Europe · 382 Days · 343 Moments · May 2017

2017 Summer Sail U.K. & Southern Ireland

7 June 2018

8 August 2017

Our flight on BMI from Bristol took us over Wiesbaden, the city I was born in, to Frankfurt Am Maine International yesterday. I am now at home again, cozy, sipping on a glass of Prosecco, prior to a light lunch.
At Bristol airport, checked with BMI. Check in bag weighed 24.4 kilos. No charge for the extra weight which is more than likely attributed to the 1.6 is more than likely attributed to the bit of items I purchased, or my red oils jacket.

6 August 2017

Plymouth today is a vibrant city worth visiting, and as I have learned has is rich in heritage and history, with fascinating local sites to be visited in the area dating from the 15th century onwards. Plymouth boast 37 ancient monuments including boundary stones, milestones and other markers which add great interest to the local heritage landscape, and being on the coastline of Devon, Plymouth hosts a number of marina’s with incredible views, arts & culture, year round exhibitions, events and it's crown jewel, The Barbican. Well I do have a bit of cleaning to do before I depart on my evening exploration of Plymouth today,. Well, Indigo's Spa treatment has which stated at 11:16 was completed in just 5 1/2 hours. My arms and back are tired now. May need to explore Plymouth next time I am in town, for there is a change in the weather...overcast, grey and cooler now.
During the First World War, Plymouth was the port of entry for many troops from around the Empire and also developed as a facility for the manufacture of munitions and during the Second World War, Devonport was the headquarters of Western Approaches Command until 1941. It also served as important embarkation point for US troops for D-Day, and eventually the city was heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe, in a series of 59 raids known as the Plymouth Blitz. Although the dockyards were the principal targets, much of the city centre and over 3,700 houses were completely destroyed and more than 1,000 civilians lost their lives, attributed to Plymouth's status as a major port. Plymouth then went under major redevelopment, simultaneously with London during 1943.
Throughout the 17th century, Plymouth gradually lost its pre-eminence as trading port, played a relatively small part in the Atlantic slave trade early 18th century, and late in the 18th century, grain, timber and then coal became Plymouth's primary imports. During this time, the real source of wealth was from Plymouth Dock, today known as Devonport and its' dockyards the major employment in the region. Plymouth enjoyed prosperity during the late 18th and early 19th century and Foulston of London enriched the area with a series neo-classical urban developments. During the later half of the 19th century some of the greatest imports to Plymouth, from the Americas and Europe, included maize, wheat, barley, sugar cane, guano, sodium nitrate and phosphate. Plymouth industries, i.e. gasworks, the railways and tramways and a number of small chemical works had begun to develop in the 19th century, providing growth and employment.
Plymouth Castle was then constructed close to The Barbican, that included four round towers, one at each corner, which are featured on the city coat of arms. The castle served to protect Sutton Pool, and Parliament passed additional series of fortifications, including defensive walls at the entrance on St Nicholas Island, a string of six artillery blockhouses, and the building of Drake's Fort in 1596. Plymouth's history is deep and complex, including during the 16th locally produced wool, successful maritime traders, such as Sir John Hawkins, who led England's first foray into the Atlantic slave trade, Sir Francis Drake, Mayor of Plymouth in 1581 and 1593 and in 1620 the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for the New World establishing Plymouth Colony in the United Stats. The English Civil War saw Plymouth besieged for almost four years by the Royalists, when the civil war ended as a Parliamentary win, but the monarchy was restored by King Charles II in 1660.
Plymouth developed when the early port of trade and settlement of Plympton, up the River Plym than the current Plymouth, was put out of business after the river silted up during the early 11th century and forced the mariners and merchants to settle in Barbican near the river mouth. The early name to the village was Sutton, meaning south town in Old English, until the name Plymouth officially replaced Sutton in a charter of King Henry VI during 1440. The oldest surviving house in Plymouth is Prysten House, built about 1498, is located on Finewell Street. It is constructed of local Plymouth Limestone and granite from Dartmoor. Plymouth never fail into enemy hands during the Hundred Years' War, a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 by rulers of the Kingdom of England, against rulers of the Kingdom of France, but in 1403 the town was burned down by Breton raiders, arriving from Brittany, France. Plymouth receive town incorporation in the late 15th century.
Plymouth's history is rich and deep, including upper Paleolithic deposits, bones of Homo sapiens, and artefacts dating from the Bronze Age through the Middle Iron Age have been discovered at Mount Batten, depicting that it was even then, one of the main trading ports at that time. Mount Batten is a 24-metre-tall outcrop of rock on a 600-metre peninsula, named after Sir William Batten, and Plymouth Yacht Haven Marina is where Indigo resides when not out on the water. I believe that I posted a picture of Mount Batten Tower, a 30-foot high circular artillery fort now sits on Mount Batten, which has always been an important defensive point for the developing settlement at Plymouth Harbour, providing a field of fire from across the other side of the Cattewater, the stretch of water where the mouth of the river Plym merges with Plymouth Sound, just to the east of Sutton Pool, or plainly speaking the channel connecting the old town to the sea.
It has just occurred to me that I have barely mentioned anything with regards to Plymouth, Indigo's home port, that is a major port city in Devon, southwest England, our original departure and return port for the summer voyage. Not only is Plymouth known for being a major port, is is also known for its maritime heritage and its' historic Barbican district. The Barbican district is renown for its narrow cobbled streets, and was one of the few parts of the city to escape most of the destruction of the during the German Blitz of World War II. Plymouth also hosts the United Kingdom's National Marine Aquarium, displaying various marine life, including sharks and rays gliding along in their deep tanks, to include several marinas and their re-known fish market.

5 August 2017

This morning was beautiful and I must admit my remorse. I have writing very little on Plymouth, but this I shall remedy for Plymouth has a full and rich history. Tomorrow is a new day and a next page shall be written.
We have arrived in Plymouth, 02:43 on 5 August 2017. Voyage completed. Very special thanks to Rick, Jeff, Bruce, Chris and Indigo. It was a fabulous adventure, not to be forgotten anytime soon. Thanks Jo for all the support.

4 August 2017

Departed Penzance at 13:30. Currently half way to Plymouth now.

3 August 2017

Yesterday evening I sat through a performance of the Mikado, performed in St. Mary's of Penzance. It was great, until I caught myself falling a sleep toward the end of the first half. I was extremely tired after my full day. The Mikado, a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and script by W. S. Gilbert, opened originally on 14 March 1885, in London, where it ran at the Savoy Theatre for 672 performances. It continues today to be the most frequently performed Savoy Opera, the works have been translated into numerous languages, and is one of the most frequently played musical theatre pieces in history. The opera setting in Japan, an exotic locale far away from Britain, allowing Gilbert to satirise British politics and institutions more freely by disguising them as Japanese. Illyria the company with runaway successes with HMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe and Ruddigore, performed the Mikado opera.
The Mermaid Alley dining room up stairs is actually lovely and cozy. Lisa Curan the chef, extremely gracious and humble, continued to cook through lunch and on into the diner shift. Definitely the best establishment for meals visited during my long summer Sail...well worth the visit be it over the weekend of long summer holiday. Yesterday I tried the Hurricane Sandy, comprised of Pineapple, Passionfruit liquor, rum & Archers. Garnished with Red berry and lime. Serve in a bell tumbler. Refreshing and scrumptious. My appetizer was an order of Buffalo Chicken Salad.....spicy grilled Chicken, blue cheese dressing with mixed greens, simply Scrumptious. The flavors just sprung to life and off the plate. My main, Slimming Thai Beef, Radish, apple, shredded cabbage & greens, with coriander, basil, lime sauce, took me back to Thailand were I spent so much time in my younger years, which I accompanied with Balsamic Roast Heirloom Tomatoes, Pesto, Tofuricotta, Grilled garlic bread.
Today I stop at The Honey Pot for tea, my absolutely favorite in Penzance, to start my day properly, offering a charming café relaxed atmosphere that has serves delicious food and drink for over 100 years, offering sumptious cakes, a wide selections of teas and coffees, warming soups, hearty meals and other options for special diets. Well worth the visit if you are in town. For a noon drink, Sauvignon blanc, the Union Hotel, long in history, That has provided accommodation for Royalty, Prime Ministers and great artists, but I am assured by the staff that all travelers regardless of their stature have been assured of a good meal, a hot bath and a comfortable bed, and my glass of Sauvignon blanc was chilled to perfection. For my grand finally, lunch, At Mermaid Alley.

2 August 2017

Yesterday evening, while Rick shared time and dined with old friends in town, I stepped into The Mermaids restaurant once again, but for the first time on this stop. The Mermaids, is a restaurant that I have fallen in love with here in Penzance, attributed to the food being simply Devine, with a spice to it that awakens my raw senses. It is food made for the gods, which is all I can say. The service, second to none, friendly, very inform on the menu selections, knowledgeable on the perfect wine to accompany the meal and environment so warm with smooth soft music in the background that you just never want the experience to end. It has that bohemian feel to it, wild, unpretentious yet simply fabulous food. I have never been into the restaurant dinning room up stairs, but rather dine and spend my time down in the cafe/bar area, where it is homely and welcoming. Perhaps the dining area is lovely, but I prefer down stairs with a view of the action in the kitchen.
Some of Stanhope Forbes famous works.
And finally working my way down to the harbor, where Indigo is sandwiched in the raft of boats.
Emerging from the Penley grounds into central Penzance.
Walking through the Penley grounds
As I commence my walk back towards Indigo, to meet up with Rick for lunch, I could not help but to continually stop to take in the floral displays, so carefully plan and groom. The lighting conditions were perfect to capture them in their natural element.
I finally arrived at my planned morning destination, Penley House Gallery and Museum. The summer exhibition is of Stanhope Forbes (1857 – 1947), one of the ‘greats’ of the Newlyn School artists’ colony whom flourished from the 1880s onwards. Forbes’s arrival galvanised the emerging art community and helped build Newlyns' national and international reputation, dubbing him the ‘Father of the Newlyn School’, which reflects both in his significance and his popularity. Born in Dublin, Forbes trained at the royal Academy Schools in London and later finished his studies at Bonnat’s studio in Paris. Upon arriving in Newlyn in 1884, his national reputation was established a year later with the acceptance of his masterpiece, Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach at the royal Academy of Art. The exhibit comprises a stunning selection of key works from all periods of Forbes’s career.
I had the Morrab gardens to myself, lovely to stroll through, under a very light drizzle. Many of the plants, trees and florals were in bloom. A must see.
Morning stroll along a Penzance street under wet, overcast skies, I came across the interesting pub. No I did not go in. What caught my eye was the arm candle on the roof.

1 August 2017

We are rafted 4 deep, with one more on the way in. Awaiting for the 2PM download from the weather forecasters. Penzance harbor is a working harbor as can be seen by the cargo ship Gry Maritha's arrival. She a big vessel.
We have arrived in Penzance once again. Quite full the port is, but on the way we passed quite a few beautiful sites, which are depicted in the photos. Photo 1 is of a lone fisherman. Look closely at photo number 2, and notice Minack, a unique theatre perched on the cliffs high above the Atlantic ocean in Cornwall, which puts on a full program of drama, musicals and opera every summer, together with music, comedy and story-telling, while pictures 4-7 are of beautiful cliffs as we round the corner, them Mouse Hole, and finally Into Penzance.
Rounding Lands End, Longships Light house, Lands End Tourist Center / Hotel and the rock below is The Armed Knight. The rock on the cliff look like the have been piled up and are about to fall over.
Coast along the path to Lands End.
Good morning from St. Ives. Yesterday evening fire works, and this morning the sunrise. And we raised anchor and our off.

31 July 2017

And last but not least from St. Ives, a good night and farewell to us I would like to believe, but of course the town had a summer festival which terminated with fireworks. Believe it or not, Rick slept right through the bombs bursting in the air.
We did not do to well today, but made we it into St. Ives, after a grueling 3.5 knots an hour, where we anchored for the night. We shall continue our journey around Lands End tomorrow. Our rafting companions from yesterday evening have also arrive, Goldfish in moored onto a mooring buoy, while our French colleagues on Aragon have anchor next door to us. The evening is cooling quickly, since there is no cloud cover to maintain the warmth of the day down to the earth, but it seems to be a lovely evening. No rain and light winds are forecast, thus we should have a peace nights rest. Rick cook and made my pasta recipe, which was quick and easy. It was yummy again.
Departing Padstow. Heading towards Lands End, then to Falmouth.

30 July 2017

Padstow, what a surprise it was. left me wanting more time in the town, Jo I understand now. Definitely a place to revisit with more time, on a leisure schedule, with no itinerary, an let the days evolve as they will. I loved Tobermory, but Padstow was fun and alive. Definitely a family spot. I understand. Wow. How does one even begin to thank Rick for sharing in his adventure. Time for bed now. I must get some sleep. Good night to all. Pleasant dreams.
Welcome on board, Moonshine. Perhaps one day we will sail together.
Our last even in Padstow. Tomorrow we shall run like the wind, as far as we can go, before we are forced into shelter, for a big storm is a coming. Falmouth or Fowey, and then a short jump to Plymouth. Should be fun. It shall be a long sail. The fishing boat and the last sail boat I think for the evening came in. I am constantly surprised at how well this a IPad camera handles the light.
What a difference a day makes is the song that crops into my head at a moment like this. An occupational force has descended down upon Padstow, with a never ending stream of bodies, marching forward through the streets. The town has been overtaken. The locals are at the wits end, in their minds, "Will the day never end" and it is only 13:00, quite a few more hours to go, unless the skies open up and come to their rescue.
A few more to share as the afternoon goes into full gear.
For this mornings last up-load, a few places that I shall revisit.
We have hung our wet gear over Indigo, where we hope to dry them thoroughly before the forecasted showers arrive this afternoon. I enjoyed a full Cornish breakfast and sat in the Basement Cafe, reviewing this mornings captured moments that I would share with you. As The morning progresses, more and more people continue to arrive. Soon there will be no walking space left, so it's a very good thing that I had the town all to myself this morning.
The town is full of quaint little shops, restaurants, pubs and art galleries, is tranquil during my early morning stroll, which is slowing transforming into a busy and bustling town, full of all sorts of visitors and tourist, from all sort of walks of life.
Padstow harbor quite different from yesterday evening, this morning was quite tranquil and peaceful, as opposed to what I thought would be a Very busy fishing harbor, full of fishing boats starting up in the whee hours of the morning in preparation for their departure. We rafted up third, next to a gentleman we met in at one of our previously visited ports whom we shared a few hours of discussion and drinks one joyful evening. On the inside raft were Michael and Valeri, our current sailing partners, whom are heading back to France. Thus from Indigo, you step over to Goldfish, then onto Aragon and finally clamber up the stair to solid land if you need to use the facilities.

29 July 2017

Our passage to Padstow was joined by a few pods of dolphins, and our arrival was in the rain, thus I am soaked and tired. More tomorrow.
Departed Milford Haven Marina at 05:00. Into the channel at 05:15. Overcast skies, but no rain in the forecast for the days passage. Four additional yachts, locked out with us. Padstow here we come, may the festivity preparation begin for our arrival in about 14 hours.

28 July 2017

Padstow, a town and fishing port on the north coast of Cornwall, is situated on the west bank of the River Camel estuary, has a population of about 3000. Padstow is now a popular tourist destination, even though some of its former fishing fleet remains, it is mainly a yachting haven on a dramatic coastline and few easily navigable harbours. Looking at a map it is not hard to see why Padstow is Padstow, for it is in a small valley on the more sheltered westerly side of the river, and during the 16th and 17th centuries that Padstow's growth accelerated. The bridge in Wadebridge built in 1496, which prevented boats from passing further up the river. Harbor construction began in 1536 in earnest with the first stone pier being constructed. The growth in mining and the surrounding quarrying industry in the area assisted in establishing Padstow as a major port town. The 19th century saw the port flourished with the pilchard industry at its height and shipbuilding become a major industry.
It's quite a wet day today, and there does not seem to be any end in sight to the rain, any time soon. We shall be departing about 05:00 tomorrow morning, thus a wake up of 03:45 to be on the fuel pontoon at 04:15, and then lockout at 04:49, meaning we enter the locks to flood out of the Marina, and we are off and sailing by 05:00. The French shall be accompanying us on the voyage to Padstow.

27 July 2017

I must say, that I have been enjoying keeping the log, up-to-date in Martha's Vineyard, here in Milford Haven Marina. Very tranquil and peaceful place to write and gather ones thoughts.
The Fishguard International Music Festival got underway from 24 July and completes on 1 August with beautiful Pembrokeshire locations as the backdrop to the exciting progamme of festival events. On the 26th of July at 19:30 the Main concert takes place, and a second festival performance takes place on 28 July at 5pm at the beautiful Oak Hall at the Rhosygilwen Estate near Cilgerran. WNO Orchestra Leader David Adams directs the Orchestra for a performance of Bach’s complete Brandenburg Concertos, among the most joyous, spontaneous works that Bach ever produced with power to captivate audience. Unfortunately, our intent to depart tomorrow to position Indigo for a run to Padstow, removes the chance to enjoy this performance, but as The Rolling Stones sang, You can't always get what you want.
I must honestly say that I am highly impressed with the thought, engineering and defensive military forethought that went into the construction of Pembroke Castle. The Normans found the location, but it was only when came into the hands of William Marshal in 1189, who, over the following 30 years transformed the original earth and timber castle into a mighty stone fortification that never fell to an attack. He first built the inner ward with its magnificent round keep, with a height of over 22m and it's remarkable stone domed roof. The original entrance was on the first floor, approached by a wooden external stair, the present ground-floor entrance being a later insertion for ease of access. The keeps' four floors were connected by a spiral stairs, that also led to the battlements, while large square holes on the top of the outside were to hold a timber hoard, or fighting platform for the soldiers. It is definitely worth a visit should you visit the area.
We took a local bus back to Milford Haven, and the trip all seemed to be a blur, attributed to traveling at Marc 1 and have to hang on for dear life, while the drive took each curve with no sign of slowing down. I believe the return trip may of taken less time than out morning trip there.
And a final magical find, down an obscure open door, most would dare not enter, but the murals painted along the wall drug me deeper into the very dimly illuminated hallway.
Pembroke Castle, Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, can be more accurately described as a linear fortification as those in the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy. Built on a rock promontory surrounded by water, meant that attacking forces could only assault a narrow front and Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, the river creating a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter. Henry VII, born at Pembroke Castle on 28 January 1457, to Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond. His father, Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, died three months before his birth.
Pembroke Castle acquired in about 1189, by William Marshal, whom then then set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The most inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep, known as the Great Keep, with its domed roof, and the original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell which was made or wood and should an attack occur, the stair would be dismantle and brought into the keep for firewood. it's four floors where connected by a spiral stairwell, and the keep's stone domed roof contained several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform if ever needed.
Our trip to Pembroke Castle, via Jocks Taxi service, was accompanied by our French sailing colleagues. Pembroke Castle, underwent a major restoration in the early 20th century, and was the original seat of the Earldom of Pembroke. It's western walls are 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base. The great keep is the tallest and most secure ever build, and let it be known that Pembroke Castle itself was never taken by force. Arnulf of Montgomery built the first castle at the site in 1093, when he fortified the promontory alongside the Pembroke River during the Norman invasion of Wales. About a century afterwards, the castle was given to William Marshal by King Richard I. Marshal, one of the most powerful men in 12th-century Britain, rebuilt Pembroke in stone which is the reason for the structure remaining today.

26 July 2017

I visited the museum today and was entertained for about an hour, before I felt the urge to leap from the place and find somewhere else that invest some time, so I walked down to the lock that we had passed through yesterday morning at about 04:30, or was it this morning, I can not honestly remember. I walked along the Marina front and into town. I later met up with Rick and Steve for lunch and went separate ways at about 16:30 in search of a hair cut, and did not find a hair salon open, thus no hair cut. Steve was a character. Need more time with him. I return to our lunch venue, Martha's and had another Soaviengnior Blanc. Tomorrow, we visit Pembroke Castle with the French couple whom crossed the Saint George Channel with us.
Today, as day break begins, the weather starts to close in, the clouds open up and the rain commenced to come down onto Indigo's deck. Dare I stick my head our there? Sooner or later, it must be done, for I must visit the Marina's facility, to take a shower and remove the three day grey growth from my face. Well, I had the shower, feel refreshed, yet still have those pesky whiskers on me face, thus will just have to get used to them being there for the time being. Rick was still sleeping, this off to the cafe for some breakfast and a few cups of green tea, that I hope will be good. Very grey wet day outside, and the wind is picking up as was forecasted. Wind generators, if on are spinning like that of a propeller on a airplane prior to take off.

25 July 2017

Although we mostly motored or motor-sailed, but what sailing we did get on hands on was great. If only to have a bit more wind without such wild following seas, all would be glorious. As I write these word, I sit here enjoying a pint of Brains's good....very good for a stout I must say. Must have a few more of theses over my stay here. My views on Milford Haven, not yet solidified, for some of the towns folks are really nice and attentive, yet the town itself is slowly decaying, with little or no life left within the town itself. Such a shame..but the jury is still out...for we still have four to five more days here if it is true what happens with this weather front which is upon us.
And the look on Ricks face...oh no...we must sail tomorrow...and on ours...we only live once, onto the next pub. Penzance shall alway be remembered as pub central. I did visit quite a few art galleries, museums...etc, just to mix it up a bit. We enjoyed excellent cuisine both on board and in the various town, of which three will always be memorable, such as The Anchorage in Tarbert, Cafe Fish at Tobermory, Laroch Restaurant and Bar at Ballachulish, and of course Galley De Indigo and guest chefs from various ports and parts of lives. We dined like kings and enjoyed our cuisine, company, and shared times. My perfect real beer quest moves forward, yet has slowed a bit, I reckon I need the balanced opinion of Bruce and proper adult supervision by Jeff, while my whisky hunt has been spot on when finally finding a Whiskey that both I and Rick can agree on and really enjoy drinking...Middleton Irish Whiskey, notice the spelling of Whiskey....but it was great.
We had our moments, two of us attempted to raise the main Sail with the lay bag still zipped shut, no mention of names here. Me showering in the wrong facilities, how embarrassing. Jeff stating plain fact, that he has known and live with his wife for so long now that she is practically family, with the straightest face I have ever seen....oh my I busted a gut laughing, or when we would walk out of one pub into another in search of the perfect ale, which I have yet to find, only to hear from his mouth that this is a slippery slope that we were departing on....and I now fully comprehend the meaning, the perfect ale is the one enjoyed at the moment with friends, although there were one or two of those ales which should not of been served for they were not drinkable.
As the voyage commences to wind down, one cannot help but to review and relive both the moments that we shall take forward from the day that the voyage actually comes to an end, but does it really end? Do we not just take another path down the never ending road to our next adventures, learning from what we have gone through, both the good and the bad, continuing to shape us into whom we are and in the end, demonstrate how we lived and enjoyed our lives through how we enjoy and share life. have met so many people along the way, both in informal, yet deep and substantial meaningful conversation, many of the which should we meet again it would rekindle our acquaintance to the moment that we had left it at, as if we were just commencing a new chapter in the book. Yes, the memories and event which have transpired have been many, and if it were to be said, mainly good, less for receiving a fright to Bruce's awakening in the vertical position behind the door when we knock to awaken him.
Another tea shop, better that the way first. Then as I exit the Bakery, low and behold, a shop claiming to be mine, and of course, a memorial to the fallen in battle, which all towns seem to have, yet few honor the living making a difference to the town and community, which I strongly feel would lead to more of the same. The honor presidents with museum, a few with awards, but what about honoring the average worker whom has contributed to society by ensuring the bread was baked and available, the individual whom picked up liter, or gave people directions, out the hair stylist whom cut your hair without appointment, etc., a bit more of honoring te living should be done I feel.
We finally arrived into Milford Haven Marina and have secured Indigo and now it is time for all to get some sleep.
When I finally awoke from my early morning slumbers, I came to the full realization that we had made it to Milford Haven, which other than being on the hill and offering views of a highly oil and gas centralized economy, does very little for the soul, thus off I had to go to investigate, what keeps this town humming. Beside, per the weather forecast for the next couple of days, we will be going no place in any particular for a while. My initial stroll through the town leads me to some tea shops, which were actually impressive. My green tea was served without the tea actually being burnt, when led to an enjoyable cup. A new look at the weather forecast, which did not change, resulted in the launch of a new stroll through out the town....mind you I would have to pace myself, for I may actually be here for 5 more days.

24 July 2017

We are currently 50 nautical miles into our crossing. Extremely calm through the Saint George channel at the moment. Basically, no wind, Indigo is slicing through mirror like water and although the tide has now changed against us, we are still achieving 4.2 - 4.8 nautical speed over the ground. We have been on shits, 2 hour on and 2 hours off since 14:00, to endure and ensure that we are rested for the conclusion of our journey which should be just after darkness into Skomer Island or just before day break into Milford Haven. Less than 5 hours to Skomer Island or another 9 into Milford Haven. I would prefer Skomer for it is a bird Sanctuary.
In route to Milford Haven. Approximately another 14 hours to go.

23 July 2017

We were at Arklow yesterday evening and the sunset is spectacular. This morning we departed towards Milford Haven.
Milford Haven our next destination is a town and community in Pembrokeshire, Wale, situated in an estuary that forms a natural harbor and has been used since the Middle Ages, is located on the north side of the Milford Haven Waterway. Milford town was founded in 1793, when Sir William Hamilton obtained an Act of Parliament in 1790 to establish the port at Milford, and it took its name from the natural harbour of Milford Haven, that has been used for several hundred years as a staging point on sea journeys to Ireland and as a shelter by Vikings. The town Milford was originally intended by its founder to be a whaling centre, converted by 1800 into a Royal Navy dockyard that remained until the dockyard was transferred to Pembroke in 1814, upon which it then became a commercial dock, then in the 1960s, Esso built an oil refinery to deliver logistics for fuel oil and liquid gas. By 2010 the town's port has become the fourth largest in the United Kingdom in terms of tonnage.
Departing the Dublin/Howth area, toward Arklow, which lies about 40 nautical miles south. Just passed Wicklow on our way to Arklow. Today's path, take us past Dublin, Greyhead, Wicklow, Wicklow Head and on into Arklow, our destination for today.
More pictures from the Country Market, mainly up stairs in the cozy cafe.
The Country Market is so well kept and maintained that I just lingered about browsing, having tea and listening to the music. What a relaxing and welcoming place. Well worth coming back, if not just to come again to the Country Market. Wow.
Howth Marina, as view from the old radio museum. The Old Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio is a museum of communication history based in the Martello tower in Howth, Dublin, up on a hill.
Southern Ireland Olympic Console House, originally known as Howth House, became the Olympic Council of Ireland HQ in January 2005, and houses a museum of memorabilia of the late Lord Killanin, the 6th President of the International Olympic Committee and President of the Olympic Council of Irealand 1950-1973.
Strolling along the harbour town of Howth, one of the things you'll take note of is the steeple of Saint Mary's Abbey, often simply called "Howth Abbey". It's halfway up the hill in the centre of town, and is one of the oldest remains of the past in the area. An old, very old church, now converted into a final resting place. The richly carved tomb with a double effigy of the 13th Baron and his wife in the area of the former private chapel. Finished around 1470, the impressive tomb sports a fine double effigy of the deceased, with side panels showing the crucifixion, the archangel Saint Michael and two further angels with censers, Saint Peter with the keys to heaven, and Saint Katherine with her wheel.
Along some streets in Howth

22 July 2017

Our sunset in Howth. Tomorrow we are off to Arklow again.
A little sketch I worked on while in transit, and our arrival into Howth, which they pronounce hooth.
Today for lunch, I made a Pasta salad, comprised of small seasoned tomato squares, green beans, sardines and rotini pasta, accompanied with baked bread rolls. Yummy. After a quick cleaning of the galley, I went above to keep watch and within minutes spotted a whale off to our starboard stern quarter. Rick says it was a pilot whale, but to me it looked like a Sei whale. Shortly after, I spotted a very large pub of dolphins at 53 40.43N, 005 13'.4W.
We slipped away into the morning, stealthily, under partly cloudy skies, yet fairly nice day, especially after yesterday's temper tantrum thrown by the weather. It pooped down torrential rain during yesterday morning, with wind to accompany, thus very happy with the climate this morning.

21 July 2017

Dinner at Aldor's, the restaurant next door, where I dined on duck, while Rick dined on Lamb.
Very nice Gin, and the components which went into making a sublimely delicious Gin & Ginger Ale drink and finally a single malt scotch that both I and Rick agree was to our liking.
Additional imagines of Bar & Lounge
Mother and daughter team from the Old Commercial Bar & Lounge. The father was out playing golf. An old well was uncovered, and the local is splendidly taken care of. The bar is the heaviest patronized, while the comfortable lounge remained pretty vacant.
A few monuments decorate the village as my stroll continues toward the Marina, but what catches my eye is a tower perched on a hill just outside Ardglass, known as Isabella's Tower, built by local landlord Aubrey William Beauclerk in 1851 for his sickly daughter, on the hill that provided respite for a traveling king, reportedly cured the young girl of tuberculosis and safeguarded a colourfully decorated burial urn for thousands of years.
As I returned to get my laundry out of the dryer, and bid farewell to Chris, whom would be departing us today, the village took on a different view, one of slow abandonment. In the water, one spies the old changing room used perhaps by the royal ladies to switch into the bathing suits. If only the old walls of this village could talk, the stories and history that they might impart on us.
Two more fotos of the golf course, Aldo's where we enjoyed our evening meal, The Old Commercial Bar and lounge, and some pictures of this portion of the village and finally Margaret's Castle, a castle is a small Tower house property built in the 15th century, with only two storeys still existing but there is evidence to indicate that it was at least three storeys high. It is vaulted above the ground floor with a rectangular tower, projecting turrets in the north west wall. The doorway between the turrets was protected by a murder-hole. A spiral stairway rises within the west turret.
The view along the golf course was to be enjoyed. The weather, was blustery, but I still enjoyed my stroll.
Ardglass Castle was originally a row of 15th century warehouses by the harbour. As I strolled the golf club, quite a bit of the original building could still be seen within the modern club house of Ardglass Golf Club, which claim to be the oldest golf club in he world. The 15th century structures, converted into a castellated house at the end of the 18th century, where the first and last Baron Lecale. Ogilvie, later worked to develop Ardglass as a fashionable seaside resort and port and the old warehouses were given battlements, regular windows and the interior was decorated with plasterwork of the period. In the later 19th century, there was further work on the windows and a porch added to one front, while the castle became the premises of Ardglass Golf Club.
Cowd Castle, a castle house situated on the other side of the road from Margaret's Castle, is quite small, today adorns the entrance to Ardglass Golf Club. It's a two-storey tower that could date back to the 15th century or early 16th century. The doorway is situated in the west wall and a straight mural stairway led to the upper level.
Ardglass, another coastal fishing village which until recently also derived quite a bit of it income from tourism, was located in the historic barony of Lecale Lower. At one time it was know as the village with six pubs and six castles, although today only three pub still exist in operation, but Ardglass is still a relatively important fishing harbour. Jordan's Castle early history is somewhat obscure, yet authentic reference to a defence of the castle by Simon Jordan against the O'Neills for three years, until relieved by Lord Deputy Mountjoy in 1601 has been verified. 18th century historians says that "it is most probable that Jordan's Castle was erected by one of the family, whose arms, a cross and three horseshoes, are fixed in a stone near the top". In 1911 the Belfast antiquarian, Francis Joseph Bigger, bought the castle and restored it, and more recently also extensively used for get-togethers of the wide circle of Irish Cultural revival artists and writers.

20 July 2017

Our arrival into Ardglass was good and as scheduled. This would be out second arrival into Ardglass, after the previous time it being late in the evening, this time would allow us a rest day, thus time to explore the town, which is my objective today. Ardglass in previous times has at least six castles, to f which remains of four of them can still be seen, Ardglass Castle, Cowd Castle, Margaret's Castle and Jordan's Castle? Currently moved laundry into the dryer, after just finishing the wash cycle. The Marina is ran by this kind old gentleman, whom goes by the name of Fred, must be in his seventies, still active and moving about like a young man of fifty.
Departed Carrickfergus Marina this morning at 07:00, under overcast skies, with winds out of the south at F3-4, heading toward Ardglass, our next destination. At noon, I made ham, bacon, egg, and tomato sandwiches in which ever combination was requesting, either with ham or bacon, on toast or un-roasted bread, with mayo or brown sauce. We had about 17 nautical miles to go, prior to arrive into Ardglass, thus feeding the crew was a good idea.

19 July 2017

Map of Belfast. The train trip was pretty quick and the round trip from Carrickfergus to Belfast and back cost about £4.50. After arrival at Carrickfergus, I visited the local Chuch which was surrounded by grave yards.
Upon departure from Belfast City Hall, I headed back to The Great Victoria Station, to catch a train back to Carrickfergus, and rest my tired feet, and quick stopped into The Crown, to await for my train departure time.
Floodlights have been recently added to City Hall, and light up the building in a variety of colours and combinations. Applying the identical technology used as with the Empire State Building in New York, a white illumination will be applied to the building after dusk, and it will also be 'colour-washed' on special dates.
The City Halls exterior is built mainly from Portland stone, in the Baroque Revival style, and covers an area of one and a half acres and has an enclosed courtyard. It features towers at each of the four corners, with a lantern-crowned 173 ft copper dome in the centre, and the City Hall dominates the city centre skyline. Like other Victorian buildings in the city centre, the City Hall's copper-coated domes are a distinctive green. The Titanic Memorial in Belfast is located on the grounds of Belfast City Hall.
Upon departure from the Cathedral, I headed to Belfast City Hall, which is quite an impressive building. The grounds were kept immaculate, as was the building itself. Belfast City Hall, the civic building of Belfast City Council, is located on Donegall Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland, effectively divides the commercial and business areas of the city centre. Belfast City Hall, occupies the site where White Linen Hall, an important international Linen Exchange, was once located. The plans for City Hall began in 1888, after Belfast was awarded city status by Queen Victoria, in recognition of Belfast's rapid expansion and thriving linen, ship and engineering industries. The architect Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas completed the city hall in 1906 at a cost of £369,000.
Once I departed Granny Annie's, I found my way through Belfast to the St. Anne's Cathedral, also known as Belfast Cathedral, of the Church of Ireland in Donegall Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, which is about 100 years old, yet plagued with a foundation which is sinking, since it was build on soft gray with oak timber used as the base, which is great so long as the oak remains moist, but bad if is dries and commences to rot, which is what is happening at the moment. From about mid point forward, the floor has sunk about 12 inches. There are beautiful mosaics throughout the rear of the Cathedral which are awe inspiring and a must see.
Have arrived in Belfast, but prior to my wander, I will have a bite of lunch at Granny Annies Kitchen. I had a club sandwich, something I have not had in a very long time and it was delicious.
From Whitehead, I then hoped onto the train once again, with my new destination Belfast. I will spend the remainder of the afternoon in Belfast, prior to returning to Carrickfergus this evening. So much to see. Such a great day to enjoy sight seeing and mingling with the locals.
From the Castle I traveled via train to Whitehead to visit the Whitehead Train Museum.
The Carrickfergus Castle, amazingly preserved was well worth the visit and perhaps the best preserved thus far visited on this tour. Well worth the visit.
On the grey overcast morning, we shall visit he Carrickfergus Castle, then continue toward Whitehead, to tour the Whitehead Railway Museum, the picturesque Whitehead village, and enjoy a light lunch by the seaside, prior arrival o return toward the Belfast direction. We might make to Belfast...prior to the evening closing in. Carrickfergus Castle, a Norman Irish castle in Northern Ireland, situated in the town of Carrickfergus, was besieged in turn by the Scottish, Irish, English and the French. Carrickfergus Castle, strategic military stronghold, was critical until 1928 and is one of the best preserved medieval structures in Northern Ireland. It was of high value to the military armies attributed to the Castle having 3/4 of the castle perimeter surrounded by water, but attributed to land reclamation only 1/3 is surrounded by water today.

18 July 2017

And finally back to the Marina. We dined at a local establishment call Weatherspoons, the Central Bar on Tuesday Special which was steak, and return to the Marina for an early evening. Tomorrow we tour the Castle, Whitestone and some museums.
Our stroll took us along the promenade, to a park where they would have a puppet show this evening, and so on.
We continued the stroll, once he paid his fine, and promptly moved away from the scene. The town remembers the American Special Forces, whom were station here during the WWII, and a tank from Churchhills brigade of tanks.
A leisure stroll through the town of Carrickfergus with Rick. He did it again and wound up in trouble, as the last picture depicts the punishment.
Our arrival at Carrickfergus Marina, under clear blue skies, and finally a very warm summer, provide a spectacular view of the Carrickfergus Castle. Th Marina office facilities are fantastic and the reception extremely friendly.
Approaching the scenic Whitehead, a small seaside town on the east coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, which is almost midway between the towns of Carrickfergus and Larne. Whitehead, a very colorful town, is located at the base of Muldersleigh Hill, at the entrance to Belfast Lough. The town lies in a small bay between the limestone cliffs of Whitehead and the black volcanic cliff of Blackhead, with the Blackhead Lighthouse on top. In Whitehead there are no streets with the suffix "Street" in their name, which gave rise to the nickname 'The Town With No Streets'. In the later Victorian and Edwardian years, Whitehead a popular seaside holiday destination, saw visitors flocked yearly from Belfast and the surrounding area. The town also was home to an aerodrome during the First World War which housed two airships. Whitehead is a Victorian railway village with a well preserved conservation area, including the railway station.
Gobbins, a cliff-face path in Islandmagee, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, is located on the Causeway Coastal Route. Running across bridges, past caves and through a tunnel, it is situated along The Gobbins cliffs. The coastal walk is conducted under guided tour, with hard hats worn by all, takes about 2 1/2 hours to complete.
In route to Carrickfergus Marina, which is located in the Belfast bay. Very near by is the Cerrickfergus Castle. Some wondering shall be done at the location.
Our first morning of fog setting in. Visibility is about 50 meters.

17 July 2017

Today for dinner we enjoyed a chicken breast wrapped in bacon, a slice of pork chop, with mash potatoes and mixed vegetables, prepared by Rick, which was delicious. Yummy. Our sunset.
The gentleman standing at the edge f the breakwater, when standing did not move an inch for 15 minutes. My cruising colleagues swore it was a statue, but the three photos prove other wis. Can you spot him.
The Bridge Inn Tavern, was my last stop prior to returning to the port, where Indigo awaited, shining bright and looking splendid again after her was.
Glenarm town
Castles ground continued.
More of Glenarm Castle grounds.
Once Indigo received a bath and was put to bed, I took a stroll through the town of Glenarm, which apparently was exhausted from the festivities which were now winding down. The Glenarm Castle grounds were being cleaned, the streets were empty, and tonight only a few events would be hosted.
Our arrival into Glenarm Marina brought intrigue, mystery and a certain tranquility to the afternoon. The crew request lunch, thus I whipped up some egg omelettes filled with bits of bacon, tomato, diced potatoes, chopped chives, sautéed onions and grated cheddar cheese, served with an accompany of toast, which was time perfectly, leaving a half hour before mooring up in the Marina.
Out departure from Ballycastle towards Glenarm, 17 July, 2017, 10:50 AM, under beautiful clear blue skies, calm seas with a breeze of about 6 knots, which is not enough to sail on, thus we are motor-sailing.
I am hoping to catch a view of Caber tossing, a traditional Scottish athletic event, host competitors tossing a large tapered pole called a "caber", that is normally practised at the Scottish Highland Games. Cabers in Scotland are normally made from a Larch tree, typically being 19 feet 6 inches tall and weighing in at about 175 pounds.
Dalriada Summer Festival in Glenarm, comprised of events that highlight the unique historic Sporting, Music and Food cultures of both Ireland and Scotland, reflect shared heritages that extends way back into time the ancient kingdom of Dal Riada. It is billed as N.Ireland’s biggest cultural and heritage festival, the main objective of the Festival is share local talent, renew passion and belief in the local area and generate excitement in the land, its people and their shared cultural heritage. The festival attracts in excess of 20,000 visitors whom enjoy Highland Games, Fine Foods, Celebrity Chef demonstrations, arts and crafts, live music and children’s entertainment and large outdoor concerts which to date have featured the likes of The Priests, Duke Special, Ronan Keating, Sharon Corr amongst many others. Major sporting events such as Scotland/Ireland Rowing Regatta, Triathlon, Horse Hunt Chase and tossing the caber, in addition to a street carnival and fireworks finale.

16 July 2017

Although we had dinner on board, I for this absolutely fabulous restaurant that could not be pass. Is was located in the basement of a building, yet the environment was simply sublime, and needed to be explored. I was welcome by the the staff with open arms and smilies that brighten up the place. As I gaze around, all were in the mist of enjoying what ever was presented to them, and this thus, I had to try it. I spotted duck breast on the menu and since it is my signature dish, I had to try it. I ordered a portion and was absolutely astonished with what was delivered. It was simply sublime and absolutely mouth watering. It was prepared with heart and the presentation, just unbelievable.
As I strolled down the streets of Ballycastle, I felt that all the residence were happy, and going about the day to day life without a care in the world. The village was alive, kids were out playing, Shinty, Soccer, or just in the play ground having a good time. Even in the Marina, where it was clearly posted swimming in the harbor was strictly prohibited, the kid were merrily diving is and having a good time. Fish and Chips, Ice Cream, Restaurants, Pub, Yoga spas, store fronts, and very clean the village was.
More or my stroll along Ballycastle.
Our destination for tomorrow is Glenarm, a village in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, lies on the North Channel coast north of the town of Larne and the village of Ballygalley. The village since the Norman times, is the family seat of the MacDonnells, who once occupied Dunluce Castle on the north coast. The village's its main street leads directly to Glenarm Forest, from where Glenarm Castle can be seen. During the 5th to 7th centuries, Glenarm layed within the territory of the kingdom of Dal Riada. This covered coastal County Antrim from Glenarm to Bushmills. The area at one point came under threat from the Vikings who founded their settlement of note in Ulster at Larne.
I found this little art gallery which had a sign Loraine would absolutely love, although she may never know that I found the sign for her. Guess which one it is in the the following photos.
We arrived to a very sheltered Marina, here in Balleycastle, about 14:20 hours this afternoon. The harbor master greeted us on the berth, to assist us in securing Indigo, a pleasant surprise. The harbor is nice and the facilities great.
The receptionist at the visitor's center was lovely and pleasant, with a genuine smile, and a laugh to match. We chatted for a bit, prior to continuing my wanders through this portion of the village. I look forward to strolling through the rest of the village after dinner, which would be Salmon, diced potatoes, carrots and thinly slice zucchini.
Half way to our next destination. Excellent sailing weather, although a bit on the chilly side. Ballycastle, a small town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, is located on the north-easternmost coastal tip of the island of Ireland at the northern mainland limit of the Antrim Coast and Glens Area. One an view both Rathlin Island and the Mull of Kintyre from the coastline. Ballycastle, home of the Corrymeela Community, was the seat and main settlement of the old Moyle District Council. Ballycastle is said to be the best place to live in Northern Ireland.

15 July 2017

Yesterday evening I enjoyed some traditional Scottish music which was on at the Islay hotel.
It was a great day today, even though it was grey, wet, and completely overcast for the majority of the day, it turned out to pass very quickly, for I rushed back to Port Ellen to deposit my bags of goodies on Indigo, say hello to Rick and quickly rush off to find some facilities, and head over to the restaurant we were booked into for dinner.
As I stroll trough the village, it is evident how much of the village businesses actually sales either whisky or it's associated ware to make some money. I am going to try catching the bus back to Port Ellen from here to mix it up a bit. I took a cab here, and now to try out the public transport system. Must wait a half hour. Very bumpy ride.
And finally, I am famished, thus a spot of late lunch was in order. Well worth my entering for lunch, for the seafood chowder was delicious and the burger great.
A stroll though the town, led me into a few establishments, which one in particular had coins laid on the wall by seagoing seamen, whom would come back and not have to pay for their first round. This 1957 bottle, of which few were bottled, sold for about £100,000 each. The distillery's 2,000,000 liters capacity is fermented in traditional wooden washbacks before the liquid is passed through two wash stills and then through two spirit stills. The waste heat from the distillation process is used to heat a nearby public swimming pool, built in one of the distillery's former warehouses. Bowmore bottles all whisky produced at the distillery and their other distilleries at a facility in Springburn, Glasgow.
My stroll through the Bowmore Distillery, was extremely informative, and ended with 3 drams, which only cost £7 for the tour and drams. The Bowmore Distillery, established in 1779 by a John P. Simson, eventually passed into the ownership of the Mutter family, a family of German descent. Mutter introduce a number of innovative processes to the distillery during his tenure and even had a small iron steam ship built to import barley and coal from the mainland and to export the whisky to Glasgow. A bottle of 1850 Bowmore Single Malt sold for £29,400 at an auction in September 2007.
Today, my tour continues with a visit to Bowmore Distillery, which still is one of my favorite Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. From here a spot of lunch at a unknown location. Bowmore village, founded in 1768 by Daniel Campbell of Shawfield and Islay, was part of a resettlement scheme to move people from the old village of Killarrow that was near Islay House. The streets of Bowmore's, laid out on a grid pattern, ascend over a distance of about 300m from the pier to the Round Church. When initially constructed, it was said that small fields were left between the rows of houses so that the inhabitants could grow their family's food, keep a milking cow, but these fields since then have been filled with houses and business fronts. The small harbor was originally built in 1750, subsequently extended and rebuilt, notably during WWII when it was reinforced and a breakwater was added.

14 July 2017

I walk away from this one with two bags and stopped in at the local pub which was very entertaining.
This distillery had an established presence about itself....making it feel old.
On my way back from Ardbeg, I stopped in at the Lagavulin distillery, and attended the sensation tour which took you through 5 single malt and their components.
It was a good thing that I had studied up on the process, for I was able to distill from the information provided on the tour, what was real and what was elaborated to enhance the tour.
We were allow to photograph some areas, yet others to keep the mystic of the process, we were forbidden to photograph.
The tour of the distillery took us from the beginning through the end of the process, malt grinding, extraction, distilling, refinement and casting.
Ardbeg is quit impressive although perhaps the smallest distillery on the Isle.
This morning saw us traveling to Ardbeg to commence our single malt exploration session, which would last most of the day, at least for me.

13 July 2017

Tomorrow, we head off on the single malt scotch whisky tours, seeking to expand our understanding of the golden liquid, while expanding my appreciation of the drink. Yes, it shall be a good day.
We departed this morning from Gigha to Port Ellen on the Isle of Islay. Port Ellen is a small village with businesses that seem to depend on tourism, as with most of the ports that we have thus far visited. We headed to Co-op to do some grocery shopping, and I prepared dinner which consisted of Sautéed Pork Chops smothered in a sweet onion sauce, quartered potatoes baked with tomatoes, chopped chives and dices bacon which was then topped of with grated cheddar cheese, steamed green bean smeared in butter, and finally a tomato salad in olive-vinegar-wine sauce. All plates were cleaned, thus I believe it was a success. I later topped up Indigo's water tank, with Chris help I re-rolled the genoa, and finally checked all mooring lines for the evening.

12 July 2017

Yesterday evening we listen to a Scottish Music Concert presented by a four piece folk group in the community hall. The music was great and wine was offered to accompany the presentation. The group comprised of two Scotts, an young Italian and a gentleman from Sari ova.
While walking through the isle of Gigha, I came across various commercial businesses catering to the tourism, some such as the general store catering to islanders and tourist, other such at the wind turbine plant, now boasting 4 medium size turbines, being commercially active and selling power back to the main Scottish power grid, having recovered its initial investment in less than five year and was generations a yearly profit of £80,000 with three turbine, meaning it currently must be clearly £100,000 annually. The boathouse is advertis d as being a great place to dine, this tonight we dine there, while we later attend a local concert at the Village community hall. Should be a great evening.
We land d on the Isle of Gigha, a small island off the west coast of Kintyre in Scotland, which forms part of Argyll and Bute with a resident population of approximately 172 people. The island's long history, and from what I have read and learned f on the locals, it is the ancestral home of Clan MacNeill, and may of played an important role during the Kingdom of Dalriada. It fell under Norse control and the Lords of the Isles prior to integration into modern Scotland. High AIS slowly being transformed, and now boast a growing population and a variety of new commercial activities to complement farming and tourism.
You will probably notice something different in the pictures, a hint, what else is blue besides the water? We have arrived at our destination for the day, moored on the pontoon, long enough to blow up the dingy, slip from the pontoon and head back out to pick up a mooring buoy. I cleaned the heads, galley, saloon and floors, then took a well deserved nap, while Rick and Chris helmed us here.

11 July 2017

Tomorrow's destination in Ardminish mooring, Isle of Gigha, which makes it a fairly long day, but hopefully some sally weather, if not we motor again. N d some me wind, some sun, some good sailing weather in general. Thanks for all the well wishes, and positive thoughts, and Ron, big hugs, and best wishes to you. Regards to Bernice. Scotland has been great, but need some sunshine please. Pa, glad to hear your ok. Petra, a big hello to you, jo, all the best, Jana big hugs, and to all the very best.
Rick enjoying a book, after Pasta Ala Craobh, prepare by Chef Chris, departing thought for this evening, what a beautiful sunset. The days are improving as we move further south. Our evenings are 100% improving while the mornings slowly attempt to improve. We shall have that marvelous day, from dawn through sunset that we will wish would never would end.
Craobh Haven was built in 1983 as a holiday resort village and marina, by Glasgow-based architects Gillespie, Kidd & Coia were involved in the early stages of the project, but were replaced before the construction of the buildings. The large, safe water marina was formed by the building of causeways and a large breakwater between a small group of tidal saltwater islands, while the village with is single public house, "The Lord of The Isles", contains a village store, bar & restaurant. The village is comprised of two small terraces of houses, a group of small cottages, mostly holiday rentals, and several small cottages and larger houses scattered around the outer edges and the hillside above the village. The bar/ restaurant at cost and quiet, although for dinning reservations are highly recommended. In my opinion, stay away from Tobermory Dark Ale, thus far scoring the lowest on my search.
I stopped into The Giving Tree to browse around, picked up some tea towels, and had a lovely cup or tea while chatting with the owner, and brother of the engineer whom constructed Craobh village. The owner believes that I am connected with the three letter US government agency, because of my previous work location, of which I denied and strings...but so be it, I will let their imaginations run wild for now. How ever the cute border collie saw me as a very nice person whom scratched and rubbed behind his ears.
Craobh Haven is a small purpose-built village and sailing port on the west coast of Argyll and Bute, Scotland, situated on the Craignish peninsula.
Our travel to Craobh this morning was by motor, since the wind never rose above 6 knots, and we did wish to arrive sometime today versus tomorrow, thus no sails were hoisted. Craobh Marina boasting 250 berths, located on the Northern shore of the Craignish peninsula, was created in one of the most scenic areas of Scotland.
We awoke this morning to blue sky's, with a few scattered clouds, to depart Oban Yacht club mooring buoys towards or next destination Craobh Marina on the sound of Jura. Once I get some connectivity, I will do some research.

10 July 2017

They are moments such as these, which make sailing a dream, one wishes not to awake from.
Oban city, Oban Yacht Club Marina and surrounding views. We shall moor off a mooring buoy for the evening today, after picking up Chris.
Unfortunately we are a week too early to moor in the new Oban transit marine, which will open next week for the first time, which we believe will bring a major boost in marine tourism income to the city. The berthing facilities for the vessels from an external view inward look great, but can not speak to the facilities for the mariners. Will need to revisit in the future.
Arrival into Oban bay on 10 July 2017 at approximately 14:00 hours.
Departing Dunstaffnage toward Oban Yacht Club moorings, and the last one rings true...some of the time, but not 100% of the time.

9 July 2017

Dunstaffnage Castle, a view of the Marina from the Castle, and a Summer Sailing School for young kids.
Previous captured on the camera was Castle Stalker, located on the tidal isle Eileen An Stalcarie, is a four-story keep or tower house on Loch Laich, an inlet off Loch Linnhe. The isle is accessible, with some difficulty, from the shore at low tide. Most recently, the castle was brought to fame by appearing in their film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Dunstaffnage Castle, which can be viewed from the Dunstaffnage Marina and lies about 3 miles from Oban, is situated on a platform of conglomerate rock on a promontory at the south-west of the entrance to Loch Etive, surrounded on three sides by the sea.
Jo! what I have read, the Clan Cameron is one of the most ancient of Scottish clans and reputed as fiercer than any other. Better, give this clan a wide berth, and keep myself in their good graces. The clan is rumored to have descended from the King of Denmark Fergus II upon his restoration in 778 AD. History- In the fifteenth century Donald Dubh married into the family of Cambrun of Ballegarno in Fife, bringing together a confederation of tribes that became known as Clan Cameron. James V set the charter of the barony of Lochiel in Lochaber on the captain of Clan Cameron, further cementing the clans rights. The Castle of Achnacarry, built in the seventeenth century, then became the home of the Camerons. The rebuilding of Achnacarry Castle vertually bankrupted the Lochiel estates with much of the tenantry and famillies evicted to the clearances. Clan Cameron is comprised of one main branch Lochiel, and numerous smaller branches such as Erracht, Clunes, Glen Nevis, and Fassifern.
And yes, the Irish also produce malt whiskeys, but the Irish whiskey is distilled three times as opposed to only twice for scotch, for a rounder mouthfeel and a smoother, friendlier finish. Irish single malt are: West Cork 10 Year Old Irish Whiskey Bushmills 10 Year Old Tyrconnell Clontarf Trinity Connemara Peated Irish Whiskey Locke's 8 Year Old Connemara Peated Irish Whiskey Glass Pack The Irishman Single Malt
Large areas of Scotland, covered with peat bogs, have been formed over a period of 1000 to 5000 years by decayed vegetation and can be up to several meters thick,growing by approximately 1mm per year. People have been using peat as an energy source in Scotland for centuries now, which is cut in small slices and piled up into small pyramids for drying. Water drains off the peat pyramids very fast and turns the soft slices into hard briquettes, which can then be used for burning, similar to coal.
Now onto another of my favorite subjects. Single Malt Whiskeys. To prepare barley for distillation it must first be malted, which is accomplished by steeping the grain in water, allowing it to germinate which then generating the sugars that are so important for fermentation. Traditionally the drying process was done using whatever fuels were available locally i.e. wood, coal, or peat, peak being the easiest and free to collect, although today hot air is commonly used to produce classic unpeated barley. The amount of smokiness a whisky contains is determined by the time the barley grain is exposed to the pungent peat smoke during the malt drying drying. Some of the damp malt can be dried for approximately 30 hours, prior to being used in the production of whiskey. Laphroaig dries its malt over peat fire for about 18 of these 30 hours, while Glengoyne uses only unpeated malt.
This is where it really gets bad, for 120 men under the command of Robert Campbell of Glenlyon took shelter in Glencoe as guests of the MacDonalds, where suddenly late at night Alastair MacIain was killed in his bed along with 37 of his men throughout three villages (Invercoe, Inverrigan, and Achnacon), while approximately 40 women and children fled and died of exposure in the cold winter nights of Glencoe. Most headstones being slate, have come from the nearby Ballachulish quarry, with ornate writing. Which is a rather unusual material for highland burial grounds, but I would imagine very beautifully set against the summer grass. The site of the massacre nearby, even though it was more than 320 years ago, it's still an old tale about the betrayal of trust, about death and life in the Highlands of Scotland, remember and passed along generation to generation by many. Many a piper will have played a sad lament, when a boat took a new body to the island of the graves.
I have unearthed that various Highland clans had bury their dead here, the Stewarts of Ballachulish, the Camerons of Callart and the MacDonalds of Glencoe, among many others. There exist a small plate depicting the grave of a legendary chief of the MacDonald clan, Alastair MacIain, whom was the 12th Chief of Glencoe who had travelled though the wilderness of Glencoe to Fort William to swear fealty to the King, but the story goes that the governor there refused to take the oath and sent the old chief through the winter storms to Inverary to make his oath there, with a letter in hand stating he had been in time but in the wrong place. MacDonalds believed they were safe, but regardless of meaning, letters, or treaty, the Campells persuaded the King to order the MacDonald’s death.
Another bit of interesting new that I will share with you is now, two individuals, Bill and Bert, have brought up the massacre of Glencoe, and now for the story. On the shores of Loch Leven, close to the road up towards Glencoe, but actually much closer to Ballachulish, for we were able to see it very clearly from the boat, rises a small island out of the cold tidal waters called Eilean Munde. No bridge or ferry connects the island full of graves with the world of the living and you would definitely need a boat to access it.
Rick also just informed me that the French couple also had their dinghy run over by a boater here which does not surprise me, for just as I was returning to Indigo, from signing us in at the Marina reception, I witness a large Beneteau cruiser solidly clip a berth blue sail boat as it passed. The skipper was definitely moving way too fast through the Marina for a betting maneuver. It seems that there is quite a bit going on here in the Marina.
Of all people to run into, remember the French couple with whom we had work our way through the Crinan Canal and completed it, well they have just literally run into me in the Dunstaffnage Marina office, where they explain to me that their motor broke down, I believe it had something to do with the water pump, but anyway they have been stuck in Oban Marina for almost 10 days now and are awaiting parts, which will take another 5 days until the part arrives and can get the engine repaired. Such a nice couple...I exchanged my worries, and wished them all the best, and invited them to the pub for a pint to drown their worries. Speaking of worries, I must run down and change my clothes over to the dryer from the washing machine.
Typo....typo, should probably proof read before posting...😂but it was funny to see Rick quickly also mention my typo....😇it was way to cute to watch.
We have arrived at Dunstaffnage Marina, have tied up and signed us in with the pleasant Marina staff.
Our destination for to day is Dunstaffnage, which I'd about 4 minute drive north of Oban, thus bus service should be available. The Marina at Dunstaffnage, having been renovated during 2015, offers a full range of services, to include per the brochure, WIFI. Most Marina that clam this, usually the WIFI signal is so week, and at time non existent, thus limited up-dates and abilities to do research. Indigo will get a scrub down today, fuel and oil, thus she'll be ready for our journey onward. There is an intact castle near the Marina which must be explored. On our passage to Dunnstaffnage, we passed a Castle on an isle called Eilean An Stalcaire and a bunker or mine on Eileen Nan Corach. More research is needed. There is a little guy that comes out every night, and climbs the ladder, to light the candle on the marker. 😂
Also, winches are taken below and finally, if shore power is available, we plug in to keep everything charged up. If Indigo's deck is dirty from the passage, we scrub her down with the appropriate cleanser, rinse her off and dry up the cockpit area. She always sparkles after her wash. Indigo has been brandished with complements during the voyage, I.e. How well she's maintained, How nice she looks, what a beautiful boat...etc, etc. We take turns cleaning the heads (toilet), galley (kitchen), and saloon. Every one maintains their own little area clean. We stock up on provision when needed, mostly at Coop, and fill up the water tanks as need be. Any maintenance that need to be perform is usually tasked out upon arrival. Rubbish is usually carried daily either on arrival or prior to departure.
About life on board Indigo. I take my vitamins, and make up my sleeping area, while simultaneously dressing. We start off the day with a cup of tea, cereal, muesli, or fresh fruit, with occasional toast with butter and marmalade. I prefer my muesli with Almond milk or Soya milk, while Rick goes for the fresh milk. Occasionally, orange juice will be enjoyed by those wanting a glass. After brushing my teeth, if departing we prepare Indigo both above and below, perform engine checks, and make ready to slip. If it is a rest day we share what we wish to explore, and if it matches our desires, we head of together, if not we head in separate ways, scheduling a mid day meeting for a spot of lunch. We normally decide if we shall dine on board or enjoy a fare in the town during the evening. If arriving into port, w make fast (moor Indigo to the pontoon), put her to bed (secure all loose lines so that they make no noise during the evening, cover the main sail and navigation instruments..
We departed Ballachulish, silently this morning not a mist, with complete grey overcast sky's, winds NW at about F1-2, thus motoring toward our next destination. If your interested in slate, nature walks, camping or just catching a patch of grass to sit/lay while reading a book, I recommend the location. Great food at Laroch Restaurant & Bar (Allen Donald is a Michelin Star Chef) but the drinks are cheaper in the hotel bar (which is much more comfortable and quieter). Our next destination is the Oban area, where we pick up Chris's, whom will be joining us up until Dublin, where he hops off and heads home.

8 July 2017

Sailing in Scotland during the summer months can be filled with unpredictable weather, as I have been inform by several skippers whom frequent the waters during June/July, but whom also recommend May as being the best month for warm sailing and minimum storms. I may have to revisit the area in the future during the month of May to ascertain for myself if what has been passed onto me is accurate. I have not had much luck thus far with joining the sailing adventures during the time frames which the skippers have planned, but such is sailing. My Atlantic excursion was too early and this U.K. Sail appear to have begun a bit late. I do miss home now, but I am committed to completing the adventure. I just could not leave Rick in the middle of the sail, for I have committed for the entire journey, thus it would be remiss of me to depart prior to the end of the cruise.
Ballachulish is a small village, mainly existing today from tourism, although the pub environment would not attest to that. The local pub, Laroch Restaurant and Bar located in the village, close to historical Glencoe, offers a restaurant kitchen run by Michelin Star Chef Allan Donald and the staff. Their stated goal is to provide excellent food and service using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. We shall see. I enjoy glazed pork belly on a bed of noodle and shrimp. It was divine. I have not had peppers in over a month, thus thoroughly enjoy the meal. The wow factor. Rick had braise beef on with mash. Allan Donald excited my taste buds. Rick elected to head back to the boat, while I deterred from my destination of the hotel bar, to walk to Glencoe, which was a lovely 2 and 3/4 mile walk.
The quarry was the primary income course for the villagers, for many were employed in the mine. Most villagers affected directly or indirectly by its activities, and the intermittent deafening explosions, continual drilling, hammering and chiseling by both machine and man adversely affected the village and the mine surrounding environment.   The quarry eventually closed in 1955, some say, attributed to two long running disputes over medical care, between the management and the work forces of the quarry. I too a short and interesting walk around the quarry, which was supported by interpretation boards on the history of the quarry, the people, the nature and versatility of Ballachulish Slate, as well as an excellent interpretation of the geology of the area. There were good views of the exposed quarry faces with complex inclined bedding planes revealing the basalt dykes and quartz veins, as well as slaty cleavage planes.
Ballachulish Slate Quarry cuts into the large deposit of Slate Formation (Graphitic Pelite), below Ballachulish, formed about about 800 million years ago. The formation followed low grade metamorphism of very fine grained mud shales (containing iron pyrite). Shales, part of the Dalradian Supergroup, have been subjected to subsequent localized intrusions including those like basaltic dykes and quartz veins. A bluish hue to the slate has been imparted by iron and sulphuric deposits. Ballachulish Slate Quarry, established in 1692, thrived during the 18th Century producing many of the slate roof tiles for surrounding areas, inclusive to many destined for Edinburgh and Glasgow. The Ballachulish quarry supplied 26 million slates during 1845, but much of the quarried slate was found not fit for roof tiles due to the presence of small quantities of iron pyrite that did not weather well in the Scottish climate and resulted with increased porosity in the tiles.
The is a slate quarry behind the hotel here, which was the primary source of income for Ballachulish at one time, but like many other coastal towns, it has shifted to tourism. In the bay which we are presently moored up in are several slate shacks.
We neatly moored onto the Ballachulish pontoon, which was now missing the hammer head that it previously wore, between two ribs. We currently had plenty of water under the keel, with the tide just finishing ebbing as we arrived. This was the good news. We had left messages with Jill, the owner or manager of the pontoon, to no avail. We moor anyway and obtain the gate code from a guy whom had just complete circumnavigating Great Britain in a rib, and was now planning to perform the same with Ireland. The sun is currently out in full force, making it nice and warm when she's out, but quickly cooling down when hidden behind clouds. Today we shall problem eat out at a pub, and do some shopping at Co-op. Rick request a Omelet for lunch, which I made with ham,cheese, tomatoes and onions accompanied by toast and a glass of Rose wine. Ymmuy, I must write my receipt down one day.
On our final approach to Ballachulish, our stop for the night, should the have room on the pontoon. We tried calling, and transmitted an e-mail to the management but have yet to receive a reply.
Just past through Corran Narrows, with a width of about 224 meter, meaning the all the water rushing into/out of Loch Linnhe causing the currents through the Narrows to intensive and become a bit rough dependent on the ebb/flood of the tide.
As we depart Corpach, we came across ocean liner Boudicca anchored outside of Ft. Williams, awaiting the clouds to clear Mt. Ben Nevis, which has not been clear of clouds since we have arrived.

7 July 2017

Upon return to Indigo, I caught the train passing, capture a quick photo, then onto the rescuer squad and finally the basin, followed by Indigo on her berth for the evening. Today for dinner we have Chicken &?Tomato Pene. Yummy.
Ballachulish's principal industry is tourism, although most visitors pass swiftly by the village itself, its' name means "the Village by the Narrows" by Peter or Patrick's son's narrows, at the mouth of Loch Leven. As there was no road to the head of Loch Leven until 1927, the Ballachulish Ferry, established in 1733 was essential for its' survival. The Ballachulish ferry finally closed in December 1975 when the Ballachulish Bridge was opened. The Ballachulish Hotel and Ballachulish House are located near the narrows at south Ballachulish rather than in the village some 3 miles (5 km) east. The Ballachulish House was reputed to be haunted, and the drive leading to it was ridden by a headless horseman which should prove to be an interesting place to visit.
We have descended Neptune's stair case and arrive back at Corpach basin, after a fairly long day. We commenced the descent at about 10:15 and finally arrived at about 14:20 after waiting at a swinging bridge, for a train to pass, for about 50 minutes. We completed the descent in pretty much record time, the say 90 minutes, with Rick on board helming and me managing and walking the lines on shore. Since we were rigged for port, I had to hook and unhook, manage and walk both bow and stern lines which took quite a bit of concentration and timing to not miss a bow or stern unhook or hook up through the locks. Neptune's Staircase is a staircase lock comprised of eight locks on the Caledonian Canal, whom's construction was engineered by Thomas Telford between 1803 and 1822, and is the longest staircase lock in Britain which lowers or raises boats 64 feet (approximately 20 meters). The system, originally hand-powered, was converted to hydraulic operation, facilitating lock operations.

6 July 2017

We motored all day, down the Canal to arrive at this location call Banavie, just before the Neptune stair case which will lead us into Corpach, our starting point of the Canal voyage. The day was overcast and now there is a light misty rain in the air.

5 July 2017

We goosed winged on the way back in 5 to 6 knots of wind for an average return of 2.4 knots of boat speed. Occasionally, we would achieve 3.5 when the wind hit 8 knots, but this was seldom. As the boats continue to come in, I find it unlikely that we shall depart before midday. The line is now doubled up to the front and continuing to grow. It would not surprise me to see a triple raft.p all the way to the front of the cue by morning.
Cruising along he Loch Ness, with line dropped on either side. Perhaps we will catch our lunch, or perhaps not. Along the way, there where beautiful estates to be seen, a sunken yacht, a European jet flew over us just as we arrived at Urquhart Castle, and several scenic nature views. We turned shortly after and commence sailing back down the Lock, although we never spotted the monster nor do we catch any fish, which could be attributed to the depth that we were cruising at (210 meter), and upon return to Fort Augustus, we had to raft up to a new SUN ODYSSEY 419, attributed to a barge eating up 4 spots for boats. Tomorrow we commence our decent back up the Canal.
This morning, I took a stroll through the village for a final time, for we enter the Ness Loch later in the morning, once we have mailed some post cards. As I sit here enjoying the morning in Indigos cockpit, I observe that they yachts have renewed their passage through the locks which are now in operation. Their is a buzz of activitie along the pontoon and the town is slowly coming back to life. With the passage of yachts, the bridge swings closed demand road traffic resumes, while the Ness Express ribs warm up their engines for the grueling day ahead of them. We now prepare for to depart for todays' adventure into the Loch Ness. We pass Rosie, on the way out, still in front of the Navy, whom appear to be prepare to also depart. They do eventually pass us down the Loch as we make our way north enjoying a tea and chocolate browning presented to us by a lovely couple, Pedro and his partner Hanna, from Norway, whom have been sailing for 2 years on a 13 meter steal sailing boat.

4 July 2017

Yesterday evening we enjoying dining out at the Lock Inn, attributed to local entertainment, the menu studied during lunch time and a few pints. I elected to dine on Salmon steak, served on a bed of new potatoes and fresh beans, accompanied by a green salad, which I followed up with a Loch Ness Mud Pie. I enjoyed a few pints of Guinness, and a whiskey to cap off the even, during which we had been entertained by a local musician, performing Scottish leads. We share the venue with a family whom accompanied us through the locks to here from Oich Loch. They were fun and quite engaging. Earlier in the day, I had delivered a bottle of water from Rick to them, for it appeared that their little yacht had run out of water and they did not have a hose long enough to fill their tank. I spotted the U.K. Navy filling their tanks behind them and ask if after they were done, if they could do the family a favor of extending the water hose to them. They agreed and their water shortage resolved.
Needless to say, it the Rebellion ended horribly (including the successive attempts), but although a very small village, which exist mainly on tourism, it does have a charm about it with the passage