At the deepest point of the Lower Lough Erne, more than 60 metres deep, we spot our destination, a pipe with a small buoy. We have been told that it was installed there to measure water quality in the lake at different depths.
This measure point is a site of the ECN (Environmental Change Network).The ECN programme operates a network of 12 terrestrial and 45 freshwater sites throughout the UK. The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) of Northern Ireland, Belfast, provides this site on the Lower Lough Erne and covers the costs of ECN measurements.
“Water monitoring is undertaken at the deepest portion of Lower Lough Erne with limited samples taken along a gradient towards the main river inflow of the lake.” ECN measure point Lower Erne
We turn to southeast and drive dead slow enjoying the view around.
At Devenish East we stop for a break with lunch on the sun deck watching geese on the shore and Molaise III, the NIEA ferry boat, with her fast Yamaha hydra drive 422 around 150 hp. In April we had seen her, not yet named, at Castle Archdale.
We go on to Enniskillen where we surprisingly meet Bernie and Austin at the jetty. Austin is feeling a bit under the weather. We walk to the Tesco supermarket for shopping and drive back in a taxi with a lot of food.
The sunny weather continues while we are going upstream on the Erne. The water level has gone nearly back to normal after the flooding in August, when the jetties were under water. Without meeting another boat we go on to Tully Inishmore. Just before Killyhevlin we spot a kingfisher flying in the sun.
We arrive at Tully Inishmore in the evening and meet Stefan (German resident, single-handed on this trip) and Carsten ( Bahrain resident) & crew with their two hired boats.
Friday 18/09/09 Tully Inishmore - Naan Island - Belturbet - Quivvy Waters
Length of boat trip: 4.8 hours
Motto of the day: Wildlife and a mild day
In the morning we chat with our nice boating neighbours. Harro Liebel, a passionate converter of car engines to boat engines (Mercedes, Peugot and others), on a hired boat of ABC beside us, helps with his tube to fill up water. Stefan also comes along for a chat. So, boating time without any hurry means sometimes two hours for taking water. Finally we leave and drive on further upstream.
The mild day starts dull and we get less sun but also no rain today. Our first break is at Naan Island and we enjoy the lunch again on the sundeck. In the afternoon we drive on to Belturbet.
At ESL some boats are starting today and when I pass the fuelling jetty, one hire boat changes to the opposite shore and rams the jetty, so I stop and wait till the situation has cleared.
We leave in the evening for mooring in the quiet Quivvy Waters. Here we savour the wildlife on the Finn River, no, not in the kitchen! What I mean is the unique sound of the birds and their action on the river! An armada of black coots passes by and a kingfisher hunts successfully in front of the jetty in the fading daylight.