That wasn't a huge issue though. Firstly we amused ourselves signing the latest petition about poor pot markers on the government website. The one we mentioned in some earlier posts was "lost" thanks to the recent election so we have to start again. For everyone who can be bothered or feels strongly about the safety aspects like we do, here is the link Government website where you can do the same thing. Thanks!!
Then we did a few bits of maintenance / cleaning. We took the train into Glasgow for a very enjoyable day and had a delayed birthday lunch for the Captain in a most splendid restaurant in Gourock. It was suggested by the sloe gin expert Robert and we were most impressed. If ever you are there try Bath street arches restaurant. Very different menu, small 6 table operation and super service.
We also witnessed the paddle steamer Waverley getting steamed up in the dry dock nearby after her repairs:
Finally the winds died down and there was a nice little weather window for a run south. NE / NW 4 to 5 for a couple of days before it was turning to the more normal SW.
So, we headed off on Saturday at 9am into a quiet Firth of Clyde. Pretty calm too. Our liner curse was still in place, Carribean Princess was docked in Greenock. Must be a bit of a shock for the cossetted liner passengers when they hit the deprivation in some parts of Clydeside. We guess they try to herd the passengers onto coaches with the windows blacked out until they get to the Trossachs or Loch Lomond.
We headed south, this time a picture of the Cloch lighthouse for you:
then down inside the islands after a quick avoidance of the Weymss Bay to Rothesay ferry which always seems to get in our way.
The route took us very close to the Ailsa Craig and so this time you get a picture that is closer inshore:
but not that exciting. Here is the lump of rock's little lighthouse as well:
As we approached Stranraer, we had a decision to take. Should we head for Holyhead (arriving Sunday pm) and then leave on Monday afternoon for Penarth arriving Tuesday evening? Or should we just go all the way to Penarth in one run, arriving Monday late afternoon. Well, as the forecast was kind and the outlook for Tuesday not as clear, we opted to do the trip in one go. A little replanning and we passed Corswall Point and just headed for the South Bishop lighthouse which was a few miles away:
186 nautical mile leg ahead of us which at our average speed of around 6.4 knots was going to take some time. We settled in for the run....
Overnight there was a little ferry traffic to and from Belfast and Dublin. No course alterations were needed to avoid them though. The only exciting (?) bit was the smell from the new exhaust silencer paint and insulating wrap as it "burned in". Of course, that was all outside. During the day we had one ship that decided to overtake quite closely:
And some that were silhouetted against the end of the day sun:
We did the usual slowing down and speeding up stuff as the tide turned several times. The wave heights were around 1.5 metres (ie nothing!) from the stern quarter when the tide was with us and then increasing to 2.5 metres when it was against us. Just to prove that wind over tide is not as nice. Sunday was mainly spent heading down the Irish sea and aiming for St David's head. We rounded this during the early hours of the morning and the timing was perfect - lots of tidal help giving us a nice speed over the ground:
Nice when you get a favourable tide around the headlands - 9.5 knots feels like flying for us. As we approached Milford Haven, the traffic in and out of the harbour at around 4am was manic. Tankers arriving and leaving, tugs fussing around and pilot boats trying to look important in the dark. The Maxsea picture tries to show this:
but not very well. At one point there were three tankers, seven tugs, one pilot boat and the ferry to Ireland all underway in the entrance. Amazingly we continued on our course and didn't have to deviate for any of them.
The run up the Bristol Channel started very well. As daylight broke, the friendly Welsh dolphins came out to play in our bow wave and amused the captain for quite some time. The rest of the trip to Cardiff was the usual relatively featureless journey. We would not pick this area for regular boating! Muddy, fast flowing tides, nothing terribly lovely on the coastline to admire. At least the weather was good enough to sit on the flybridge!
After some wing engine exercise and a prolonged wide open throttle run to clear out the main engine, we made the 4:45pm lock in at the Cardiff bay barrage. The sad bit was that the rain started at 4:43 and became heavier and heavier whilst we were in the lock and unable to hide away from it. Welcome to Penarth indeed. As we entered Penarth marina, a local rather unmanoeverable passenger trip boat was turning around and trying to moor so we had some backing up and holding station practice whilst he sorted himself out. Just what we needed at the end of a long trip with restricted sleep. We were very happy to tie up on the hammerhead of I pontoon and turn off all the systems after over 56 hours underway and around 375 sea miles. Strangely we spotted this workboat in the marina as we arrived, kind of a link to our last port of call:
Pity the folks who painted her last time cannot spell.
None at all. The big Lugger engine ran well, the new silencer and wrapping stopped smelling after a while and the little wing engine enjoyed its exercise. So, for all you grease and spanner types, nothing to keep your interest going.