God I love this! It’s blowing a gale out there. Winds of 50 coming out of the North West. The boat stinks of diesel fumes with the Refleks stove that had to be turned off when the gusts swung through violently, blowing smoke back down the chimney. That was one thing I hadn’t anticipated quickly enough.
Messing about in boats. These great sturdy aluminium ones are the best. We came to the guest jetty at Rossøya hoping to be the only ones at this sheep and eagle guarded isle. The sheltered inside dock was already taken by some old boys and their motor cruisers, pals moored up together from the storm with some fishing in mind. I pulled up on the north side. Good for a settled night, one where Kate teaches her online class, now midnight to 3am as we’ve moved east an hour.
Fat fenders, mamas of the Ronaldsay reclaimed buoys, protect Selkie’s vulnerable port side.
I woke early pondering what to do. Not knowing the area, I did not want to turn up in a harbour hoping for shelter from the North, only to find there is none and no time to find some. Here at least, the narrow snug between two islands is really sheltered even if 50 plus knots are forecast to pin us and push us over onto the pier. It’s been years since I used the second anchor but that’s what I carry it for, that and the extra 10 metres of chain and lots of warps. From under the duvet covers in my cabin I alert the others to my plan via WhatsApp. The gale isn’t expected until mid-afternoon so there is no need to sabotage the post North Sea crossing lie-in! I tap into the screen: “Good morning prongs. We are going to put out the spare anchor to try help keep us off the jetty when the wind turns northerly. Great boat handling experience! 1, we need to get spare anchor and chain out. 2, sort out various lines and shackles. 3, put up the dinghy, launch. 4, deploy anchor. 5, bring dinghy onboard and deflate/pack away. I’m gonna properly start this around 10am. Happy lie in!”
So, this is what we do. Charged with some coffee and giant mugs of tea, we tog up as the rain starts in earnest to lash down. Oh, what joy! I’m not being ironic… I really love this stuff. True messing around in boats. Surviving the storms and being warm and comfortable while it howls out there, knowing that we’ve looked out for Selkie so she is looking out for us.
It has been my intention to write a blog about the North Sea. How well we did. Able, for one reason and another, to wait for a long enough window between the high winds and seas. We got the perfect conditions. Wind just aft of the beam. Moderate seas. Sunsets. Sunrises. Oil rigs. The drama of AIS not working and the relief of identifying and fixing the problem. Crossing big ships in the night and arriving in a new beautiful country with the first light of day. The friendly welcome at Tananger and the sense of achievement, happiness and relief. You got that right?
Now it is all new adventures and possibilities. Today’s has put a wide crinkling smile on my face!