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Calf Island East

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Overview





Located on Ireland’s southwest coast Calf Island East is the easternmost of a group of three low lying islands that occupy a central position within Roaringwater Bay. White Strand is situated off the island's northeast side providing the best anchorage and landing position.

Located on Ireland’s southwest coast Calf Island East is the easternmost of a group of three low lying islands that occupy a central position within Roaringwater Bay. White Strand is situated off the island's northeast side providing the best anchorage and landing position.

Set into a cutting between reefs and islets it is an exposed anchorage that provides a measure of protection from westerly component conditions but little in the way of air protection. Access requires attentive navigation with excellent visibility as this location is all about eyeball navigation.
Please note

Do not be attracted into approaching the anchorage from the north. Although the strand can be clearly seen from this direction around a small islet, it cannot be approached by this path as this area is foul.




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Keyfacts for Calf Island East
Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
2 metres (6.56 feet).

Approaches
3 stars: Attentive navigation; daylight access with dangers that need attention.
Shelter
2 stars: Exposed; unattended vessels should be watched from the shore and a comfortable overnight stay is unlikely.



Last modified
September 28th 2021

Summary

An exposed location with attentive navigation required for access.

Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 29.088' N, 009° 28.965' W

Tucked into the east side of the island, immediately southeast of an off lying islet situated close east of Calf Island East

What is the initial fix?

The following White Strand initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 29.240' N, 009° 28.590' W
The line of bearing of 336° T of the significant cleft on the east side of Mount Gabriel, called Barnacleeve Gap, open west of two roofless grey houses plus a small thicket of trees set upon the eastern point of Castle Island. The beach is 500 metres in a west by southwest direction from here.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southwestern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Cork Harbour to Mizen Head Route location.

  • North and south approaches via the 336°T alignment of the significant cleft on the east side of Mount Gabriel, called Barnacleeve Gap, open of houses and thicket of trees on the eastern point of Castle Island.

  • Locate White Beach and confirm it with the roof of its holiday home.

  • Proceed in between its reefs and anchor close south of its northeastern islet Dooneen.



Not what you need?
Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Below are the ten nearest havens to Calf Island East for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Castle Island (South Side) - 1 miles NNW
  2. Castle Island (North Side) - 1.1 miles NNW
  3. Horse Island - 1.2 miles N
  4. Trawnwaud (Castle Island Sound) - 1.4 miles NNW
  5. Trá Bán - 1.4 miles ENE
  6. Rossbrin Cove - 1.5 miles NNE
  7. Rincolisky Harbour - 1.5 miles ENE
  8. East Pier - 1.6 miles ENE
  9. Kinish Harbour - 1.6 miles E
  10. Turk Head - 1.7 miles ENE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Castle Island (South Side) - 1 miles NNW
  2. Castle Island (North Side) - 1.1 miles NNW
  3. Horse Island - 1.2 miles N
  4. Trawnwaud (Castle Island Sound) - 1.4 miles NNW
  5. Trá Bán - 1.4 miles ENE
  6. Rossbrin Cove - 1.5 miles NNE
  7. Rincolisky Harbour - 1.5 miles ENE
  8. East Pier - 1.6 miles ENE
  9. Kinish Harbour - 1.6 miles E
  10. Turk Head - 1.7 miles ENE
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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Chart
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the haven and its approaches. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Open the chart in a larger viewing area by clicking the expand to 'new tab' or the 'full screen' option.

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What's the story here?
The low lying West, Middle and East calves as seen from Clear Island
Image: Old Wellies via CC BY-SA 4.0


Calf Island is one of three islands at the entrance to Roaring Water Bay. The islands are contiguous, lying in a line nearly east and west, and are all are low, exposed and treeless. From high ground especially on a sunny day from Cape Clear, they are quite striking appearing as three dark patches in an otherwise deep blue sea. They are also small East Calf contains 75 acres with the largest, island been the Middle Calf, which contains 78 acres and the smallest, called Leacrer, or the West Calf, 65 acres. The islands were inhabited in the past but are no longer so. Calf Island East does have a holiday home in a cut on the south side of the beach.

White Beach is the best anchorage on Calf Island set between the reefs that step out about 300 metres from the beach. 5 metres LAT will be found inside the outer heads and it gradually shelving gradually to 2.5 metres LAT adjacent to the always visible Dooneen islet off the beach on the north side.


How to get in?
The Calves as seen from Clear Island
Image: Old Wellies via CC BY-SA 4.0


Convergance Point Offshore details are available in southwestern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Cork Harbour to Mizen Head Route location. The line of bearing of 336°T, as best seen on Admiralty 2129, serves as an excellent safe water sightline for approaches to this haven. It is set on the aligning of the significant cleft on the east side of Mount Gabriel, called Barnacleeve Gap, open west of two roofless grey houses plus a small thicket of trees set upon the eastern point of Castle Island.

Toorane Rocks awash at low water
Image: Graham Rabbits
This line of bearing provides a safe approach from both south and north to the east side of Calf Island East and the initial fix is set upon this sightline. The best time to navigate these waters is at low water when the surrounding rocks and fringing reefs will be visible.

Southern Approach Vessels approaching from the south may use the line of bearing to pass to the southwest of the outer dangers of the Toorane Rocks, and then midway between Calf Island East and the drying Anima Rock for the final approach. Anima Rock lies a ½ mile to the northeast of Calf Island East and dries to 0.1 metres with 3.7 metres of water on its outer end.

Northern Approach Vessels approaching from the north may use the line of bearing to pass clear of the Carthy's Islands and its rocky outliers that are situated to the southwest. Then it provides a safe water transit to access the east side of Calf Island East to the west of the drying Anima Rock.


Do not be tempted to approach from the north between Dooneen and island
Image: Burke Corbett


When approaching from the north it is essential not to be tempted to go directly to White Strand especially upon rounding the northeast corner of Calf Island East. Although the strand can be clearly seen, around the small Dooneen islet upon the northwest corner, the whole northeast corner is foul out to 300 metres and the area between Dooneen and the shore dries.


The holiday home serves to positively identify White Strand
Image: Burke Corbett


Initial fix location From the initial fix, set the midpoint between Anima Rock and White Strand Bay, the beach is about 500 metres in a west-by-southwest direction. It is essential to identify it by eyeball navigation before proceeding in. Look directly ahead for the arc of White Strand beach. It can be positively identified by the roof of the holiday house which can be seen over the back of the sand dunes at the beach's southern side.

The view from the anchoring area, Mount Gabriel northward and Dooneen right
Image: Burke Corbett


Once identified track into the anchorage which is tucked in between a Dooneen and its reefs on the north side and reefs that extend from the shore to the south that expose at low water. Track in the middle of the gap keeping about 60 metres off Dooneen.


The reef extending from Dooneen to the north of the anchorage
Image: Burke Corbett


Haven location Anchor about halfway along and abreast of Dooneen at about a distance of 100 metres offshore. The anchoring area is about 150 metres wide with excellent fine sand holding. 5 metres of water will be found at half-tide, and at low water expect at least 2.5 metres in this area. The depths then gradually shelve up to the beach.

Land on the beach by tender.

The reef extending to the south of the anchorage
Image: Michael Harpur



Why visit here?
The Calf Islands take their name from the historical Irish 'Na Laonna' which means the same. It aptly describes the diminutive cluster, side by side, out in the most central position of Roaringwater Bay. The alternative Irish name for the West Calf is 'Leacrer' which also fittingly as it is derived from the Irish word 'leac' meaning 'flat stone'. Locals today refer to Calf Island East as the Easter Calf.


East Calf as seen from Clear Island
Image: Old Wellies via CC BY-SA 4.0


Historically the islands were inhabited and history runs deep here. Calf Island East has the ruins of an Iron Age promontory fort and another can be found on Middle Calf. Samuel Lewis' 1837 'A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland' noted that the Calves had a population of 86 small farmers and fishermen at that time. This comprised two families in West Calf, six in Middle Calf, and five families in East Calf. A school was established in 1835 on the Middle Island to which 18 children and 14 adults were in attendance at the commencement of 1836.

But the small scraps of wind-swept lands were not owned by the islanders and the Townsend family who used a land agent called the Marmions to manage their interests. Cleary the Marmions had difficulty collecting rents from the islanders as in 1890 this matter was raised in the House of Commons. The then Parnellite MP John Dillon interceded on the land agent's behalf when he asked the chief secretary for Ireland, Arthur James Balfour who would be prime minister later, 'I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether the Government intend to supply Mr Marmion with a gunboat or with the boats of the Coastguard to aid him in evicting tenants on the Middle Calf or West Calf Islands, off the west coast of Cork.'


A paddler in the anchoring area with Heir Island in the backdrop
Image: Burke Corbett


Although this request was fudged the Middle and West Calves would soon be depopulated but East Calf retained a population of about twenty at the turn of the 20th-Century and remained occupied up until the 1940s. All that remains now on the island is a holiday house set into a deep cut on the south side of the beach. There is no pier, no old boreens, but there are the ruins a handful of dwellings to be seen concentrated around a small cove on the south side of the island. It faces out to Clear Island, which must have provided the most shelter point for the islanders to draw their fishing boats ashore. A dozen or so large fields that they would have been farmed still remain marked out. Today, cattle brought out to graze amongst the ruins of the former farms today keep the growth down. Apart from these, hares are the only other animals to be seen on all three islands.


Ribs heading into land on white beach (as seen from the south)
Image: Burke Corbett


All of the Calf islands have classic seaside flora, including Yellow-horned Poppy, Sea Spurge, Sea Kale and Sea-holly but East Calf has a more diverse habitat and is the most attractive. The dominant feature of Calf Island East is its small brackish lough and rods of purple loosestrife encircle it and its marshy ground during the summer. Grassland over-blown by sand plus heathland will be encountered on higher ground and shingle strands all-round save for the anchoring location at White Strand and its adjacent beach where there are many attractive little sandy beaches backed by dunes.


The view northwestward from the anchorage
Image: Burke Corbett


From a boating point of view, this remote island is a nice lunchtime spot at the dead centre of the archipelago known as Carbery’s Hundred Isles. It is a great place to let the kids loose on the lovely sandy beach or to explore the island. Although uninhabited many people come out to White Strand for the day in RIBS and it is a favourite for paddlers. The holiday home is regularly let during the summer. Likewise, people do camp overnight so you may have the company of fellow explorers in this very remote outpost of Roaringwater Bay.


What facilities are available?
There are no facilities at this remote island anchorage.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to vessel anchored of this remote island.


With thanks to:
Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford.




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