Monthly Archives: August 2014

Irish sea and Dublin

Sorry it’s been a while since we updated. Being in Dublin kill my creativity, the rain, the harbor, the constant butchering off decent music by all the pub musicians just make me drink Guinness or hide under a blanket. I mean what the f* is up with all this bad music, in my world all Irish people can plan at least 4 instruments, sing in key and do riverdance while sleeping. My view on the world is crumbling….

So the Irish sea then? We set out in a gale and hoisted our main with two reefs in it. That small piece of sail pushed us with an average speed of 6-7 knots all the way past Isle of Mann. We had panned maybe looking at Northern Ireland but as it just swooshed past we decided not to. Rather we forgot about it and all of a sudden we had passed the border.

Northern Ireland over there in the distance.

Northern Ireland over there in the distance.

Coming down the coast in the early hours of the morning we came upon a massive fleet of fishing-vessels doing a small dance for us and our AIS locked crazy again. Thank god for the AIS system again, without it we would have had an tougher morning then we did. Even tough they couldn’t make up their mind on what to do and we had to make constant course alterations.

AIS fun....

AIS fun….

Dublin has been almost fun and we’ve met a lot of nice people, people that we wouldn’t have met if we hadn’t been sailing. Ida, Pers sister, stepped off a plane and she’s now a member of our crew (we really need to sort out the crew section of the blogg soon) as we now continue away from the rain trying to outrun hurricanes, autumn storms and all the nice things that the northern part of the north atlantic has to offer from september and onwards.

Right now we have a backlog of comments but we’ll reply and sort through it when we get to spain. We’ll be heading out to see this week so we’ll just update with position and how it’s going until we reach la Coruña.
Here is a pic of the next leg.

Next leg towards spain.

Next leg towards spain.

By the way, no icebergs yet but I know they’re lurking somewhere close..

We’re in…

… Dublin. Update coming tomorrow or some day before Friday.

We’re all fine just a bit tired after a long night with rough seas. Now we’re moored up in a marina inside the harbor, but hey, it’s quite cheap.

Islay smells like burning wetlands

Let’s make a post about how we’ve seen Islay.
After a 15-16 hour sail down from Oban, we rounded the green buoy and moored up nicely in Port Ellen.
In the dark, as we were steaming (yes, we started the motor when the wind stopped working in our way) I went down to check my navigation and all of a sudden I felt the smell of smoke. Not cigarette smoke but things are f-ing burning somewhere smoke. Smelling my way all over Trusty cursing and starting to make worst-case scenarios in my head checking everywhere that I could ever imagine that we could be burning. After checking the engine compartment I stuck my head outside to just check around for I don’t know, something out of the ordinary, what we always do every couple minutes when under way. The smoke was worse… a light in my head turned on. We’re downwind from Islay, they’re malting using peat to smoke and dry the malt…
All off a sudden everything was fine and I went back to checking in the flashing lights actually flashed the same way it says in the charts.

Our track towards Isay, we were doing about 4-5 through the water.

Our track towards Isay, we were doing about 4-5 through the water.

Port Ellen is a good place to get a glimpse of what island life must be like here in the Scottish archipelago, go in on google maps and watch on street-view what I mean. It’s a really dull place and we needed to go by bus to the next town, Bowmore, to get our Visa cards to work. I’m not saying it’s a bad place, the scenery is not bad, there is a beach that’s not too shabby and if it weren’t for the water temperature it sure would have had a lot of sunbathers on it. There is one downside, the maltery, they burn peat 24/7 right now and the whole place smell like well, burning peat.
The malt is manly for the seven distilleries here on Islay and that makes it bearable because the product it end up as it quite nice. Martina had her birthday here and we went out in town to celebrate it. We hadn’t booked so we got the restaurant we deserved… but hey, who puts chiliconcarne next to steak pie on a menu (in between burger, curry, mac n cheese and fish n chips)? Now we’re trying on the other restaurant in town.

Nice neighborhood isn't it.

Nice neighborhood isn’t it.

The marina is one of the cheapest so far and you get every fourth night free, the volunteers that collect the money have about as much change as we did when we arrived so it might take a couple of nights to get things even. (Remember the bus ride to Bowmore)
The best part of Port Ellen’s location is that you can walk to three of the better Scottish (in my view) distilleries, Laphroaig, Ardbeg and Lagavulin. We took a stroll to Laphroaig in the sun (we saw blue sky and sunlight three times in our walk, that is sunny) and did a distillery tour. When in the visitors centre you can taste a couple of different drams and if you join the Friends of Laphroaig you get a free 50ml bottle every year, as long as you collect it there.
Needless to say we stayed there for a bit and tasted some of the different blends they had in store and signed up as friends so now we own a square foot each of Islay soil, at least on the paper. We can proudly say that we own land in the same field as H.R.H Prince Charles.

Route options for the next leg.

Route options for the next leg.

One thing that you have to figure out when cruising (listen up dummies) is weather forecasting. When I saw the weather patterns a couple of days before leaving Oban it behaved the way I expected it to. The last part of Bertha was giving us the wind needed to have a nice sail down here, knowing that a new deep low was heading down from behind Island I figured we could stay here in Islay for the weekend letting that pass and using the later part of it to get stable wind down to Ireland. Well that didn’t work.. Writing this I should be sitting in quite strong winds looking forward ‘til Sunday and the nice winds. Right now it’s sunny and the newest weather I downloaded tell me the wind is hitting about 03:00 Sunday morning, right about when I’d be sleeping the last hours before waking up ready to sail out of the harbour.
Good thing about forecasting is that when I download the weather tomorrow it might be the same way I predicted it again.

Ps, it was almost but a mix between what I expected and what the new weather said. This weather-file at least mirror the reality..

Islay, Port Ellen

Finally we’re tied up at a pontoon in Islay.
It was an interesting sail at least, we got to sail quite a bit before giving up to the direction finder and starting our little engine that could and huffed and puffed all the way against sea and wind saying, “I think I can, I think I can”.

We had a fun moment today when the tide came in in the northern part of the sound of Jura. Trusty was swoooshing through the water doing 5-6 knots under a reefed main and our small headsail, the swooshing continued but the speed over ground on our GPS slowly dropped.. and dropped… and well started to gain speed again, in the opposite direction.
We’ll make a proper post with some pictures of Islay and Port Helen tomorrow, if we’re not tasting whisky all day.

Rain, wind, rain, wind

Now we’re tired of being rained on in Oban, let’s move south… Only thing we have planned is picking up Ida (my sister) in Dublin on the 22 of august and after that it’s sailing south. The longer we linger around up here in rainyland the shittier the weather will be and the harder it will be to get moving.

The weather situatioon right now.. Wind and rain...

The weather situation right now.. Wind and rain…

We’re steaming out from Oban in a couple of hours and pushing to Port Ellen or maybe Dublin if we feel like it. The wind isn’t straight ahead right now so we might actually be able to sail a bit.. 🙂

Edinburgh and Oban

We’ve been in Oban for about a week now and it’s relaxing and a bit slow. Our leaking window killed our navigation computer and now I’m waiting for the people at MaxSea to open up the licenses again.

Edinburg. Between the church and the wheel is our hotel.

Edinburgh. Between the church and the wheel is our hotel.

So what have we been up to then? Well we dropped of dad in Edinburgh and took a hotel-night there to just relax and see the town. Visiting the castle and admiring the beautiful city was nice in the sun. Yes, you read it, sunshine, we actually had a really sunny day in Scotland. Apparently we were in town as the same time as the fringefestival so the city was lined with performance ar,t improv-comedy and well, you get tired of hearing “Come and see the best comedy in the world, this will change your life” everywhere you went. My life is fine as it is right now and I don’t think seeing some improvised show will be giving me the money to sail indefinitely so count me out.
In the night we walked to the underbelly of the city and found Brew Dog pub witch was fun. As one enters the door you’re greeted by a sign explaining all that’s needed to know about the pub.

No live sports!
No fotball!
No shots!
No stella!
But we do have boardgames…

That kind of sums up what a brewpub should be all about. We ordered all the beer they had on tap and sat down and started tasting (it was just 1/3 pint glasses). Once we completed that I went to the bar and got us a bottle of Abstrakt and we ended the night with great beer and walked home through the streets of Edinburgh dodging small groups of comedians, living statues and French rollerbladers performing something strange and well artsy…

Bertha the hurricane (what’s left of her) blessed us with rain last night and wind today so we’ll sit here in the marina and wait the email from MaxSea as we listen to the wind howling.
At least the window is almost leakfree now. Per and half a tube of Silcaflex almost sorted that out and now its just impoving that seal, if that doesn’t work it’s gaffertapetime.

New pet!

Every yacht need a pet to do pest-control and now we have one too. Meet our new crew member, who unfortunately don’t have a name yet, maybe you have a suggestion, comment or e-mail us.

Trusty's new crew member.

Trusty’s new crew member.

We’re going to write about our trip to Edinburgh and some other things during this weekend and as soon as the wind from Bertha the hurricane drops a bit we’ll continue to Islay and Port Helen for a bit of beverage testing.

Tides, rain, mountains and the direction-finder

A feature that few know about is that Trusty has a big arrow on top of the mast always pointing towards the next waypoint, guiding us towards our goal (where ever that might be). Wow what a good thing you might say, how does it work? Well, I would answer, it points to where the wind is coming from. Oh, you’ll say, pondering a bit and then look up into the rigging, that’s not very convenient.

Ben Nevis, and Fort William in its natural habitat.

Ben Nevis, and Fort William in its natural habitat.

Steaming (I’ll say steaming because I’m get tired of writing motoring) out from Corpach (Fort William) and setting course down the almost fjord-like sound towards Oban we’re of course greeted by the wind being herded by the mountains to show us what direction we should be heading (I promise the wind turned as the bay turned).
I’m starting to realize that this will be a costly part of the sailing, soon we’ll have the wind on our hindquarters and sailing will be smooth and nice, until that we’re going to have to burn some more fossils. We had the most British lunch so far motoring in the beautiful fjord. (tea, bacon, beans, egg and branston)

Mmmmm, lunch...

Mmmmm, lunch…

We ended up in a small bay anchored a bit out from the shore with a beautiful landscape as a backdrop for our dinner (meat, potatoes, carrots fried in a pan with a tin-can of chopped tomatoes over it) as wind died. The water was almost like a mirror and the sun came out and painted the hills and mountains with yellowish green as we sat there in tranquility, if it hadn’t been for the screaming birds hovering the fish-farm 100m away. It wasn’t even raining and there we were in an oasis of calmness getting stressed out by birds constantly screeching messing up the evening. Scenery 5/5 sound pollution 10/5.

Tranquility bay.

Tranquility bay.

It took us ‘round two hours “steaming” from our small cove in to Oban where we moored in Oban Marina, on a small island across the bay from town. Here we have a slip and a small restaurant where we had dinner and beers. Beer might be one of the more important liquids (except water and diesel) on Trusty; having worked in brew-pups for a while really opens up the concept of beer actually having flavour. So far, the Scottish beer we’ve tasted have been bland and watery. In Inverness a local pub served us Fosters when we ordered a pint as we dropped in for a quick one (I saw that they had better stuff, ales, stouts and porters, but those were for the locals not tourist, idiots like us). Now as we reached Oban that changed; The Waypoint, a small pub looking quite unpolished in our marina had craft beer with familiar flavour. Beer from the Isle of Mull, beer from Oban bay and well, beer that we liked. Now we’re back in business again and I think Trusty will float even lower after we’ve acquired a couple of litres of the amber liquids…

Mountain stream in the Scottish countryside.

Mountain stream in the Scottish countryside.

The canal

The caledonian canal…

Let us sum up traveling through the Great Glenn at a speed of 4.5 knots (8.3 km/h). We can do it as a Q&A maybe…

Q: So was it raining all the time?
A: Naah, only once or twice a day, good weather in Scotland means you’ll see the sun and the rain only hits you a couple of times a day. Saying that we had stunning weather (rain once a day maybe).
Q: High/lowlights?
A: High is easy, it’s beautiful you know, all the mountains, lush green forests and sheep everywhere. Just like the brochure but they must have taken the pictures on the only sunny day that year. Lows.. Harder, but I’ll go for the landscaping. If you have a canal through all that stunning scenery, you might want to trim the trees closest to it so that you might actually see something. A lot of the time you spot something in between the trees and by the time you’ve got your camera ready it’s too late…
Q: Being your first time as a skipper trough a canal how did it go?
A: Actually better than I thought. It was the first time Martina even saw a canal (except for in a picture), going from that to piloting Trusty through a lock was good progression in a week.
Q: Nessie?
A: Don’t bring it up.. We were motoring with no cares in the world and all of a sudden the depth sounder went from 245 to 3m and we heard a roar as she surfaced yelling at us to surrender our beer and 3:50. Only quick reflexes from us, throwing rakfisk (Norwegian smelly stuff) at her, saved the day. We’d been saving that shit for keeping boatboys of us in the Caribbean, it’s an irreplaceable loss.
Q: For real?
A: Nope, but we took a picture of something that might be a brand new sighting. You judge for yourself.

OMG Nessie!!

OMG Nessie!!

The canal have some sisterly connection to Göta Kanal that goes through Sweden, made by almost the same group. They made the Scottish version first and then the lead engineer was consulting engineer for the Swedish, not saying that the Swedish is better but the locks are shorter and the landscape is not as dramatic as the Scottish one. Hence, you don’t get side-tracked by discussions about if it’s a deer or a sheep you see silhouetted high in the mountains, might have been a goat. There are a lot of rental boats going up and down the canal and the quality of the skippers vary quite a bit, we heard from some other swedes on the canal that they had been watching one of the big ones try and dock at a pontoon for about an hour before finally sorting them self out. One is always a bit more careful when entering a lock full of the rental cruisers.

Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness.

Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness.

We rented a car and went out on Isle of Skye for one day. It’s strange finding landscape like that in Europe and when the rain started falling again and we drove home while it was pouring one could only imagine why the Scottish folklore is full of wonderful stories, better to sit by the fireplace, sipping something nice making up things than being out in the marvellous Scottish weather.
Stopping at a local chip-shop we were informed that hot beverages weren’t served after 17:00 on Saturdays, kind of annoying when one is craving a tea after all the rain and wind. Instead, we found a small shop, bought some beer and whiskey and went home to our heating-system in Trusty. We actually have two separate systems and to be honest both were working at the same time for a bit.

Our home in the green.

Our home in the green.

The sad part about the canal is that you kind of get sensory overloaded after a while, when you go from Inverness the really beautiful part comes in the end of the canal and then you’ve already filled your cameras with pictures of mountains, castle ruins, sheep, Nessie, goats and sinking/sunk/soon to be sinking boats. The same with your mind, when finally Ben Nevis shows up and boast about being the highest one in all of Britain you just go, meh another mountain, big deal? (Per is a pessimist! Martina doesn’t agree.)
I think one really shouldn’t take the whole canal in one go if you really want to appreciate it all, my dad who just had been to Loch Ness were really liked the second part and I think we would have too if we hadn’t reached our quota on mountains and sheep.

Summer clothing Scottish style!

Summer clothing Scottish style!

Finally, all the nice Scottish summer weather proved to be a good leak finder and we’ve spent one day just fixing the dripping that our warm DRY nice boat all of a sudden showed. Martina showed great humour marking all the leeks with pictures of leaks.
It’s now been a month since we last worked and I think we’re slowly realizing that we’re not headed back at the end of our 3 week vacation. It’s a bit difficult to understand, hopefully we’ll adjust but who knows.

Neist Point, Isle of Skye.

Neist Point, Isle of Skye.

Going through the sealock in Corpach we enter a new world, a world of tidal currents, 4 meter differences of the water surface, rush floods and other things that might scare the living shit out of an inexperienced sailor. Still haven’t found the Icebergs of my dreams but I know they’re lurking out there, the temperature in the mornings tell me I must be close…