Archive For November 14, 2017

Neolithic Orkney

Neolithic Orkney

The Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of four prehistoric monuments dating to some 5,000 years ago. They include the ancient settlement of Skara Brae, the Maeshowe chambered tomb, and two ceremonial stone circles: the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar. After freeing our ensnarled anchor at Widewall Bay,…

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St. Mary’s Bay

St. Mary’s Bay

In October of 1939, the German U-boat U-47 crept into Scapa Flow through Kirk Sound and sunk the British battleship Royal Oak. To protect Scapa Flow, Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, ordered the construction of barriers across the eastern side of Scapa Flow. 66,000 locally cast concrete blocks were dropped onto a…

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Managing Fuel Quality

Managing Fuel Quality

When we left Seattle on our trip around the world, we were expecting fuel quality issues to be common and carried 48 Racor 900 fuel filters. Surprisingly, we used less than ten on the entire trip. Most of the fuel we got world-wide was surprisingly good. We did encounter some minor fuel quality issues, but…

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Scapa Flow Museum

Scapa Flow Museum

Scapa Flow, a large bay in the center of the Orkney Islands, was the base for the British Fleet during the two World Wars. The former Royal Navy base at Lyness now is the Scapa Flow Visitor Center and Museum, covering the history of the area and it’s use as a naval base, plus lots…

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Longhope

Longhope

The RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) is an amazing life-saving group. They are supported by donations, and most of those out there risking their lives in maritime rescues are volunteers. The RNLI serves the UK and Ireland, and operates in some very difficult sea conditions. The Longhope RNLI station on Hoy Island in the Orkney…

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Orkney Islands Arrival

Orkney Islands Arrival

The currents around the Orkney Islands are among the swiftest in Great Britain. Currents in the Pentland Firth separating the islands from mainland Scotland can reach nine knots on spring tides and powerful tide rips form on the west-bound current, particularly in an opposing wind. We had lovely, calm conditions on our overnight run from…

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St. Kilda

St. Kilda

Historic St. Kilda is on the edge of the edge. Lying 40nm west of the Outer Hebrides, the archipelago has no all-weather anchorage and is exposed to the full force of Atlantic storms. The islands are the first Scottish UNESCO World-Heritage Site and Scotland’s only Natural World Heritage site. The dramatic scenery there is enough…

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Stornoway

Stornoway

As is often the case, once we’d arrived in Stornoway we liked our berth and the town so much that we immediately extended our stay from four days to a week. We toured the Isle of Lewis, walked all over town, reprovisioned, visited the excellent Museum nan Eilean and, of course, checked out the local…

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Isle of Lewis

Isle of Lewis

In reaching the Butt of Lewis at the north end of Lewis Island, we’d been to both the most northern light in the Outer Hebrides and the most southern, on Berneray Island. Our day trip around Lewis Island also included stops at scenic Mangestra, the Standing Stones of Callanish, an historic roundhouse and several traditional…

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Stornoway Arrival

Stornoway Arrival

Stornoway Harbour was only the second marina we’ve stopped at since arriving in Scotland two months ago, and again we weren’t the only Nordhavn there. At James Watt Dock Marina near Glasgow, Nordhavn 55 Odyssey was moored behind us. At Stornoway, Nordhavn 68 Vesper was one pontoon away from us. We spent the afternoon of…

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Shiant Islands and Loch Mariveg

Shiant Islands and Loch Mariveg

A sailboat was visible through the Garbh Eilean arch as we arrived in the striking Shiant Islands. We gave serious considration to anchoring there for the night, but high winds were expected so we elected to take a more sheltered anchorage in beautiful Loch Mariveg instead. Trip highlights from September 6 and 7th in the…

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Loch Maddy

Loch Maddy

The CalMac ferry Hebrides runs from the Isle of Skye to Loch Maddy in the Outer Hebrides. We spent several nights anchored at Loch Maddy beneath dramatic North Lee, and enjoyed watching the Hebrides arrive and dock, particularly during a storm where we saw winds to 60 knots. We got the opposite perspective, with a…

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Preparing Dirona for the North Atlantic Crossing

Preparing Dirona for the North Atlantic Crossing

Below is a 24-minute narrated video preparing Dirona for the 2,801 nautical-mile North Atlantic transit from Newport, Rhode Island to Kinsale Ireland. We first show storm plate (clear window protection covers) installation at the dock using the tender as a working platform on the port side. Then we move the SCUBA tanks below and secure…

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Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye

The spectacular Isle of Skye scenery makes it one of Scotland’s top three tourist destinations, along with Edinburgh and Loch Ness. We had considered visiting Skye in Dirona, but instead opted to make a day trip by ferry from Loch Maddy. This gave us the added bonus riding one of the big CalMac ferries, something…

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Flodday Sound

Flodday Sound

The anchorage at Flodday Sound is below 475ft (145m) Beinn na h-Aire and 1,140ft (347m) Eaval, both accessible to climb. At high tide, the complex islet-strewn waterway can be explored beyond the causeway that connects Benbecula to North Uist. And fresh seafood is available from the nearby fishing community at Kallin Harbour to the south….

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Loch Skipport

Loch Skipport

Loch Skipport is a beautiful area, with several good anchorage choices, an excellent view hike, and a complex shoreline to explore by tender. We spent three nights there, partly enjoying the surroundings, but also replacing our 120-volt interver that failed shortly after we arrived. Trip highlights from Aug 29th through 31st at Loch Skipport in…

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Tender Replacement Time

Tender Replacement Time

Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RIBs) have many advantages. They don’t mark a boat’s hull when alongside, they have sufficient buoyancy to stay afloat when completely full of water, and they are sold in large enough quantities that pricing is competitive. They have lots of downsides as well and the demise of most inflatables is slow…

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Barra Island

Barra Island

The airport on Barra Island is reported to be the only one worldwide with scheduled beach landings. We anchored in aptly-named Castle Bay off 15-century Kisimul Castle for a few days and did a bicycle tour of the island, including taking in a beach landing. Trip highlights from August 25th through 28th, 2017 on Barra…

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