Mick, a well-known water sportsman, left Garrarus Beach at 10am on Thursday, June 11th and is aiming to return to the same spot this Friday, some 23 days later.
Battling wind and rain, Mick has paddled through unseasonably rough seas in his effort to take and break the record time.
In 2011 Jeff Allen and Harry Whelan circumnavigated Ireland in 25 days in a supported expedition – Mick is attempting not to match this but to beat it and make his the fastest time ever.
Unlike Allen and Whelan, Mick is carrying all his own gear, pitching his tent and cooking his own food each night.
Entirely self-sufficient he relies on food parcels sent from Waterford to various points in the country.
He’s had a meal or two and slept in two beds since he left but for the rest of the time has been fending for himself, paddling up to ten hours a day and sometimes getting up at 3am to make up time lost to bad weather or to catch the tide around a particularly tricky stretch of water. He has seen a mini tornado, basking sharks, dolphins and a lot of rain and windy weather!
In 2010 Mick with his good friend Brian Fanning broke the record for the fastest time to kayak across the Irish Sea from County Wexford to White Sands Bay in Wales in nine hours and 38 minutes raising over €11,000 for cancer charity the Solas Centre in Waterford city. Mick’s other kayaking achievements include:
* Winning the Devizes (with Jim Morrissey) – Westminster canoe race three times consecutively (senior k2). This 125-mile non-stop race is considered to be the toughest canoe race in the world.
* Winning the International Liffey Descent on seven occasions and finishing second or third on a further five occasions and
* He was also a member of the first Irish team ever to circumnavigate the coast of Iceland.
News is spreading of O’Meara’s trip round Ireland among paddlers throughout the country and he was met on the beach up in Portballintrae by a group of local kayakers who had been following his progress and were waiting to do what they could to help him that evening.
At the time of writing, Mick is the ‘home stretch’, just on the Newtownards Peninsula and is hoping to get down the east coast this week reaching his destination in Waterford by Friday.
The forecast this week is for southerly winds every day meaning a gruelling final few days which could put O’Meara off the water and jeopardise the record attempt. But fingers crossed, the weather Gods will shine in Mick’s favour for the remainder of his epic solo effort.
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