About us and the boat

About us and the boat:

We were lucky enough to retire early at the start of 2013 so we could head off and "live the dream" on board our Nordhavn 47 Trawler Yacht. The idea is to see some of the planet, at a slow 6 - 7 knots pace. There are no fixed goals or timings, we just had a plan to visit Scotland and then probably the Baltic before heading south.

The Baltic has been postponed as we didn't manage to see everything we wanted to in Scotland during our first year owing to family issues. The idea is to visit the nicer areas in these latitudes before heading south for warmer weather. If we like somewhere, we will stay for a while. If not, we will just move on. So, for the people who love forward planning and targets, this might seem a little relaxed!

If anyone else is contemplating a trawler yacht life, maybe our experiences will be enough to make you think again, or maybe do it sooner then you intended!

The boat is called Rockland and she is built for long distance cruising and a comfortable life on board too. If you want to see more about trawler yachts and the Nordhavn 47 in particular, there is a link to the manufacturers website in our "useful stuff" section. For the technically minded, there is a little info and pictures of the boat and equipment in the same section

Regards

Richard and June

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Kip Marina life

Showery, grey, windy. Must be Scotland in the summer?? Not a big issue though. We had planned a day of maintenance and "stuff".

So, the first lucky recipient was the little Tohatsu outboard that we use on the roll-up dinghy. All 3.5 storming horsepower of it. (slightly more than the average egg whisk but not much). The engine had its 10 hour service. We love small uncomplicated two-stroke outboard engines even if the EU doesn't and has banned them. For the BMW folks who know Bob Griffiths, you can see from his blog  http://blog.mailasail.com/ile-jeudi/277 that he shares this view! All to do with weight and ease of carting around which becomes more and more important with age.

So, our little egg whisk baby:





had her first service - very hard stuff, change the gearbox oil, grease various bolts that will seize if left as manufactured (stainless bolts into aluminium alloy castings!) and not much more. Well within the rather limited technical competence of the Captain.  

After the Silverstone GP fun, we were visited by the Nordhavn 47 owner whose boat Annie M appeared in yesterday's update:



Owen keeps his boat here in Kip and we shared Nordhavn cruising stories and general boating stuff. A most amiable afternoon / early evening which included the news that we would be invited to the SNOC. Sounds like a disease? Well, it might be. SNOC = Scottish Nordhavn Owners Club (all most unofficial of course).  Owen said that the Nordhavn owners who are based up here get together each summer and that we would be welcome. Could be an interesting update - prepare for pictures of a new 63 foot boat based up here that will make you all realise just how much we are slumming it:. 





As we are now feeling like the underprivileged folks, we will be heading off to Edinburgh tomorrow to stay in a normal bricks and mortar hotel ready to catch up with the Aussie arrivals, Peter and Amanda. Blog updates might be a little limited in the next few days as we hit the high spots of Edinburgh, Harlow and Caister-on-sea. Prepare for pictures of Edinburgh.....



Saturday, 29 June 2013

Glasgow revisited (after many years)

We decided that whilst we were here, a day in sunny Glasgow was needed. Of course, we can't really wait around  for a sunny day there - we are old and don't have many years left on this earth.

So, a Scotrail train from Inverkip:


Again one little platform but rather swish compared to Falmouth!

We were soon  reminded of the "west of Glasgow" caricature. Remember Rab C Nesbitt? 3 guys got on in Paisley and managed to make the whole carriage stink of smoke even though they weren't. Their accent was wonderfully thick and the only words you could easily recognise began with an f. Luckily, that word seemed to have a place in every sentence. To restore our faith in the Scottish diet, they were drinking Irn Bru; the full sugar laden gut busting version, not the strange stuff we saw in Dunoon. So nice to have the stereotype confirmed so strongly and even before we hit the city.

A good day wandering around town. Being fed up with writing "sorry about the image quality, our old camera struggled with this" in the blog, we had resolved to buy something better. Of course,"something" is easy to write. Deciding what "something" should be when you are not up to speed with digital cameras is hard. However, we had already taken advice from Norman (of Bobil fame) and an ex-colleague from Germany who is a real camera Profi. (Profi, for the non Germans = professional).

Of course, no one had the body and lens combination we settled for so the hunt will continue down south next week.

Lunch was a good find. We read the Scotsman newspaper in a coffee shop (no translations needed, perhaps after the SNP win the referendum this will change) and saw their top 10 restaurant reviews listed. Hence a visit to the Central Market Glasgow deli / cafe / restaurant:



Well worth a lunchtime stop but not a special visit to Glasgow. For that, there is No 16 (look on Tripadvisor) which sounds as good as it was years ago.

We'd forgotten just what great buildings Glasgow has, even if the ground floor of most now hosts a "chain" shop or a pub! 




Think we need longer in the city to explore properly. If the weather is unkind when we return from "down south" that might just happen.

Patrick news:

Colin (yes, the alias for the 747 captain with his wise words on safety at sea) wondered if some of Patrick's errant behaviour was because we leave him guarding the boat when we go for jaunts ashore. Maybe more attention / inclusion would help.

We will consider taking him on the flight down south next week, as long as the BA rules don't insist on us buying him a seat too. Do they have fishy snacks on the BA refreshment trolley? Or will Patrick have to order another guinness? 





Thursday, 27 June 2013

To Inverkip in the drizzle / mist

Well, our luck with the weather in Scotland had to break sometime. It chose today. Kind of dreich (see earlier posts). Actually not kind of, real living and breathing dreich. It started raining early on and we heard from the lady in the little chandlers shop @ Holy Loch that the midges were very active when she walked her dog this morning. Ideal wet and humid conditions for them. Apparently a local guy had an accident and ended up laying in a ditch unable to move properly. The midges rushed off to the phone box, called all their buddies and had a great time. The victim said that the bites and the inflammation they caused was way worse than the broken bones from the accident.

So, we retired to the relative safety of the boat and dug out the insect repellent with lots of DEET in it.  The proof will be tomorrow morning of course when we check up on the number of bites but it does make you feel safer.

We left Holy Loch in very atmospheric misty conditions so the photography was a touch limited.






















We had decided to move to Kip Marina early as the weather forecast for the rest of the week wasn't good. The original plan was to be here from Sunday evening, so on Monday we could get the train over to Edinburgh and meet the Australian contingent, Peter and Amanda. NB - they live in Oz, but were natives of Norfolk / Suffolk. Not sure which is the worst affliction. Then we fly south to visit relatives for a while.

Of course, we had the usual excellent welcome in the office and full rundown on the area. to save lots of typing and possible RSI issues, in future we will just say "a typical Scottish welcome". OK? The manager even found a different berth for us so we could be starboard side to the pontoon and facing into the prevailing SW'ly wind. Helpful as we will be leaving the boat for a week and you can't guarantee what the weather will bring.

A Nordhavn 47 discourse: Starboard side to is helpful for us as the walkway and the entry door is on the starboard side. The accommodation is pushed right the way out to the hull on the port side to maximise the internal space. This is fine, we just berth starboard side to everywhere we can or accept that we have to get off from the bathing platform. 99% of the time there is no issue, amazingly.

Kip Marina seems to be the northern Nordhavn rest home. Here is the view from our pilothouse:



Annie M is another Nordhavn 47 - just looks a little different as there is no bimini cover over the flybridge like ours. Apparently they also hosted another 4 different Nordhavn models recently - that is about 50% of the entire UK fleet! One big benefit - we are no longer "the big boat" here and people don't gawp in quite the same way. We feel less conspicuous.

Great spot; train station nearby (hence we picked it), Sainsburys Local store in staggering distance if you don't have a trolley shopper (tested this out with 5 bottles of wine to replenish our stocks a little earlier), WIFI (albeit slow) for free and lots of midge harbouring trees around.




The plan is to do "stuff" around here, spend a day in Glasgow by train when it is raining the least and head over to Edinburgh on Monday. No boat trips until we return (around the 8th) so please don't keep checking the AIS websites until then. It will be a shameful waste of your employer's time. If you must stalk us, try the marina webcams:

http://www.kipmarina.co.uk/webcams.aspx

Number 4 seems to have us in shot sometimes...

A Trolley Shopper update:

G&P (the people who think that Patrick is actually the dangerous chicken from the Wallace and Gromit film, hence you cannot really rely on their views) say that they have a present for us. Whilst staying in their house on Samos (a Greek island, ask Google) they found an abandoned trolley shopper. They will keep it for us until we reach the mediterranean on our travels - such kindness brings tears to one's eyes. Briefly though.








Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Dunoon

The nice marina lady told us about all the local eateries. Also that to get into town there was an excellent local taxi firm. Buses we asked?  Somewhat surprised, she said there was a good service. How about cycling or walking? Amazement! Clearly, people with “The big boat” are expected to use taxis all the time and eat out.  We learned that the route via the waterfront was 5 miles, and the “direct” one 2.5 – sounded OK to us, we need to keep a little active…...

The walk along the waterside with some sun was lovely. An interesting area – they used to quarantine ships here before they were allowed to deliver their goods to Glasgow:




Patrick has a buddy stationed in Kiru, a small village on the coast:



 
Pity he is used as a rubbish bin and has another as a neighbour. Not a good penguin diet.

For some reason, the locals like painting stones on the shoreline too:



The town of Dunoon in pictures:




They refurbished this lovely building on the pier, and then closed the pier to the public as it wasn’t safe…. Work out the logic in that:




The museum:



One surprising thing – the traditional Scottish drink (Irn Bru, “Made from girders”) seems to have gone soft if this discarded can is to be believed:





Low calorie drinks being consumed in Scotland, the home of the deep fried Mars bar and deep fried pizza?? What is happening in this world?

A cake discourse:
In Scotland they tend to like slices of “dry” cake, or millionaires shortbread, scones etc. The English habit of having lots of different gooey cakes available by the “wedge”, often served with lashings of cream, isn’t too common here. So, we were pleased to find some carrot cake in a teashop in town. On a scale of disgusting to amazing, it was well above half way up. Sadly, not competition for the St Ives offering (see earlier post) but nice to be reunited with the stuff after several weeks abstinence.

We have been brave though. We saw some “truly irresistible” carrot cake in the Co-op and bought one. Not sampled yet so the report back has to wait. However, the “truly irresistible” bread we brought at the same time has proven not to live up to its name…..

On the walk back to the Marina (the shorter 2.5 mile bit), we saw a little shop and office trying to hint to people about how to vote in the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. They seem to want to be separated from the rest of the UK quite badly. Made us feel very welcome:




No passport needed yet though.

Maintenance:

The Captain decided to fix something that has been lurking around for a while. There is a manifold bracket on the generator mounting which links the black genset fuel pipes to the blue external fuel supply and return lines. The pipes fit into this bracket using 90 degree elbows:




For a while, there was “wetness” around 3 of the 4 fittings, meaning that they needed resealing at some stage. Not a proper leak but...
  
Rant of the day – the stupid elbow fittings are not adjustable so when you screw them into the bracket all 4 end up pointing in totally the wrong direction for the pipe runs that have to be connected to them. Grr.

Why they use these and not ones where the angle can be adjusted once fitted is beyond me. So, you have to use thread tape not just thread sealant liquid to help get them in the right position and hope that the “not totally tight” seal you end up with works. It has so far but on the winter maintenance list are 4 new adjustable elbow fittings to do a Cornish “proper job”

Always something to do when you have a boat!




Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Holy Loch

After a cycle trip into Rothesay to raid the Co-op for fresh food (yes, that is the “big store” in the town) we paid our marina dues to the ever friendly Liz and prepared to depart. As soon as we had started the engine, two of the boatyard workers arrived to help with the lines. Wow. Maybe it was to have a chat / nose around too but no matter what the motivation, it was great service. It was spoilt only by the crew telling them she could manage just fine on her own thanks!

Of course, that didn’t stop a chat in which we learned that the Mount Stuart man was a little hard up having sold an estate (Dumfries Castle to Charlie Boy?) and investing the money (£52 mio?) in the Icelandic Bank just before it went pop. Ouch. Seems that he now lives as a tax exile in Switzerland so he cannot be totally broke.

We had to wriggle out of the marina berth and into the narrow fairway, being watched by everyone in the marina (and that includes the eider ducks). Luckily we managed that with no drama. One of the marina guys said to a berth holder who popped out of his boat to see what was attracting so much attention “it is just the big boat leaving”. So, we are now known as “The Big Boat”. Better not take her to Monaco where she might feel a little less impressive….

A nice flybridge trip up to Holy Loch with a few ferries and yachts around followed. Also two dolphins who (unusually) didn’t want to come and play in our bow wave. Normally we act as a dolphin magnet. They like the speed and shape of the Nordhavn bow wave and seem drawn to us so they can frolic about. Today, they just carried on past. Perhaps they were Scottish National Party dolphins and didn’t want to play with an English boat….

Toward point:




Passing Dunoon:





Into Holy Loch where the old US nuclear submarine base caused so many demonstrations during the cold war time:



Apparently the area used to host up to 4,000 US personnel and so when they closed the base down in 1992 there was a tiny weeny local recession.

We couldn’t find a good anchorage spot – they had all been filled with local mooring buoys. So, we ventured into the Holy Loch marina instead. Another lovely welcome and run down on the local area followed. A family owned marina with a real service ethic. Some south coast English marinas could learn a lot eg “sure, pop up and pay us when you want to leave”, “as you’ve been here for 4 days we will do it a bit cheaper for you”. The evening was a good (bad) one. We try to have one dry (alcohol free) day after two good (really meaning bad) days. This was a good (bad) day, a wine and TV chilled evening in the pilothouse enjoying the views of the loch too:




A Patrick thought – the 747 captain mentioned before (who wishes to remain anonymous of course so we will call him Colin as an alias) has made yet another good point. As Patrick is very opinionated and has “attitude”, perhaps he is actually Patricia??

OK feminists, no howls of protest. We are merely repeating the question here. We understand that you need to remove a feather and have it analysed to properly check the sex of a penguin. Patrick / Patricia doesn’t seem to have any feathers so we will take advice from the experts at the zoo when we visit Edinburgh next week. Watch this space for more, perhaps even slightly exciting, penguin news.  (Crew says, he’s a boy!)



Monday, 24 June 2013

Mount Stuart



As everyone said "you have to go and see Mount Stuart" and the preview of the visitor centre that we had on our Bobil tour was good, we braved another bus trip.

The blurb says that Mount Stuart is "Britain's most astounding Victorian Gothic mansion and one of the world's great houses"

So now you know. Actually, we think they are not over egging the place. Some impressions:






The gardens are as impressive and spacious too. The highlight is the stunning interior, designed to showcase the families religious beliefs, botanical and astronomical interests. No interior photography is allowed so we have borrowed these to give you a taster:















Standing in the entrance hallway, you see a representation of the stars on the roof, the seasons around the 4 sides of the gallery and when the sun shines, little moving rainbows are produced inside thanks to lots of glass prisms that were installed. And yes, the sun did shine today:






All this was funded thanks to Welsh Coal exports apparently. 

Considered opinion is - the best house we have ever visited. If you haven't, just go and look and gawp and go wow like we did. 

Having tested out 2 more bus trips (interestingly both were on exactly the same life expired single decker as yesterday although we have seen evidence of other buses on the island) we still don't know why the stops are so close together. Perhaps it is so each one can be a fare stage and bump up the ticket prices?


Sunday, 23 June 2013

Rothesay and the public conveniences



Yes, it is a strange title. Yes, the public conveniences are strange too. We walked (actually half walked, half got blown by the NW'ly gale) into town - here are the winter gardens (it felt like October):




We also visited the famous victorian toilet block. The fittings are original and (get this ladies) they even run a guided tour of the gents for ladies to see the delights of the victorian urinals and washbasins.

June managed to resist the temptation. Richard spent 20p (plus one later) and went for a look. Well, the good news for you bashful females is that you can now enjoy the victorian splendour without having to join a tour. For women who are a little scared by the thoughts of a gents toilet, please skip to the next blog entry:




















Just imagine how you would feel whipping out a camera in the gents. (And what did you think I was going to say there, Amanda?) Thoughts of arrest, George Michael and other unsavoury ideas spring to mind as you surreptitiously take a few pictures, praying that no one will be caught short and rush in on you (like a policeman...) The shutter noise seemed very loud in there.

Having recovered and praying there was no CCTV inside, we returned by bus. Walking into the gale looked too hard. Bute has the highest density of bus stops to people that we've ever seen. Port Bannatyne is tiny, but has 4 stops along the "main drag". From last night's entertaining Russian Tavern restaurant to the marina, there are 3 stops. The walk takes 2 minutes. Why? We will look for locals with short legs or an island hospital that specialises in amputations and let you know.

A Patrick update:

After the aspersions cast by G&P (they asked if he is the Dangerous Chicken from Wallace and Gromit), John has rushed to Patrick's defence. John, for those of you with worrying memories, is the man with the legs who had a brief period of fame and gained lots of fan mail after appearing on here. John mailed us with:

I am most unhappy with the libelling of Patrick. He seemed a stout but rather small chap to me and totally inoffensive

Looks like there are factions appearing. "Free Patrick" T-shirts and other expensive branded merchandise should be available soon.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Bobil Trip


Remember the mention of Norman and Julie's new motorhome? Well, it is better known as "The Bobil". Why? Well, Norman pestered Julie for so long about getting one that she banned the "M-word" from their conversations. Not to be outsmarted, Norman started using Bobil, the Norwegian name for a motorhome and it kind of stuck.

Here is the proud owner who battled gamely with the lying bastard salesman from hell to finally obtain his rather swish new Bobil:



So, we actually had a road trip - they kindly invited us for a tour of Bute. Of course, as it is a small island that wasn't equivalent to doing Route 66. We stopped off at Mount Stuart (a taster - we will revisit for a look around later on), the south coast and Ettrick Bay.

After the big road trip, we clearly needed sustenance. The one "recommended" restaurant in Rothesay was full so we enjoyed one of the quirkiest dinner events we can remember. In Port Bannatyne there is the "Russian Tavern". (The one and only eatery.)



The crew popped up to see what was on the limited set menu and check it out, but found the door locked. Upon her return, we found that the place opened at 6pm. So, we walked up later, wandered in and the owner said "Hello can I help you, were you looking for anything" in a tone that said "are you trying to break into my home here?"

The crew's reply of "We wanted to look at the menu for dinner tonight", was met with "We open at 6pm".

The hesitant response of "But it is 6:15 already??" sealed the deal. "Oh, we must have been chatting and drinking for longer than I thought, where has the time gone, I thought it was 3pm". Not an auspicious start.

This didn't put us off though as the Tripadvisor reports had already warned us about what was to come:

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Search?q=russian+tavern+bute&geo=&pid=3826&returnTo=http%253A__2F____2F__www__2E__tripadvisor__2E__co__2E__uk__2F__


It was an out of body experience with proper Russian food and a host, born in Scandinavia who had a slightly younger Russian wife (the chef). He joined in with our conversations, lurking behind a pillar to listen in and has opinions on pretty much everything. He was a BBC World Service presenter in a former life and a real caricature of the old style BBC staff. To quote the local marina mechanic man "he kind of modelled himself on Basil Fawlty".

We had a ball though with plenty of complimentary Russian speciality vodkas too. The herby / pear / elderflower /vanilla versions were really good. I guess the variety gives you a hint of the quantity that Norman and I had to sample too. A great fun evening. So much so that Norman and Julie needed the recliner chairs and a restorative glass of wine upon our return:




Why calendars are a bad idea on a boat......



Safety first and second and third is a good motto afloat. These words of wisdom were emailed to us by a 747 captain who was safely sitting in a pub with a beer. He wishes to remain anonymous, so we will attribute the good sense in here to Patrick, whose ego will now be uncontrollable:

We made Lisbon a week ago having been out in very rough seas and a couple of days ago thought we had a slight weather window so ventured out. We got as far as Cascais which is about 14NM west of Lisbon where we would have to turn right and continue north to the tip of NW Spain. As we bounced west, it didn't look terrific but we resolved to poke our nose into the Atlantic and assess it from there. We had a 48hr window to get to La Coruna and hide from the next set of gales and that was achievable if we could sustain 6kts. After 12 minutes of timing our progress at 4kts in and knowing that the first 24hrs would be worse before the second 24hrs got slightly better, it became obvious that discretion was the better part of valour, so here we are in Cascais!

My crew have returned home; one to UK and one to Barcelona and will come back for the next weather window, which may be in about 5-6 days. We shall see! 

It is often said that the most dangerous thing on a boat is a calendar and I can confirm that! With me having five weeks off, my crew being retired (aged 61) and yet to go to college (age 19), it was an easy decision to turn round and go to the pub! As if I needed vindication, Navtex gives a nav warning of an 11metre sailing vessel with two masts and no-one on board about 60NM west of here, so I presume the crew have been rescued. It truly is awful out there. Press-on-itis is alive and well and still dangerous! I envy you with your almost infinite ability to wait for the right weather.


Seriously though, in addition to what I have already said is that the boat is in no danger, but we fragile beings are! It becomes impossible to move/prepare food/ sleep and after a few days lethargy sets in and a fall is inevitable. Broken wrists are sore, broken ribs are very sore and a fractured skull can be life threatening. In a previous, previous life, I flew helicopters in the RN and picking up a casualty from a 12-15m boat in a force 8 is not easy so dying is very possible. It's supposed to be fun, which is why I am sitting in the pub with a Guinness keeping me company!

Good advice for other boating people from an experienced wise man (sorry, penguin). Patrick drinking Guinness - now we are in trouble....

Friday, 21 June 2013

Port Bannatyne




As a nice big depression was scooting in from the Atlantic, we decided to move to somewhere with a little more to offer than Portavadie. 3 days there in the rain and wind would have been nice but..

Rant of the day - the Portavadie marina proudly advertises free WIFI access in all its literature, website etc. We thought that we should update the blog for our avid if somewhat sad readers and do some tedious admin stuff. No data via the phone here. So, we asked the charming helpful girls in the office for the WIFI password. "You can buy access to the marina system or go to the lodge restaurant where there is free WIFI if you buy a coffee or something". A whole new definition of the word free.

Being chilled, we didn't say too much but wandered over, ordered the coffee and got the WIFI code. Except it didn't work. The very charming helpful waitress said "I'm very sorry, lots of people have problems with it, I will reboot the router and see if that helps". Clearly, she had learned a lot about wireless routers as a waitress there....

Of course, it didn't help - she said "I hope they change it soon, lots of people complain". So we ended up with no "free" WIFI that cost us £4.80 for two coffees. Saving grace; it was nice coffee albeit small.



Patrick wasn't amused though.....


The trip around the Kyles to Port Bannatyne was typical Scotland. Typical scenery (lovely), volumes of other boat traffic (one motor cruiser, about 10 yachts) and weather (changing from sunshine to threatening lack clouds and back again within 30 minutes).



Port Bannatyne is quite amazing. Family built and run, it is a small marina which we had to wriggle our way into. Literally. No manoeuvering space here. The welcome was amazing and well worth the wriggling. The local boat owners helped us tie up. Liz in the office gave us everything we needed to know about the island and said that Norman and Julie could park their motorhome in the car park here for free when they visited, use the facilities but sorry there was no electricity hook up available for them!! Kind of makes many camp sites seem overpriced and hostile.





It took us over an hour to move from the office back to the boat again. We were approached and questioned by the local marine engineer who knew another Nordhavn 47 owner, a university professor from Glasgow who offered more local knowledge and his views on the universe, other boat owners on the pontoon who wanted to chat and learn about "the big boat" (and Patrick who was peering out of the window) and then finally a Nordhavn dreamer.

Nordhavn dreamers - now that is a story on it's own. There is a Yahoo group dedicated to people who aspire to owning one and they use it to learn about trawler yachts and Nordhavn life in general. For a damp day:

http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/NordhavnDreamers

They even have their own logo - seriously focussed people!

NordhavnDreamers

This guy said that he had seen pictures of us taken in Falmouth and Bangor en route. See, you folks are not the only stalkers out there....

Norman and Julie called to say that they would pop over to Bute in their brand new motorhome to say hi and then, unexpectedly, arrived during the evening. Wine and stories of the lying bastard salesman from hell who made the motorhome procurement process a nightmare kept us busy until the small hours.... More of that later.


A little Patrick and reader update

Since Patrick’s rather wayward recent behaviour has worried a few people, we thought that an update was due. Graham and Pat offered a very wise and worrying idea. Is he really a penguin? For all the Wallace and Gromit fans out there, remember the Wrong Trousers film and read the emailed wisdom from G&P:

Hi R + J
We're becoming increasingly concerned about the penguin.
Have not the lessons from 'Inside the Wrong Trousers' been learnt?
There we were thinking he was safely banged up for the diamond heist.  Now here he is large as life, hitched up with a couple on the brink of world travel - by sea - often out of sight of the law.
What's he planning now?
And more to the point - what's happened to former first mate Dylan?!?
Just like Wallace, you've forgotten your 'Grommet' already.
Your worried friends,
P + G
PS Watch out for him decorating his berth with fish wallpaper - it's usually the last stage of his planning.

This made us nervous. Very nervous. Is there a similarity? Is Patrick really a dangerous chicken masquerading as a sweet if somewhat overweight and wayward penguin? You decide if the resemblance is uncanny:







We’ve been watching Patrick carefully since the email though. No signs of bad behaviour recently but that could be because he knows he is on probation. We were anchored off a house that also plays home to the Royal Bank of Scotland Tighnabruaich branch and he did stare at it for hours (at least until the tide turned).





 Was that a sign of criminal intent? Of course, if he had raided it the swag would have been pretty limited. Probably enough for a week’s fish but all in Scottish notes too. Unlikely to store much gold bullion in Tighnabruaich and as a getaway vehicle, the Nordhavn has serious limitations…

As for you, our prompt about lots of blog reading on Friday has clearly altered your habits. Last Friday was an all-time low in hits and there were many more than normal over the weekend. We were wrong, you folks are able to be educated and have your behaviours changed. We apologise.


We also have to thank Bob for sharing his name for females with trolley shoppers. Gill was delighted to be known as a “Tart with a cart”. Apparently her husband Ken had always wanted a tart. No further comment needed.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Portavadie / Tarbert

Portavadie was a marina stop off recommended by the Crew’s parents who had visited it for dinner a few years ago. Sure enough, lovely buildings and facilities that were only about half occupied. Calling ahead to check on space for berthing wasn’t really needed!

The marina is on the site of a shipyard that was built as part of a development plan for the area to construct oil rigs. It didn’t get any orders, never built a single rig and so became derelict and then was converted into a marina. Madness, just madness. They even built housing for the workers that was not occupied and now is derelict too.

The marina facilities are excellent:




We took advantage of the nearby Calmac  ferry to visit Tarbert. That was actually cheaper than taking the boat over and berthing there!




That was a busy sailing, we went back with one car on board…..

The town is best explained by pictures. So, first of all, please Amanda, when you open your B&B do not do this to the garden. As Ikea promote; “Say no to Gnomes”





To their strapline, we would add “mock Egyptian pillars, wooden carved owls, stone figures etc etc etc. A tad overdone for our taste.

Sitting in the harbour was a 98 foot Princess motor yacht. Spookily it used to live in Swanwick marina on the Hamble river where we had a berth.  As you can see, it looks a bit out of place amongst the fishing boats and other older craft. It is registered in the BVIs, must be some tax fun going on with it too. As we walked past, the crew were leathering off the overnight rain to make her all shiny. We have a lot to learn – shame it rained again shortly afterwards:




To make a living, the shopkeepers have to sell a wide range of goods. On the other half of this splendid fascia, it also mentions confectionery, newspapers, holiday items, etc. Inside, it looked like everything that he could buy from a wholesaler had been added to the shelves somewhere.