Jemser's Photos

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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Rocker » Mon Jul 28, 2014 3:11 pm

Sinead wrote:Good to see you back Farmboy. Hope
all is well with you.

Sinead

Me too hellllo ..Hope things are good Farmboy.Have you some good photos too. Jemser says "practice makes perfect" for taking the photos.....ha ! thats where i went wrong...I don't even know where the blooming camera is! I better not let HID see this!! ..
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby keeper » Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:06 pm

Yes, Jemser, brilliant photos, you are very lucky to get the weather you did, been there lots of times and never remember a fine day !!! usually misty and drizzle :( Can't wait to see the Skelligs, it must have been reasonable weather to even get out there !
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Denis Cromie » Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:11 pm

Good stuff Jemser and good to hear from you Fb.
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Jemser » Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:56 pm

On my recent trip to Kerry I returned to the Skelligs after an absence of 40 years. I had landed by helicopter on the Sklelligs in 1974 as an 18 year old young lad working for The Commissioners of Irish Lights. It was just an overnight on the rock at that time and I barely remember what we did. Fast forward 40 years and it was a boat journey out to the rock this time. I had tried to get a boat from Portmagee (the closest point) on Monday but unfortunately the weather was bad and the trip was cancelled. All the boats from Portmagee were completely full for Tuesday and I had to go to a small pier near Derrynane to get an available seat on a boat. This made the journey a two hour trip, instead of a one hour trip from Portmagee. A light breeze was the forecast and overcast conditions, deteriorating as the day progressed. The boat was licenced to take twelve passengers and it left from Bunavalla Pier in Derrynane harbour, a smuggling port used by the O’Connell clan of the famous Daniel ‘The Liberator’ O’Connell. The tour takes you past Deenish and Scariff Islands in the wildlife abundant Kenmare Bay and the highlight of the trip is a 2.5 hour stop over on Skellig Michael. The boat leaves at 10am and it was indeed carrying twelve passengers, three Irish, three Americans, four Swiss and two Germans.
We set off on time heading South West in a gentle two foot swell. To be honest it was a fairly boring journey, the only excitement being one of the Swiss children thought he spotted a dolphin, I’m not so sure. As we headed further out the two Skellig rocks came into view and the swell increased to three feet. At that stage, which was about half way, one of the children on board left his breakfast in the Atlantic and we began to spot some Gannets in the distance diving for their breakfast.
Here we are making our way out with a little dog on board for Dancer. You can also see the kid getting sick behind the fender.
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Slowly onward we made our way toward the UNESCO World Heritage site, the small Skelligs Island was now nearing and thousands of Gannets were now all around us. As we passed the island we could see and smell the vast Gannet colony clinging to their craggy outpost. The second largest Gannet colony in the world calls Skellig Beag their home. There are 30,000 nesting pairs all over this small outcrop of rock in the Atlantic Ocean. Gannets are very large seabirds, they have a six foot wingspan, black tipped wings and a large yellow beak. They hunt their prey on the wing, spotting it from heights of 100 feet and diving at speeds of 60 mph into the sea, swallowing the prey. The sea was too choppy at this stage to get a decent photograph, the boat was moving about a lot as we neared Skellig Michael.
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The North East landing area was now in sight and as we approached the leeward side of the Island the waters calmed and we drew alongside a peaceful landing. We were now facing the long climb to the Monastic settlement, John the boatman said we had 2.5 hours, it was now noon and time to set off up the walkway toward the Lighthouse. The walkway wends around the natural contours of the rock and gives you a good view of a small Gull colony nesting on the North East side of the Island. The walkway then takes you past the helipad at a height of about 120 feet above sea level and there you meet a safety advisor from the O.P.W.
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They then inform you of the dangers of climbing the ancient steps that lead up to the Monastic site, they give you some practical advice and send you on your way. At this point you leave the walkway to the Lighthouse, indeed it is gated off and beyond the gate are a few “huts” that are occupied by O.P.W. personnel. They are onsite for two weeks with one week off during the tourist season.
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Now begins the scary part and it is not for the faint hearted, if you have any fear of heights do not go to the Skelligs. However if you like heights what a stunning climb to the top, there are more than 600 steps, all the while surrounded by spectacular sea views, scenery and thousands of Puffins. The initial climb takes you to a semi flat area between the twin peaks of the island. This area is known as Christ’s Saddle or Christ’s Meadow or even Christ’s Valley and was partially created by the monks to grow vegetables there. This semi flat slightly sloping area is situated at about 440 feet and from there you can see both enormous peaks of the island. From here there are many more steps to ascend to the Monastery situated at about 550 feet.
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We began to climb the uneven open steps up the steep slope to the ruins, all around there were Puffins, Sea Gulls, Guillemots, Artic Terns and some nesting Fulmars. The Puffins being the dominant bird on Skellig Michael, their nests are literally everywhere so watch your step. They nest in any kind of a hole in rocks, walls or even holes in the ground.
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Then you reach the Monastic site dedicated to St. Michael, the patron Saint of high places and it is a really stunning location, perched high on this Atlantic outcrop and at the mercy of the elements. There is some disagreement on the dating of this site, some say 6th century and some say 9th century. Whenever it was built it was a magnificent feat of engineering and stone masonry. The round beehive huts are very well preserved and are rectangular on the inside. They are dominated by one very large beehive shaped hut which was used as the refectory. There is a small Oratory which is the older one and another larger Oratory dated to the 12th century. Within the ruin of the later oratory there is a modern grave. In this grave lie the remains of two children, Patrick, aged 2 who died in December 1868 and William, aged 4 who died in March 1869. Their father was W. Callaghan Principal Keeper on the Island at the time. The Monastic site is quite small and you can explore most of it, however some of it is off limits to the public. It is estimated that between 12 and 20 monks occupied this site at any one time. We spent a while exploring and taking photos before heading back to Christ’s Saddle and had a bite to eat, then we climbed the other peak of the island. There are no steps up this peak and it is the highest on the island at 715 feet.
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You can get so far up but would need climbing gear to get another 50/60 feet to attain the summit. The views from this point are really spectacular, however at this stage the wind was fairly strong and the sea did not look very inviting with white horse s dancing 650 feet below before crashing against the rocks. It was time to head back down to the landing to board the boat.
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The descent on the open steps is actually worse than the climb and nearly all the people were very carefully and slowly making their way down the uneven steps. Safely down to the walkway and a short stroll downhill to the boat and we were on our way leaving Skellig Micheal behind as we passed Skellig Beag.
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The sea was very rough, six foot waves crashed against the boat and the passengers that were on the starboard side of the boat were getting very wet. One German took his shoes and socks off and then he removed his shirt and sat in the sea spray. I put my weatherproof jacket on, pulled up the hood, sat on the port side and settled in. I was wondering how long it would be until the German was frozen stiff and wet to the bone. About twenty minutes later he was dressing and trying to get warm. Two hours later and freezing cold we landed back on terra firma, what a fantastic place and trip.
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If I were going again I would book ahead and make sure the boat was going from Portmagee and only took an hour to reach the island. I have not written anything about the lighthouse because it is blocked off from the public visiting it. It is also situated at the South West side of the island and as you approach the island from the North East you never actually see it. The Commissioners of Irish Lights site covers the history of the lighthouse. I would really recommend a visit to this island but good luck with the weather, you will need it.
Finally this is what it looks like on a good day. This was taken by a friend about a month ago.
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I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered. - George Best 1946-2005
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Sinead » Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:09 pm

My Lord, Jemser you do have a way with words and pictures.
Absolutely fascinating narration and views, I feel I was on
the trip with you.
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Micheál » Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:31 pm

Great narrTive and pics Jemser.

Im surprised a craft of that size and with such young passengers did not require everyone (even the mutt) to wear life jackets.

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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby grammer » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:35 am

Brilliant photos and talk thru' Jemser
I felt I was there with you --
felt a little jealous at times :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
dontknow dontknow dontknow dontknow dontknow dontknow dontknow
As has been said above -you got a way with words wuu wuu wuu wuu
sent from my PC and typed on a keyboard (old fashioned black colour) using three fingers
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Rocker » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:54 am

grammer wrote:Brilliant photos and talk thru' Jemser
I felt I was there with you --
felt a little jealous at times :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
dontknow dontknow dontknow dontknow dontknow dontknow dontknow
As has been said above -you got a way with words wuu wuu wuu wuu


Grammer says it all :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
What a blast..you are a great adventurer. Back in the 70's I used to send groups of tourists to the Skelig with a great boatman called Des Lavelle from Portmagee...I never realised how tough it was. Then it was closed to the public for years. Some men those monks!!!
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Denis Cromie » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:19 am

Brilliant Jemser,like the rest I now feel that I've been there so I can now strike it off my bucket list. On a boat journey like that I'd be like the young German,providing food for the gannets
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby keeper » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:19 pm

Brilliant Jemser ! Super piccies and story, thank you for a great post.
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby bugrock » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:25 pm

Jemser, You give me the sh*ts with your highly perfessiomal themes , dialog and photos. Go back to Heaven where you and your ilk belong. We mere mortals can't even begin to to imagine what you see and do. I'm going to soup up the box Brownie, win the Lotto and show you how to do it to Dancer's satisfaction. You make me sick, ya bastard! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Sinead » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:46 pm

Now Bugrock, calm down. I think 40 Shades of Green would have been
a more appropriate song to show your envy.

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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Holla » Fri Aug 01, 2014 3:27 pm

Pure magic thanks for sharing with us
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Strum » Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:08 pm

Wow really fantastic Jem. When's the book coming out? :D


John O'Shea's boat from Derrynan. ;)
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby grammer » Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:45 am

Back for another look through the photos
Jemser -once again brilliant
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Jemser » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:29 am

Thanks all for the comments and the dedication from Bugrock, you rock. Down in Cork, Blarney at the moment heading to Kerry tomorrow. Have a great weekend all, beats working. :lol:
I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered. - George Best 1946-2005
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby masterblaster » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:31 am

Absolutely superb Jemser ! Breathtaking.will go over this post many times.congratulations again.
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Rocker » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:35 am

Jemser wrote:Thanks all for the comments and the dedication from Bugrock, you rock. Down in Cork, Blarney at the moment heading to Kerry tomorrow. Have a great weekend all, beats working. :lol:


:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Navanman » Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:12 pm

Jemser that is a fantastic description of your journey and complete with really excellent photos. The sea looks so calm in the photos. Absolutely love the photo of the puffin? on the rock.


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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Rocker » Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:50 am

I was dreading you looking at those photos with all the birds in them! I don't have a phobia about birds but, I just could not imagine those swooping birds on the rock face!
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Jemser » Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:50 pm

Micheál wrote:Great narrTive and pics Jemser.

Im surprised a craft of that size and with such young passengers did not require everyone (even the mutt) to wear life jackets.

M.


I thoroughly agree, there wasn't even a mention of lifejackets and no safety awareness even referred to. Now at no stage were we in danger but I thought there was legislation in place about lifejackets being compulsary. I spoke to my friend about his trip over with a different boat contractor and there was nothing mentioned on that trip either. dontknow.
I'm in Killarney now but not going out on a boat this time. The weather has been sunny and warm down here, doesn't look as good up in Dublin. I'm beginning to think Sinead may be right. 8-)
I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered. - George Best 1946-2005
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Harjoe » Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:51 pm

Fantastic ,Jemser what photos your a better man than me to take that trip, brilliant thank you
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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Sinead » Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:49 pm

On Life Jackets, I think the law is that they must be available
for every person on board, but they do not have to be worn
unless the swell is a certain height.

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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Micheál » Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:07 pm

I was speaking with a local marine expert tonight and he confirmed what Sinead said - the law says flotation devices must be offerered but there is no obligation on the passenger to wear them.

This is all very fine for (so-called) adults but you would imagine the law would be framed to protect children.

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Re: Jemser's Photos

Postby Snowhite » Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:24 pm

Fantastic photo's Jemser, would so love to visit The Skelligs but after seeing your photo's I think I'll give it amiss I'm not that brave. ;) Well Done.
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