9 July 2012

Day 2: Glenarm to Port Ellen (Islay)

Leave Glenarm: 0310
Arrive Port Ellen: 0820

"Beep Beep! Beep Beep!" went the alarm at 0240. "Groan, Groan" went the crew. But up the skipper got, to assess the wind speed & give Larne port control (Warren on nightshift) a ring to get the latest weather info.

Meanwhile, I lie below hoping that a hurricane is imminent because:
1. My bed is cosy & I am exhausted.
2. I hate sailing in the dark, really hate it.

Let's face it, what's to like about sailing in the dark? You have no way of seeing pot buoys, logs, fridges (happened once)...or anything else lying in wait to sink a blind ship. On this occasion I'm disappointed, the wind is gentle & it's all hands on deck to make ready for slipping the lines & heading for Islay. I'm only slightly pacified by the fact that it should start getting light within an hour and a half & all potential hazards will at least be visible.

We cast off, avoid the rocks at the entrance to the marina & head out into the inky black sea at 2200rpm. My hate of night sailing is immediately justified by a near(ish) collision with an UNLIT fish farm boundary marker & several black pot buoys!! Not amused is an understatement.

The kids are oblivious to all of this, still out for the count below in their cosy warm bunks. They stick to the plan & don't surface until 0630, by which time the seas have started to calm, as we've headed out of the tide & into a fairly slack sea area at the far side of the north channel TSS, south of Islay.

We didn't see much traffic on the passage, mainly due to the constant drizzle & appalling visibility, but thanks to AIS we know there was one ship southbound in the TSS as we approached the corner & we spotted a motorboat who was in Glenarm the night before approaching from astern about 30 minutes out of Port Ellen. Presumably they left at a reasonable hour, I could almost smell their smugness as they passed.

Approaching Port Ellen, we see the new MV Finlaggan is berthed at the pier, we hope that it isn't about to leave, it doesn't & it dwarves us as we motor past to get to the marina. The smell of cooked breakfast, presumably from the staff restaurant on board, is torture!

There's no problem finding a berth, we take our pick & are soon tied up with the kettle on. After de-lifejacketing, de-waterproofing and de-fleecing, I set to work warming croissants & pouring coffee. Happy faces all round!:)

After breakfast we deploy the onboard auto-childminder facility (netbook with toy story 1-3) and Chris & I head off for a couple of hours sleep.

Post-sleep & after a quick shower we head to the beach, where there's a rowing regatta & tug-o-war taking place as part of Islay's "Festival of the sea". The kids build sandcastles, we watch the festivities & enjoy the amusing commentary.

Later we headed to The Islay Hotel, which Chris has raved about since his boys trip to Islay last October. It seriously disappointed:( Our crab cake starters had no crab in them, well not enough to actually taste any crab and the salad leaves it came with were soggy & brown and would've been better left off the plate. I had roast beef with veg, roast potatoes & yorkshire pudding for main. The 2 tiny slivers of beef were cooked well & tasted lovely, but the small number of roast potatoes were dry & chewy, not crispy. The yorkshire pudding (singular) was ok, but almost certainly frozen. The carrots & broccoli were cooked well, but there was next to no gravy on the plate & due to the wait between asking for more & receiving it, I had eaten most of the meagre offering & made little use of it the end anyway. Unsurprisingly, we decided not to bother with dessert.

Back to Whisper for a cuppa & a Tunnocks teacake (well we are in Scotland) & then it was an early night for all.


No comments:

Post a Comment