whelan and David Lambroughton…

February 5th, 2014 No comments

Last weekend I went to Waikia to meet and to fish with Ken Whelan and David Lambroughton. Ken has been working is Ireland since 1975 as a fisheries scientist and his work is well known throughout the country. He has been in charge of the Marine Institute, amongst other organisations, and has run many projects studying everything salmonid and beyond. I often heard his name when I was growing up in the Irish angling circuit so it was great to meet and fish with him to put a face to the name.

On Saturday Ken and I fished the Mataura below Gore. The day was very cold and overcast and not a day for David’s style of photography, so he did some editing instead. On speaking to a local angler we found out that there was no evening rise to look forward to. Also he mentioned seeing very few fish in the glass this season. This didn’t bother me too much. I took Ken to a favourite spot of mine with plenty of riffles. They were slow by Mataura standards but we managed to hook about 12 or 13 fish in the morning session, landing 4. We explored some new water in the afternoon but did not have much action. That said, I had a totally absorbing hour fishing to willow grubbers. I hooked and lost 2, but it was an enthralling 60 minutes.

Back at base that night the steak sizzled on the barbecue, beers were cracked and the craic was good. We spoke about all things fishing and non fishing until Ken and I got stuck in a heavy conversation about Irish seatrout, salmon and salmon farming. This put David to bed. It was great to speak to someone like Ken who has put his life’s work so far into the topic. I learned a lot and the following are a few facts I’d like to share.

1. Ken filmed what I’m about to outline with a childhood hero of mine, Eamonn De Buitleir. When Salmon pair up to spawn on the redds, the female will usually be accompanied by more than one male. This I knew! What I did not know was the fact that male par (3 to4 inches long) can also fertilise the eggs. This is the piscatorial equivalent of precision bombing! These little par can get right in amongst the gravel to deliver the goods right on target. What is not known is whether or not they die after spawning like most Atlantic salmon do. Pretty amazing anyway. If salmon do it, trout probably do too.

2.Most of us know seatrout as a sea fish which enters fresh water to spawn a number of months after arrival. In Ireland, most seatrout enter the rivers in July and don’t spawn until December. There is another strain of seatrout around the Irish coast which enters the rivers from the sea in December. They spawn asap and get back to their life in the salt in as little as 36 hours.

3. Ken told me about an experiment in which he needed a number of small brown trout to see how quickly they could adapt to saline conditions. The plan was slowly subject them to salt water, but for a reason he told me that I can’t recall they ended up putting all the trout straight into full on salt water. The trout appeared to be out of breath for a short while, but then they were fine. None died. These fish’s ancestry had not seen salt for 10’000 years. So estuarine fish can easily feed in salt and fresh without hesitation. My own fishing experience had suggested this, but now I know it.

4. All of the remaining wild salmon from Portugal, Spain, France and the South of England as well as Ireland, pass by the Aran Islands on their migration to their feeding grounds. To place a salmon farm right in this salmon corridor will put these wild fish in grave danger. No person has the right to give this proposed farm the green light. This is not just an Irish issue.

5. There were heaps more interesting facts, but I’m getting tired typing! Ken’s new book, Nomads of the Tides, is on sale now. I’m looking forward to reading it. I’m sure there is plenty info in the book which I can apply to NZ seatrout. http://www.medlarpress.com/8166-Fishing-Books-Nomads-of-the-Tides_by_McCully–Whelan.html

After a good nights sleep in a farmhouse bed, I was awoken by 12 gunshots from an angry farmer. The shots were fired while he roared like a man possessed at his dogs. Some may have died, I’m not sure. The insanity was at the next farm and neither I nor David or Ken investigated.

I think I heard of David Lambroughton a year or so ago. He’s a photographer and a fly fisherman. His work is vibrant and colourful, some may say too much so, but on meeting the man all the colour makes sense. I really like what I’ve seen of his work and some of it is simply spectacular. Check this out… http://davidlambroughton.com/?pageID=813801#

David made me his special concoction for breakfast. It consisted of juice, banana, oatmeal and other stuff all whipped up in the blender. It was guaranteed to keep us going all day. Shortly after, we all set off to fish a section of a favourite river of mine that I had never fished before. The water was ideally low. The river was pretty tough going, which was no surprise to me as it usually is. The slippery rocks were a surprise though. Like ice! I need to replace all my starbites on my boots. I have 3 left out of about 40! We were in the water almost all day. The banks were impenetrable. After about 4ks and 3 sighted fish we emerged from the forest. David did not get any pictures, which was his mission for the day. Neither Ken or I had a fish. Ken wandered on up river which was straight at this stage and flowing through easy farmland. I spotted one in a deep riffle which ate the nymph first cast. Shortly after I had another shot which I made a balls of. Ken had a shot to a rising fish on his bank without success. 100m from the truck I spied a nice fish, I put on David’s dry cdc pattern which he had given me after breakfast. First cast, the fish ate. That was it. As many fish in the last k to the truck as in the whole day up to then. That’s how it goes.

Ken and David, Thank you both for your hospitality.. David, Thanks for putting up with two mad Irishmen! I realise one is difficult enough..

The weekend with Sean McCarthy and the following weekend with the Wakitipu Anglers Club mission to Manorburn will have to be told in photo’s below because I’m all typed out!!!

To those of you who emailed me, I’ll get to you as soon as I can. Every minute of every day is accounted for these days, which is just how I like it!

Have a great week, Ronan..

Bacon & Egg pie and the perfect fishing day…

January 17th, 2014 2 comments

It was hard to plan any time away from home over the Christmas break. The forecast was never good for more than a day or two in any direction. I was not keen to drive for hours to meet rain and high, dirty rivers so I saved time and petrol and spent a few days on my water feature, aka Lake Dunstan. With all the rain, the lake has been very high which is usually a good thing. Daltona is still out of action so I was shore bound. When the lake was carrying some colour shortly after the heavy rain the fishing was great. I fished some mud and soft silt flats with a size 10 skinny bugger which was irresistible to the fish. Big enough to effectively fish blind, small enough to fish to a cruiser and light enough to use for the tailers in the weed beds. When the lake cleared, the bugger was ignored but buzzers and spiders nailed ‘em.  The seemingly gale force winds rarely relent on Dunstan. The only time it seems to drop is to change direction and this only lasts about 15 minutes. The odd time the lake is calm it’s amazing. The fishing to tracking fish on dries has to be experienced to be believed. I have not seen it yet this season! Fish numbers are good this year and the quality of the fish is the best I’ve ever seen.

At the end of almost a month off work with testing fishing conditions, the stars finally aligned and a perfect fishing day occurred unexpectedly. Jeff and I had planned to fish together and the forecast was okay. Then Fraser decided to join and the weather turned out to be perfect. Both Jeff and Fraser are great fella’s to fish with and this was the first time we all fished together. We worked as a team and did well with our chances. We spotted for for each other, which sometimes involved climbing up on rocky bluffs to get the perfect view down into the pool. We helped each other with netting fish, we passed on advise to each other when we could see something the angler could not, and I think we all made each others day a little better. Not all people are compatible on a river but we certainly are. We camped out that night. Fire, beer, food and craic. We woke to heavy rain and a rising river so we pulled the pin.

Fraser fishes with me when he can. He’s a busy man with his family, business’s, diving, shooting, fishing, travelling and more. It’s always eventful and fun to fish with him. The last couple of outing’s with me he didn’t do so well, but this time he did. Good casting to a travelling fish and first time accuracy to a fish feeding on station ensured 2 from 2 shots!

Robert and Linda, Thanks for returning my phone! That ancient brick was indeed mine.. Also thanks for subscribing.

Get your willow grubs out.. They’re falling!

Ronan..

Striking Gold!

January 2nd, 2014 2 comments

So far on this holiday season the fishing has been pretty average. The first mission to the coast with Guy and Jeff was okay, the second with Mark Adamson was a bit worse. The mouths didn’t fish well, but then, in truth, we did not really give them a serious run. One was too coloured, one was full of glacial silt but just fishable, and the tide was wrong when we had time to fish another. So if conditions were right they may have been epic, but my gut tells me otherwise.

Mark and I had 2 days on the coast. Day one we tried some mouths as I just mentioned, also a spring creek but it looked as though someone had been in there earlier that day with a chainsaw. Possibly to clear a run for a jetboat, or to get bulls out of a grazing area farther up the creek. A farmer told me that. Either way, It felt like a waste of fishing time being there. The water was spectacular though. We tried another spot with no joy, so we went to the pub for a steak and a pint.

Day 2 we fished a typical, large west coast river. It was high after rain but clear. I got one on a dry right away. Mark spotted the fish but as he was not set up, I took the shot and got the fish. It’s essential not to fuck around when an opportunity presents itself. Take the shot! Waiting for someone results in too many lost chances. I’ve learned this many times. We expected plenty more shots but unfortunately, they did not come. We got 2 each for the day, 3 on that river and one on a river during a quick stop on the drive home. So not many fish, but a truly great day in one of the nicest places I’ve seen.

My old friend Kevin Alexander, who you’ll know from many previous blogs, has just moved to Cromwell. We’ve been doing some gold dredging and some fishing as well as eating and some drinking. It’s great to have him and his family here and he’ll probably be popping up on this a lot more from now on. Soon we will fix Daltona! She’s been idle too long.

This has been a good Christmas so far for catching up with friends, especially Bob Toffler. Bob, I’m delighted that broken leg healed up and thank you for showing me your secret spots! I managed a 5 and a 6lber to finish off 2013..

Happy new year everyone from the thundery and rainy Otago night… I don’t know what’s in store but I expect I’ll stay in NZ, especially after reading about the Irish Budget. They’re squeezing every last drop out of those who remain..

Ronan..

 

 

Falling down holes…

December 24th, 2013 No comments

I tried to warn Jeff about a deep hole in the ground. I had just spotted it and managed to avoid it. I turned my head and called back to him. The message just made it to Jeff’s ears as he fell down the hole. It was pretty deep and a very funny moment. Watching someone fall over is usually funny. As the day progressed we both took a few more tumbles down holes hidden in the long grass. At the end of the day while rushing back meet Guy who was waiting for us, Jeff fell pretty deep into a hole. He got out, then fell into another. I had time to take a picture. I laughed loudly as he struggled, cursing out of the hole. Once he was out we continued our trek out. Our conversation turned to falling down holes. I was telling a story of how I just missed out on a 7′ drop earlier that day and then on to a story from the Tasmanian highlands. Just as I got to the good bit of the story (the fall!) I vanished from Jeff’s sight. My right leg went down a hole and did not reach the bottom. I was left bent sideways in the hole from my left leg to my chest, which took all of the impact. I was a bit winded and shocked but unhurt. All I could hear after some all too  brief concern was Jeff’s Laughter, shortly followed by my own. I dragged myself out of the hole and continued. Within a few steps my bent hip was straight again.

The story of our 3 days on the coast is told in the photo’s below.

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Happy Christmas everyone! Guy and Jeff, Thanks for an eventful few days!

Ronan..

Seatrout, The Craic and 29 blank free days for Joe Creane…

December 13th, 2013 3 comments

Firstly, To those of you who look forward to my ramblings, sorry this report has taken so long! Life is pretty full right now and my Dad was over for a month. Between fishing with Dad, work and life in general, I simply have not had time to write. I’m just home from a 12 hour work day so this is not the greatest time either! However, I’ll make a start while I feel fresh!

Fishing with Dad was great, as it always is. When he’s in NZ he fishes every day either with me or alone. Weather may put a damper on things from time to time, but it has never been the cause of a day off the water. Never. Fair weather fishermen we are not!

We took on lots of different types of water from small streams to massive rivers, lakes to sea, river mouths to farm ponds, boat and bank. For me, The beauty of  NZ fly-fishing is in it’s diversity. It’s not all about fishing to a sighted fish with a dry or nymph in a river. There are infinitely more options for an adventurous, curious angler in NZ.

One of the highlights was the West Coast. I almost decided against it because it was raining the day we left, but the forecast was good for the days to follow. I took a chance. It was a little stressful being in charge of where we fished and when! On arrival the rain continued to pour down and the rivers were high and coffee like. I thought I had made a bad choice.. We went to a river mouth and within 20 minutes I had a seatrout on the beach which went just over 8lbs. I had the Di7 on with a Mr Glister and a white streamer behind it. The spectacular, fin perfect fish ate the Glister. Thanks once again, Chris Dore! For the rest of the day the fishing was good. Lots of insanely strong Kahawai about and a good few trout. The weather was perfect for the next 2 days, light winds, blue skies and falling, clearing rivers. The fishing was the way it often is in the surf and at river mouths, there were chaotic spells with long quiet periods. The chaos was worth waiting for! Dad loved it.. Kahawai on fly on the magical West Coast was one of the highlights of his fly-fishing life to date. Also in 3 days the sandflies only bit him 3 times! Miraculous.. They preferred my blood.

We took on some rivers with small numbers of big fish. In Dad’s early NZ days, he’d have preferred quantity over quality, but not any more. I went through the same learning curve. It’s about experience which leads to confidence. With confidence, big fish rivers will no longer intimidate, only excite. A big, wild, solitary brown is better than 100 recovering, early season rainbows.

On one of these big fish days, after a long 1.5 hour hike over steep terrain I was feeling a little nervous. We saw no fish on the way downstream. If I was alone, I would not mind, but I’m a guide for dad in effect! I’m making the calls so I want them to work out, even though he insists he does not mind whether he catches or not. Soon after starting, to my relief, a fish appeared. I saw him deep in the eye of a pool then he vanished. I was confident he didn’t spook, he just moved. Dad got into position in the pool while I examined the water from a good vantage point. Then I saw him, barely visible against a black rock bluff. He moved up, then back down, happily feeding. I advised dad to have a cast at the ready for the next time re rose up in the water. The fish moved up in the water, dad sent in his double nymph arsenal which landed perfectly 10 feet upstream of the fish. As they passed him I called strike at the sight of an unnatural twitch and the fish was on. The fish fought hard; the battle went for a few pools down river before I managed to net him. 7lbs. One of a number of really good fish for dad on this trip. The pressure was off me! We had a fantastic day with 2 more good browns. At the end of the day we were back at the car. That’s the reward for walking downstream and fishing back.

While staying in Te Anau, my good friend Guy came up from Invercargill to fish with Dad and I for a couple of days. The weather was not so good at the time and the forecast was bad. Guy put his boat into a local river anyway and we were rewarded with a perfect blue sky day. We spent the day moving from gravel bar to gravel bar and also fishing from the boat as guy manoeuvred it to keep the caster in a good position. Not easy for Guy or the caster, but it was fun fishing and great to watch. The gravel bars were superb! Loads of fish feeding and non stop opportunities. They were not easy which made it better. The shear number of shots we had ensured we caught lots of fish. We had all the time we needed to experiment with different dries, emergers and nymphs and we got it right every so often. Or maybe probability helped, If you cover a feeding fish enough times he may finally eat, even if the fly is “wrong”. We kept some fish for that nights dinner. Guy and I made fish fingers!

No trip to Te Anau is complete without a visit to the Redcliff Bar and Restaurant. We had 6 visits. The restaurant was recently voted 3rd in NZ and 8th in the South Pacific by Tripadvisor. We ate there twice and you can take my word for it, it’s a well deserved accolade.

On one of the nights in the bar, the craic was good and pints were flowing. I was chatting to a fella at the bar about the state of NZ rivers. The conversation was mostly positive but then didymo came up.. Shortly after that he said “that fuckin’ liposuction is an awful curse too” I thought he was joking, but when I looked at him about to laugh I realised he wasn’t. I held a straight face and agreed. He meant lagarosiphon.

Enjoy the pics!

Stuntman Ronan..

 

To pee, or not to pee!

November 6th, 2013 2 comments

Perched high on a bank, I could see into the entire pool. The sun was out, it had been behind the clouds for a lot of the morning, so I was scoping quickly before the clouds moved in again. The pool was big and varied with depth and cover and my eyes were picking out the most likely lies from the bottom of the pool to the top.. Then I saw him. Cruising an eddy, a really big fish with a green back and pink flanks and fins. I knew it was an incredible fish. The sun highlighted the colour by shining through his fins. Bright pink, a beautiful, unforgettable sight, but was dying for a piss. Before I could take this fish on, I had to go. The excitement made me need to go even more. I’m not sure if that’s normal. With one eye on the fish and the other making sure I missed my waders, I did what I had to do.

Back in the zone, this time fully, I watched the fish as he picked up speed and disappeared into the depths of the pool. His slight acceleration suggested that  he may have been spooked. I was pretty inconspicuous I thought, but sometimes trout just become aware of your presence for no apparent reason. I watched and watched but he did not return. I stud up and started walking on up river and there he was. He had moved out of the main pool and up into a deep riffle at the head. I followed, but quickly lost him. I rushed back to see if he was back in the main pool, but he was not. I went back to the riffle and briefly spotted him again, then lost him. I watched the water for a while more without a sight. I got myself to river level. I peered in but could not see him. There was a 20′ x 10′ section in the riffle where I could not really see into. Instinct told that’s where he was so I sent in a blind cast. I watched my dry carefully as it drifted downstream carrying 2 nymphs under it. I looked upstream to recast but before I took my flies from the water I glanced to where they were. The green back and pink flanks were where my flies should be. I lifted and the rod bent.

The fight was solid. I had to clamber around a large boulder which overhung the deepest part of the pool as the fish took off down stream. I could not hold him so had to follow. Thankfully Jeff was on the other side of the rock to drag me the rest of the way.. “I have you, 100%” he said. After a few more runs Jeff netted him for me. I thought he might crack the mythical 10lb mark, but he fell short by three quarters of a pound. This did not matter. Such a stunning fish I have rarely seen. This trout in my all time top 5. The photo below does him justice! Thanks for the shot Jeff..

Ronan..

A more careful approach…

November 1st, 2013 No comments

Robbie Mcphee and myself have a similar physical approach to a river. We go hard all day and try to see as much country as we can, fishing as we go. On the rivers where the going is difficult with obstacles such as boulders, gorges, cliffs and whatever else we tend to take them on without much thought. Big jumps, risky climbs and generally launching ourselves at the obstacle is the order of the day, especially if there is a fish in sight. Every day has it’s tumbles and we usually have a bruise or a scratch at the end of the day. On Saturday, as Robbie launched himself into position to take on a fish, he slipped and banged his knee, just like he did “100 times before”. He knew he did some damage but continued. We climbed over a steep hill to access more water and by the time we got back down the other side Robbie’s knee was a lot worse. We continued, but not for much longer. The pain became too much to bare so we had to get out. We had to climb to a nearby road and by this time the pain was excruciating. I went and got the truck as Robbie waited for me in a cave and tried to stay warm on a cold and wet day. By then walking was all but impossible. I took him to A&E in Gore where he was x-rayed. No brake. That was almost a week ago and he and his doctor are still trying to figure out the problem. I’m going to take a lesson from this. Less jumps, My knees are still good but not perfect so I’ll try to keep them that way. I will generally take more care on the rivers. That’s the plan anyway.

Day 1, Fishing with Robbie. A red letter morning! Heaps of fish out feeding and we caught 13.

Day 2, Fishing the secret dam with Kevin. We had 7, Some amazing moments with superb fish.

Day 3, Fishing alone. I wanted to see what Robbie and I missed out on on Saturday. I had 8 but only one after where we finished.

Another weekend has just landed and I have no plan as yet.. Beer maybe.

Ronan..

The tide that almost took my truck… Twice!

October 23rd, 2013 No comments

Jeff and I hit for the coast early on Saturday morning. There had been a deluge of rain on the coast for a few days so there were no guarantees the rivers or their mouths would be fishable. The weekend forecast was good so we decided to chance it. As expected, the rivers were high and coloured but some were fishable. There were so many whitebaiters about that the coastal fishing looked like it would be pretty annoying with us tripping over them and vice-versa. They have always been very friendly with me and never put out the notion that they own the place so, with respect, we left them to the river mouths and we chose a river.

It was a big, intimidating river; still bulging after the rain but dropping and clearing. There is only one thing to do when faced with such a river and that’s take it on. Don’t waste much time talking about it, just do it.

We took it on with 2 set-ups. Jeff with a streamer, me with a dry-double nymph rig. Before long we spotted one which we did not get. It’s always good just to see a fish in a high, unfamiliar river. It boosts confidence. Not long after I spotted one in tough light, I only just saw the sweep of a tail. I got that fish. Jeff got one in the next pool on a streamer so we were both off the mark. The rest of the day went well. We had a few more fish on all methods, blind and sighted. When we got to a very tough gorge we decided to get out since we simply didn’t know what lay ahead and it was late in the day. We had an hour or 2 on the coast before nightfall after most of the whitebaiters had had enough. Jeff got one bright fish.

One of the my favourite things about the coast is camping with the roar of the ocean and having a raging fire from the abundant driftwood. We drove out to Haast Spit which is just such a location. I have camped here a few times without incident and I expected this time to be the same. On the way to the spot I knew, the track suddenly disappeared. I tried to feel my way around all the debris on the sand but then sank into it! “Bollocks” I said. The sand was grey, damp and in the tidal zone. With the tide rising there was no time waste. With Jeff pushing, and some tactical driving (at least I like to think so!) we got out relatively easily but we were lucky.. It could have been a disaster. A foot to the left and I think we’d have been air-locked into the sand. After that bit of excitement we made it to the camp spot. The sea was roaring and then a full moon broke from the clouds.. I had a moment where I though we should leave. With a spring tide approaching (which I did not notice when I checked the tide times) and the strong on shore wind, something didn’t feel right. I’ve learned something about myself over the years. The reason I take an odd risk is to see if I’ll get caught, and if I do, what will the consequences be?.. this is sort of in my subconscious and I’ve only recently learned it. It’s like something else takes control, giggling as it does so. I put my hesitation aside as I got the fire going and Jeff pitched his tent.

The rain came in hard and the wind blew, but the fire was hot and the beer was cold so we were happy. We were relaxed, chatting about the day and life in general when a wave broke a little close for comfort.. I shone the lights of the car which was facing out to sea. “Fuck” I said. The tide was close and the waves were big and messy. By my reckoning the tide was still an hour from full. Should we flee now? No, We’ll wait a while anyway (giggling inside). I got up to photograph a wave which skirted our camp but instead I ran and jumped onto the spare wheel on the back of the truck as a wave crashed through our camp. It hit the truck, the tent and almost put the fire out. Okay, now I was worried, we were worried. Looking behind us the tide was on the other side of the spit. we were almost surrounded by water. There was probably a route out through the driftwood but we decided to stay. We were on a relatively high point. We’d see it out. Many more waves crashed near camp. We sat on the bonnet facing the sea and watched on high alert, and waited. “I think were out of the woods now”  was said many times but the truth was that we weren’t. The tide was high and very close to camp for hours. It seemed like forever. We weren’t out of the woods. Another wave went through the camp about an hour after the first and another after that. If we were parked farther down the beach things would have been worse.. I might have had to try to get out. Our saving grace was the fact that I knew roughly when high tide was, but it all could not have been any closer! We were lucky too..

Finally the tide receded, the rain stopped and  the wind died. We polished of the box of beer, high on adrenaline and life with a cranking fire and a bright moon..

Day 2 on the river was much like day 1.

Ronan..