Inverness to Whitehills May 24th Day
After a day of maintenance for the boat in Inverness – investigating, but not solving, water leaks; renewing the wrapping around some of the sharper points on the boat, in electrician’s tape, to protect the sails and the delicate skin of the crew; filling water tanks; re-victualling – we left Inverness and started our journey to Whitehills, not far from Banff and just past Lossiemouth (sic?), early in the day. A day, for the most part, of absolute calm seas and no wind. On goes the ‘3rd sail’, a.k.a. the ‘Donkey’, a.k.a. the engine. So, no wind, but no rain either, meant a day motoring eastward, in fair to good conditions, to arrive at our overnight port in reasonably good time.
At Whitehills, the harbour entrance was really very narrow. However the skipper, Alastair, demonstrated his experience and boat-handling skills by getting us onto the pontoon with the crew and boat in one piece, no skuffs, no scratches. Good job!
Our day had been full of anticipation as we had hoped, rather like lasts year’s RBE, that the local RAF Air/Sea Rescue helicopter would like to practice rescue skills with us. Early contact with them seemed to be positive, although there was some question about fitting the fuel cost into their budget, so I was nearly wetting myself in anticipation. Our hopes were soon to be dashed by some technical, aeronautical problem. Hence, no High Line airlift. Boo Hoo. gang aftly again. Robbie Burns, I ask again, “Were you a sailor?”
Banff have been holding a ‘Coast Festival’ over the last week or so which ends on Sunday (25th). Various activities with a, mainly, arts flavour, have been taking place and we intend, after our morning lessons (‘Rules of the Road’ today) to get down into town to participate.
However, I do need to catch up with my other studies, such as Weather, IRPCS (Rules of the Road), buoyage systems and some more knots. Guess I’ll be tied up for a while.
On Monday we’re planning to get round Rattray Head and move on further South toward our final destination for this leg of Edinburgh. They’ll be a few more stops in between starting with that very, very commercial port, Peterhead.
Pork Chops, Potatoes and Cauliflower/Broccoli Cheese bake for dinner on Saturday, with me as guest Chef while Sunday saw us dine out at the local Chippie where they served fresh (that morning) fish and jacket potatoes with salad. No chips for me.
Update Monday 26th – After a tortuous, and I mean, tortuous journey around Rattray Head when, for a period of about 2hours, we simply tacked back and forth along the same line without making any forward progress – such is sailing into the wind and against the, rather strong, tide. Ce’st la. The tide eventually turned, as did the wind, and we were able to make a tentative approach into Peterhead having travelled twice as far as that fabled Crow flew. And tentative because it is a very busy port with a lot of ship movements. Thrown into the mix was the fact that a sand bar, newly acquired by the marina as a result of the winter storms, was lying somewhere just inside the entrance to the marina but was not yet on the charts. The harbour master was on hand to, at least, watch us edge into the marina and our berth. As an aside I will say that, wherever we have been, north of Watford Gap, we have always had a very friendly welcome in either marinas or harbours.
Peterhead is, well, Peterhead. Port and HM Prison both.
So, from Peterhead, after a day of laundry, repairing (whipping) headsail sheets, washing the decks and general tidy up, we are planning the leave at 21:00hours, just before sunset, in order to travel to Arbroath on our first full ‘overnight’ passage. We’ll be at sea when the sun sets and when it rises. We’ll make port by lunchtime and can sample some of the famous Arbroath Smokies. I have no idea just what they are but have been told to try them. I am game for anything as long as its legal and doesn’t involve tattoos.
So, “Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be home for breakfast”
May 25/26th Day 49/50