Edinburgh (Leith) to Eyemouth
We left Edinburgh and, regretfully, Her Majesty’s former Yacht, Britannia, early on Tuesday morning when the lock was opened to let a Scottish Border Control vessel out. We simply followed him out – a reversal of what he normally does.
The sea was calm and slight so we were forced to start the engine and motor for most of the way. Then the heavens opened and we experienced our first real deluge from the skies since we’d started this RBE. Only, and the thing is this, the rain appeared to stop-start. Mostly ‘start’ when Allan and I were on watch and ‘stop’ when Neil and Duncs came on watch. The result is, as you would imagine, two very wet and bedraggled crew – me and Allan (see Gallery) – and two, relatively, dry crew in Duncs and Neil. We must have been in the weather gods’ bad books for some, unknown, reason. It has gone down into my Book of Experiences for future reference. Note to self – Get a small towel to place around neck to stop water ingress down the back of the collar. Note to self #2 – don’t go on watch in the rain.
A note on Britannia: I had mentioned, rather hastily in hindsight, that it was a little ‘pokey’ by today’s uber-yacht standards. Well, having done the full tour I can now honestly say I’m impressed – not something that happens a lot with me – with the yacht. Not only the simplicity but the very obvious exceptionally high standards that were maintained, including some anachronisms that should have been abolished long ago. A simple example is that sailors on duty, cleaning the decks say, were allowed to dispense with their cap on the grounds that they were then officially “out of uniform” so that Her Maj, Phillip, et al, did not have to return their numerous salutes (which they would be obliged to do had they been ‘in uniform’). Another is that, if on duty and one of the Royal entourage passes, then one must stand to attention and stare straight ahead until said personage passes by. ? . I am all for tradition and standards but….
Flora and Fauna update. We’ve not seen any dolphins since we travelled to Inverness. Nor have we seen the Great Skua that was an almost daily occurrence on the West Coast of Scotland. We have plenty of Puffins, sitting on the sea’s surface, dipping for whatever they can get. I had always assumed that is was sand-eels as that is the stereotypical picture we see of them. However, given that we are travelling over 60meters of water depth, I think it unlikely their little lungs would have enough capacity to take them down to where the sand eels live, near the bottom, in the sand. They are in obvious good health so they must be good hunters.
The other bird that I have been impressed by is the Gannet. We’ve seen lots and many a time in their stereo-typical posture of “dive-bombing’ , at great speed, into the sea to, I guess, ‘spear’ their prey. In flight they are graceful and have beautiful colouring of a bright yellow head and beak and jet-black wing tips. How they got their reputation, of being ungainly and greedy birds, is a mystery. Perhaps I’ll canvass to have their name changed by deed-poll.
Eyemouth is, well, Eyemouth. A stereotypical fishing harbour with a population of around 3,500. Judging by the number of take-aways shops, they must eat out every night. Good for them.
It should be noted, and here I tittered, the little river running into Eyemouth is called the Eye Wash. Couldn’t make it up, eh?
June 3rd, Day 59