snorkel at PortnaBlagh pier

Jul 05 2016 Posted by Office Administraton

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3 rd July 2016.

In the aftermath of the Sheephaven Dive Rally it was time to chill out a little last week and on Wednesday evening the divers relaxed with a snorkel out from PortnaBlagh pier.

In water conditions were quite favourable for snorkelling, with good visibility right across the harbour to the caves that were accessible on Wednesday evening for some of the snorkelers, while others took advantage of the settled sea conditions and went out past the Flat Rock and around to the atmospheric Pol Dubhs.

As always a pleasant snorkel in PortnaBlagh deserves a chance to get together for a moment to catch up with club news over a cup of tea, this time in the comfortable surroundings of Arnolds Hotel.

On Sunday morning Sheephaven SAC assisted the Sheephaven Swim, when over 70 swimmers took to the water and swam the 4 km course from inside Duncap Head around Sheephaven Bay and completing the circuit by coming ashore in PortnaBlagh harbour.

The participants came from across the island of Ireland and indeed further afield and all were completely in awe of the majestic scenery of Horn Head on their run out to their starting point.

To watch over the swimmers there were a total of 17 canoes and 11 boats, which included the four Sheephaven boats that were crewed by 13 club members.

Willie Sheridan led the Sheephaven boats over to PortnaBlagh, having previously launched from Downings earlier in the morning. Indeed it was fitting that Willie and Noel Brennan, both active members of Sheephaven SAC, were present on Sunday as they are the link to Doe Amateur Swimming Club that was the genesis of scuba diving in the area nearly 40 years ago.

The swimmers and some of the canoeists were then transported across to Duncap and when everyone was assembled they were started on their way by Anne Marie Ward, a veteran on many open water swims.

Very quickly the stronger swimmers pulled away and within 30 minutes there was at least a 500 metre gap between the front and back swimmers.2016-07-03 Sheephaven Swim Start (1)

Throughout the swim the canoeists stayed alongside the swimmers and kept them directed towards the next marker set out along the course around the bay.

Weather conditions played their part as the swim had been scheduled for Saturday but it was postponed for 24 hours to allow them to settle down.

However there was still a significant breeze blowing from the west on Sunday morning, but at least it was behind them as they made their way across the final section of the course.

Sheephaven SAC had another vested interest in Sundays’ event, with club member Ryan Ward competing for honours on his home patch and he put in a typically strong performance throughout the swim.

Ryan, along with his sister Anne Marie Ward, is no stranger to open water swimming, having both been members of the successful 2006 Round Ireland Swim, which was also supported by Sheephaven SAC at that time.

After the swim refreshments for participants and supporters alike was served up on the front lawn of Charlie and Mary Robinson home, the last time food was served out like this in PortnaBlagh was most likely when the pier was built in 1849.

The overspill of all cars was facilitated by the kindness of Fergus Mullan, who opened up his lands for car parking.DSCN3452 (3)

Sheephaven SAC wishes to congratulate Keith Mc Clean, Karen Crawford and all who organised a fantastic turnout of swimmers and support crew on Sunday and it was great to see PortnaBlagh the centre of such activity and sheer fun.

Finally Sheephaven SAC wish to send their good wishes to Robin Law who celebrated a landmark birthday last week and hope that he has many happy returns.