We arrived at Malahide Marina, the biggest in Ireland, yesterday morning at half past five. After a quick breakfast we fell asleep. Most of us slept in the boat yard, where the marina had offered us accommodation. After the long night's rain and cold we finally had dry weather, so I placed my sleeping mat, sleeping bag and myself outside with a view of the sun and the east.
I woke up a few hours later to luxury! The sun was high in the sky and very warm. My sailing clothes were dry. I’d had four hours of good sleep. And there were plenty of hours left in the day for my chores, before going to Dublin Airport to pick up my girlfriend and oldest son.
With no more cold sailing during the night coming up, I decided the first thing to do was to have a shave. I haven't shaved since Sunday July 1st. That's a month and a half. But the full beard has been a good protection from rain and wind. I sneaked on board the Sea Stallion and plugged the razor into the electricity box. Before long I had five or six American tourists around me. They started asking questions about the ship and the expedition, while the stubble fell from my face.
”Hey… that would have been a good picture,” Nathan said, smiling. The BBC-reporter was watching me, looking like someone in dire need of a camera. But luckily he rescued me and began answering the Americans' questions:
"No, we didn't row all the way from Denmark to Ireland. This is primarily a sailing ship, so we sail as much as possible. We only use the oars for harbour manoeuvres," Nathan said.
Great, I thought. Fantastic to hear a reporter from BBC, who has been with us all the way from Roskilde, answering questions from curious passers-by. And saying "we" instead of "they."
Afterwards I had a shower. Then went to a café in town with Søren, and ordered an Irish breakfast. Afterwards I hung around town to find a hotel where my girlfriend and son could stay, before we head for Dublin on Tuesday morning.
Finally I reached the ´Tourist Centre’ of Malahide. Here I met Eric. Introduced myself and said I had arrived on the Viking ship the Sea Stallion this morning.
”Oh… you are most welcome here. I saw you on the news the other day. It’s fantastic. Tell me, how was your trip?”
I had only gone in to hear if the town had a hotel or youth hostel.
"Well, there is the Grand Hotel. That is a nice hotel, very beautifully situated down by the harbour. Perfect for you.
"Do you know anything about the price levels?"
"One minute. I’ll just make a call... you know, sometimes the prices are a bit lower, if..." And then a short negotiation started between Eric and the receptionist of the hotel. Unfortunately for me the manager wasn't in, so Eric’s persistent efforts didn't really get anywhere.
"Sorry... the price is 180 Euros a night," Eric says, making an apologetic gesture. And I try to reassure him that it is perfectly OK, and that I was just curious, and will of course pay the normal price of a hotel room.
And that's the end of that. After one and a half months on deck-boards, concrete piers and in hot gymnasiums, I went to the Grand Hotel and booked two nights in four-star luxury with breakfast. And best of all: A bathtub, soft towels and a bed.
And now the time had come to pick up Heike and Marcus at the airport.