My lovely Dad

The best bit about the trip was spending time with my Pa…

…who really is having the time of his life.

Port Ellen

We motored over to Port Ellen on Islay in very overcast conditions.

However it brightened up a bit later…
…which meant we could see where we were more moored, and have a wander round town.

I loved this garden – clearly the owner has a great sense of humour.

Islay v the Mainland…all of it?
We posted a few cards…
…and had a few drinks. One of the locals, Keith, bought us round after round of drinks. As it was his birthday, we really should have been buying for him, but he was faster at getting the barmaid’s attention!
Time to relax…
…and watch the sun go down…
…and maybe a bit of blogging!

Ballycastle

Our next port of call was Ballycastle.

We’d had quite a smooth journey, and as I’d taken some sea sickness pills I wasn’t as sick as a dog as I’d been the previous day. Here is the Mighty Mariner, with George the stern auto-pilot.
At the beginning of the approach is this amazing headland, which I think looks a bit like Staffa.
Pepsand herself – she is a 28ft Colvic Countess.
Ballycastle has a very interesting history, having once been an industrial hot bed, with a coal mine, nowadays it’s principally a seaside resort.
On a wander round town, we noticed that it must be hurling season.
The town’s industrial development was spearheaded by Colonel Hugh Boyd, in the middle of the 18th century.
The town centre was clearly built in one phase, and is laid out on a grid pattern.
As an ex (reformed, exorcised?) techie like me, I had to put up a a picture of the spot where the first Marconi radio test took place. From the spire of the local church…
…to the east lighthouse on Rathlin Island.
Bye, bye Ballycastle!

The day I went to Bangor – UPDATED

Last Friday I flew into Belfast, then took the train to Bangor to met up with my Dad at the marina.

Bangor is a lovely little place…

…with plenty to wander round and see…
…including some old life boats…
…fishing boats…
…and a mine sweeper.
I fell in love with the black guillemots who nest all over the marina.
They are totally habituated to people and and hang around like little penguins.
I’m glad that I had the chance to see Rose the seal (who habitually hangs around the marina)…
…and these well dressed minature schnauzers.
Bye,bye Bangor.

Hello Sailor!

I arrived home from Islay last night, after a great few days with my Pa. Lots of pics to sort through, so it may take a while, especially as I still have some Turkey snaps to put up yet!

Denmark 2008 – Ebeltoft

Lots of Danes have a summer house by the sea. Mogens (my Ma’s cousin Birgit’s, other half) has one in Ebeltoft on Jutland. This beautiful boat is the Fregatten Jylland – the longest wooden boat in the world. 

Here is a close up of the figure head.
It’s still a great place to sail…
…and it’s a commercial harbour too.
We took the ferry (with a cheery, lady captain) from Ebeltoft over to Zealand. 
The warship in the bay was a reminder that the Baltic is still an important sea lane.
The ferry doesn’t half shift! I was amused that The Boy and I both took this snap independantly on different trips!
The spray cast little rainbows on the windows!

A Swell Time on the Swale

On Sunday I went out with my Dad on his boat. He moors at Swale Marina, which is at Conyer, at the end of a tidal creek.

This means that you can only leave and approach the marina around high tide, so it must make it a nice quiet place to moor.

Despite the weather forecast, it was grim! Overcast, spitting with rain and not a breath of wind. In the gloom I could quite imagine the spirit of Magwitch, or Conrad’s narrator in ‘The Heart of Darkness’ – both of whom exist in literature on these marshy, mud flats.

My suggestion that we retire to a nice, warm pub, was greeted with a hard stare, that reminded me of my late, Grandma Edith (Dad’s Mum). I’m glad we didn’t, as we saw lots of wildlife, including an owl in flight and two seals.

Still, we had everything a boater needs…

…including ‘George’, the auto-pilot…

…a fancy GPS system…

…and appropriate mug!

The ‘Master Mariner’ decided to do some fishing.

And caught this little bass.

One of the reasons we’d decided to go out on Sunday, was that there was due to be a Thames Barge Match on. I love Thames Barges, so it would have been a real treat. Unfortunately, the weather meant that it didn’t take place.

We motored all the way round the Isle of Sheppey – which meant we had to go under old Kingsferry Bridge, when it lifted on the top of the hour. The bridge lifts on a water powered hydraulic system.

Every where in the mud flats were great gauges, marking where boats had turned or gone aground. Some large containers ships come through these creeks, bringing materials, such a limestone, to the paper mills.

However, the majority of the boats are small fishing and pleasure craft.

All in all it was quite melancholy – perhaps because of the weather – but more because this is a dying landscape. Until the 1960s this was a busy working waterway.

Madeira Day 1 – Funchal Harbour

As you can see Funchal is on a hill sloping down to the sea. This is the one beach on the whole island.

What a wonderful place to sail – straight out to the open sea.
Lots of races and ’round the world trips’ stop here – as you can see from the marina wall.
Cruise ships stop here too. This was from ‘Aida Line’ – as The Boy said, “does that mean it’s powered by Hebrew slaves?” I found the lips rather off-putting!
An interesting name for a boat!

It appears that this boat was built for one of the Vanderbilt’s and later belonged to The Beatles before ending up on the scrapheap. It was then rescued and turned into a restaurant.
Hmm lovely – we’re planning a boat trip later in the week!

And here is my bag man!