Monthly Archives: June 2014

Another Change…

So, while we intended to go to Gdansk today, we managed to get a little diverted by the island of Christianso, about 10 miles east of Bornholm…

We left Ronne on Bornholm this (Saturday) morning at 9:30, managing to extricate ourselves from the mooring box cleanly – if not without some angst. Immediatly after leaving the mooring box and before managing to exit the very tight harbor entrance, the engine quit! This could be serious – but we kept our calm and after a couple of attempts to re-start switching to different fuel filters and then to different fuel tanks, we managed to revive her and power out of the harbor without further incident.

We had a great sail to Christianso – which is on the way to Gdansk keeping the speed up between 7 and 9 knots, on a broad reach and then as we headed east around the norther cape of Bornholm we came close on the wind and continued to power our way along.

We entered the tight little harbor in Christianso just after a boat left it – so we knew there was space for us. Indeed, there was a space on the harbor wall about 50ft long – tight fit for a 44 ft boat in 15 knots of wind – but where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Christianso is a lovely little island not even a kilometer x half a kilometer – and is essentially entirely comprised of a military fort dating back to the 1600’s. The 100 permanent residents rent small homes from the Danish military and I think the whole economy relies upon the 40,000 visitors that come during the 2 months of summer…

Photos will follow when I have good internet.

A 44ft boat in a 50ft space!

A 44ft boat in a 50ft space!

Washer woman goes for it while on passage!

Washer woman goes for it while on passage!

Northern Gannet, normally found in the Atlantic, has been living here by this electric post for the past two years!

Northern Gannet, normally found in the Atlantic, has been living here by this electric post for the past two years!

Newcomer

Newcomer

Pretty streets

Pretty streets

The restaurant

The restaurant

Christianso

Christianso

Denmark

Pictures from Copenhagen where we had a really nice time:

Little Mermaid

Little Mermaid

A Palace

A Palace

Nyhavn

Nyhavn

Busy streets

Busy streets

Watching boats in Nyhavn

Watching boats in Nyhavn

Castle

Castle

Hen party in Nyhavn?

Hen party in Nyhavn?

More people.

More people.

 

We left Copenhagen for Denmark’s outlying eastern island of Bornholm – about 18 hours distant – as an overnight passage at Laurie’s behest… “If we’re going to screw up 18 hours sat on the boat – why not make it during sleeping hours primarily so we don’t waste any touring time?” Not able to argue with that logic, we departed at 5pm on Wednesday!

It was a beautiful evening – once again, sunny, dry and cool – and we headed out of the harbor into a 15 knot breeze. Unfortunately the tide was against us and as soon as we tacked to the south, we found ourselves in an adverse current and not making much progress at all. The engine went on and pretty much stayed on the rest of the trip – other than a couple of half hearted attempts to sail in 5 knots  later on.

We watched a beautiful sunset – and Laurie got to see a green flash once again. The sun sets in the north west up here and rises north east – but in reality it never really gets completely dark – this photo was taken at midnight and you can see there is still light available and 3 hours later the sun is rising.

Sunset

Sunset

And the time is... Midnight. Still light in the sky.

And the time is… Midnight. Still light in the sky.

There was even more traffic here than in the north sea – and we had to dodge various vessels from time to time as we crisscrossed the shipping “Traffic Separation Zones” – which we’re only supposed to enter at right angles…

We arrived in Bornholm at 10am and made our first attempt at mooring in a ‘box.’ This normally involves going between two pilings and bow to the pontoon, using ropes secured around the pilings to keep one’s bow from creaming the pontoon. We decided to outdo the Danes by coming in stern to – so we could get on and off easily using our swim platform…  As it happened, when we arrived there was very little wind or current and it was relatively easy to get into the box and secured – but coming in stern to was a major mistake – the pontoon is 4ft high and rigid (no tides here), so we had a difficult time getting on and off the boat. Next time we’ll know better, we’ll come in bow to and clamber over the pull-pit and anchor.

On the dock we met Lars Byder who ended up giving us a tour of the island with his wife Claire – we had an opportunity to visit a really pretty little island that we otherwise would not have seen. Lars is possibly something of a celebrity – he makes custom motor bikes. Guys back at Checon – let me know if he comes up someplace, the pictures he had of some of his creations were pretty spectacular. Claire on the other hand was commissioned to do a couple of cabinets for the Queen!!!

We cycled our tandem around too and have to say Bornholm is a very nice little destination.

Enjoying a beer on Bornholm

Enjoying a beer on Bornholm

This morning (Saturday) we’re leaving for Gdansk, Poland on an overnight trip of about 180 miles, expecting to arrive Monday morning – though we might stop off at Christanso, a small island just off Bornholm for a quick tour.

 

North Sea Crossing

We left Whitehills Marina with much trepidation. The previous evening’s discussions had left us both uneasy and nervous: about where we’re going, the North Sea, Oil rigs and their exclusion zones and how we were going to navigate the tight turn out of the harbor and into a gusty breeze…

P1030002

We left on the afternoon’s rising tide at 4:00pm. Hurdle number one turned out to be a bit of a no brainer – as we exited the harbor without any problems – and we then set about putting up sails in the large swell that was running following the last day’s pounding with heavy wind. With main up, we turned towards Norway and immediately turned off the engine and were doing 6 knots in no time flat – with just the reefed main.

A nasty cross sea lead to a rather unpleasant ride on day 1 as we would fall off one wave and rise up on the next – leading to some serious queasiness that fortunately was maintained in check with adequate doping of Stugeron. With genoa out, we were soon bounding away at 9+ knots in a 15 knot beam reach.

What a busy waterway! We threaded our way between oil rigs, support vessels and various other marine traffic. Things were made more difficult by the stiff breeze that developed and at 11:00pm we shortened sail, opting to furl the genoa and bring out the jib. Easier said than done in the building breeze – and we struggled for a while before realizing a mis-coiled furling drum was preventing an easy furl – so we headed straight downwind and attempted again – with success. We were now sailing on small jib and double reefed main and still doing 9 knots!

During our first night I was hailed by a guard vessel and warned to stay more than a mile away from two vessels identified as having limited maneuverability. I was trying to thread the needle between them – having limited maneuverability myself and since they were only 2 miles apart, it was taking some doing – and the guard boat was suspicious. In the end the Guard Vessel acknowledged that I had sufficient room to execute the plan and he even offered information regarding one of the vessels that was helpful in successfully getting ourselves clear of the big buggers!

We zigged and zagged through the two slow moving vessels and then multitudes of other floating targets including many rigs with oil flares blazing. What an impressive sight!

Come 4pm on the second day, our first 24 run showed we’d logged 200NM – all of it under sail alone. The next 24 hours produced a similar number in 196 NM – we were screaming! As we approached the Norwegian coast things got tricky – the wind veered to dead downwind – never an easy point of sail and with traffic it was made considerably more difficult. However, we managed to navigate through the gap between Norway and Denmark, where the wind promptly disappeared and we’ve been motoring for most of the way since then.

We got to watch a beautiful summer solstice sunset – which carried on going right through until dawn!!

Only sighting of Norway…

Norway!

Norway!

We saw a waterspout – and managed to avoid it!

P1030011

 

Water Spout!

Water Spout!

 

 

I'd rather be on this ship!

I’d rather be on this ship!

We’ve decided we’ll stay in Copenhagen for a couple of days at least and then head to the South East coast of Sweden and then up the east coast, taking in Oland and Gotland Islands and some of the very small islands along the western coast. Hopefully we’ll get as far as Stockholm before heading back south, probably via Lithuania, Poland and then Germany as we exit the Baltic via the Kiel canal. That’s today’s plan at least!

Copenhagen has been a nice visit – we got the tandem out and felt like a part of the city as we bicycled from sight to sight. The bike paths here are fantastic and drivers totally respect them. We’ll be leaving later today for Bornholm…

Pictures to follow when I have better internet.

 

Along the coast to Whitehills…

We left the Caledonian Canal on Wednesday morning having spent the beautiful night right beside the sea lock so that we could get out on the favorable ebb tide before everything got too shallow.

We had a wonderful trip through the canal – sorry to have rushed it – and we had great weather – nice and sunny and little wind! Great for motoring… All the lock keepers were fantastic.

Our trip to Whitehills Marina on Wednesday was also blessed with fine sunny weather but unfortunately, also windless most of the way. After 10 hours of nearly all motoring, we arrived outside the harbor – which was very difficult to make out. The entrance is super narrow and then you have to make this very tight turn to port into the diminutive outer harbor… Fortunately we made and camped between two other boats and then waited until we went aground… yes the harbor is not quite deep enough – but no matter – soft mud cushioned the blow… Bertie the harbormaster has a great manner – and when we docked, he handed us a package of stuff along with an SD card of photos he’d taken of our arrival!

We were going to leave for Copenhagen on the morning high tide – but did not feel ready. When the wind piped up to about 25kts, we decided we’d wait for the afternoon tide – so that we don’t have to negotiate the tight turn with an adverse wind… Will be leaving in an hour of so…

(In a rush so pics in wrong order!)

We're in!

We’re in!

Making the turn...

Making the turn…

Approach - Smile!

Approach – Smile!

Narrow Harbor entrance to come...

Narrow Harbor entrance to come…

 

We’re on our Way Again

New Rudder installed in a straightforward manner and we managed to depart Ardfern as planned on the last of the ebb tide on Saturday morning.

Both of us were nervous and decidedly unpracticed, but we managed to get ourselves down Lock Craignish and through the opening Dorus Mor with a gentle 4 knot favorable current! Then we decided to raise the sails… The wind came up nicely and before you know it we were sailing at 8 knots with a 2 – 3 knot tidal push towards Fort William.

We decided not to push through all the way to Fort William but instead to take Simon Currin’s recommendation and anchor in the little Loch Corrie under the Morven Hills. Very nice! Interesting anchoring however in 60ft of water…

Loch Corrie - Anchored under the Morvern Hills

Loch Corrie – Anchored under the Morvern Hills

We got up early Sunday (5:00) in order to take advantage of current and to get to Corpach – the entrance to the Caledonian Canal – which we reached just before 9:00am and went straight into the Sea Lock.

Transiting up towards Neptune’s Staircase a series of 7 or 8 up locks we made about every mistake in the book – failing miserably to dock the boat at every opportunity, unable to throw rope to helpers on land – you name it, everything seemed to go wrong – and tensions were running very high – but we managed to keep everything controlled.

Hold her straight!

Hold her straight!

The start of Neptune's Staircase.

The start of Neptune’s Staircase.

A different view of Ben Nevis

A different view of Ben Nevis

We locked through with a Belgian boat – and had people watching all our mistakes – and as we progressed up the Staircase, we chatted with spectators – all quite an ego boost (until we made the next mistake!)

Fortunately but the end of the day we were pretty well practiced and things ran smoothly…

 

Beautiful section between Lochs Lochy and Oich.

Beautiful section between Lochs Lochy and Oich.

Our overnight stopover at Cullochy Lock

Our overnight stopover at Cullochy Lock

It’s great to be back on the water and on our way again!!!

 

Shock! Horror! Probe!

The rudder arrived!

It fits!

It’s on the boat!

WE’RE IN THE WATER!!!

 

Tomorrow we’ll be on our way – heading up to (or towards at least) Fort William on the ebb tide, then taking advantage of the flood tide up to Fort William. Plan is to get to the Caledonian Canal and head through it Monday through Wednesday – and then, weather permitting, cross the North Sea (a 4 – 5 day passage) to Copenhagen in Denmark. From there we’ll head into the Baltic.

Scotland has been great – but it’s equally great to be on our way again!

 

Home to Yorkshire

Unfortunately, the shipping of the rudder got somewhat screwed up – and now not expected to arrive until June 18th! We therefore decided to head south to family – to the Yorkshire Dales where we’ve spent the last few very enjoyable days… Inspected Laurie’s new place, and a local disused Lead Mine.

Laurie's New Place??

Laurie’s New Place??

Fixer Upper Missing an endFriendly - unkempt neighboursGood ViewWaterfallHawthornButtercupsLead MineLocal Lead MineFamily Dinner

 

A couple more photos from a walk across Shunner – the highest hill in the area.

 

Going up Shunner - upper wesleydale

Going up Shunner – upper wesleydale

Coming off Shunner 1

 

Fed Up!

We’re convinced that Capitalism – or perhaps commercialism – or perhaps plain greed – is screwing with the British people… Last night we tried to enjoy our cockpit, eating cheeses that we both like – Laurie a Cranberry Wensleydale and me a Stilton…

Both were purchased at Tescos – the British equivalent of Stop and Shop – and both were absolute crap. Both were dry and boring and we both ended up throwing our cheese overboard – at not insignificant cost.

That got us to thinking about our shopping experience at Tescos in general… Not good. Nearly everything thrust upon us was a Tescos brand – and offering 2 for 1 or some similar deal. You just know it’s all going to be crap and it sure is. We sorely regret not going to Elijah Allen in Hawes, Wensleydale – or the butchers – Cocketts – to get all our fresh produce. So much better. So much more friendly. So less plastic. Maybe not as convenient – but what we ended up with was pure crap.

Sorry Elijah Allen – Sorry Cocketts. Won’t happen again…

On the other hand here we are in Gigha, Scotland – and got to visit their really cool Rhododendron based gardens… check this out!…

 

 

Whisky!

With time on our hands, we took a ferry back to the Isle of Islay and went Whisky hunting!

The small island of Islay is blessed with no fewer than 8 distilleries – so we went about visiting them all. Made for a good way of getting to see the whole island – and served well to stock the bar!

Caol Ila - Very nice :-)

Caol Ila – Very nice :-)

Bunnahbhain - Ho Hum

Bunnahbhain – Ho Hum

Kilchoman - new distillery - and surprisingly good!

Kilchoman – new distillery – and surprisingly good!

Bruichladdich - Totally undrinkable. Put it in the medicine cabinet!

Bruichladdich – Totally undrinkable. Put it in the medicine cabinet!

Lagavulin - Not so good on the rocks! (Still a favorite.)

Lagavulin – Not so good on the rocks! (Still a favorite.)

Ardbeg - Disappointing visit.

Ardbeg – Disappointing visit.

Bowmore - Biggest - not the best but quite enjoyable!

Bowmore – Biggest – not the best but quite enjoyable!

Laphroaig - Nice and peaty!

Laphroaig – Nice and peaty!

A Man needs a Hobby!

A Man needs a Hobby!