Ardnamurchan Point


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Ardnamurchan Point, along the eastern shore of the Sea of the Hebrides, is the westernmost point on mainland Britain. The name derives from the Scottish Gaelic term Ard na Murchan, meaning “the hill of the great sea”. Rounding Ardnamurchan Point is considered a major milestone for cruising boaters. Currents can run 1.5kts around the point and heavy seas develop a good couple of miles off when the tide opposes a strong wind.

Prominent on the tip of the point is the 118-ft (36 m) Ardnamurchan Lighthouse. It was built in 1859 by Alan Stevenson, uncle of author Robert Louis Stevenson, whose family designed most of Scotland’s lighthouses over a period of 150 years.

After waiting out a small weather system at Gometra Harbour, we continued north towards Stornoway, rounding Ardnamurchan Point in calm conditions where we could approach the lighthouse fairly closely. We continued north, past the spectacular scenery on the Isle of Eigg, before stopping for a few nights at Loch na Dal on the Isle of Skye while another weather system passed through.

Below are trip highlights from June 4th through 7th, 2020. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

6/4/2020
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Monitor Failure
We have six Lenovo L1900P monitors installed on Dirona, four in the pilot house, one in the salon, and another in the master stateroom. In 2018 we replaced the two leftmost pilothouse monitors after one failed and the other had become less bright and rather fuzzy. These monitors are on 24×7, so its not unreasonable that they would fail after eight years.

The monitor that shows Maretron N2kView just failed again this morning after only two years in service, which is annoying. We missed that N2kView display and found a quick and easy remporary solution to just run N2kView Mobile on a Fire tablet.

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Ardnamurchan Lighthouse
The Ardnamurchan Lighthouse on Point Ardnamurchan, the most westerly point in mainland Britain.
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Simon Princess
Specialized Delousing Vessel Simon Princess of Hammerfest, Norway operates along the Norwegian coast and in Scotland. The ship is designed to transfer penned fish on-board, delouse them and either return them to the same pen or to another.

Hammerfest was the longest stop on our 2019 Hurtigruten cruise along the north coast of Norway, where we visited the sobering Reconstruction Museum that described how the city was destroyed by the Nazis during World War II and later rebuilt.

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Eigg Lighthouse
Eigg Lighthouse, on the islet islet of Eilean Chathastail off the Isle of Eigg, was designed by David A. and Charles Alexander Stevenson and completed in 1906. Rising beyond is the plateau of Beinn Buidhne on Eigg.
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An Sgurr
1,289ft (393 m) An Sgurr rising from the center of Eigg. The volcanic-formed peak is made up of column-shaped structures created as lava cooled, similar to those at the Isle of Staffa.
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Beinn Buidhne
At the northeast side of Eigg, dramatic green slopes rise to the plateau Beinn Buidhne.
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Rainbow
Rainbow over the Isle of Rum to our west.
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Lord of the Isles
The Caledonian MacBrayne ferry Lord of the Isles rounding the southern tip of the Isle of Skye en route to Mallaig on the mainland.
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Mallaig
Passing Mallaig, on the Scottish mainland to our east. The town is a major ferry terminal to the Hebrides islands and the terminus of the West Highland Line scenic railway that we rode in 2017.
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Hirta
The 275ft (84m) Marine Protection Vessel Hirta, one of Marine Scotland’s three fisheries patrol vessels, overtaking us just north of Mallaig. The ship mainly does offshore patrols, whereas the 138-ft (42m) MPV Minna we saw earlier focuses on coastal patrols. It’s interesting that we don’t recall seeing any marine patrol vessels during our several-week cruise through Scotland in 2017, yet we’ve seen two of the fleet of three in the past few days.
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Ornsay Light
The Ornsay Light, on the tidal island of Ornsay off the eastern side of the Isle of Skye. The light was built in 1857 by the Stevenson brothers, Thomas and David.
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Isleornsay Harbour
Local boats moored in Isleornsay Harbour between the isles of Ornsay and Skye.
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Loch na Dal
The Hirta turned into our destination of Loch na Dal ahead of us and was at anchor by the time we arrived. Our intended anchorage was about a mile farther towards the head, so we each had plenty of swing room. :)
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Replacing Monitor
Replacing the failed monitor required removing all three sections of the pilot house dash. The monitor no longer is in production and we’re down to “only” four spare monitors now. Hopefully they will last us for the next few years.
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Storm Coming
A large low-pressure system is passing over the northern UK and we’re expecting strong northerly winds for the next several days. So we’ll stay at Loch na Dal at the Isle of Skye until the storm passes through.
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Ronja Harvester
Later in the afternoon, the 223ft (68m) fish carrier, Ronja Harvester of Alesund, Norway, anchored off the mouth of Loch na Dal north of the Hirta. We saw several Ronja ships during our time in Norway.
6/5/2020
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Hirta
The view south from our anchorage at Loch na Dal on the Isle of Skye this morning, past MPV Hirta to the Scottish mainland with rain coming in from the right.
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Lowering RPM
Reprogramming the Dynagen TG410 main engine controller to run at 1100 RPM rather than 1200 RPM. It provides the same output, the alternator temperatures are not materially changed, but it’s much quieter. We’re already so used to the main engine running as the generator now that neither of us woke up when it started last night shortly before midnight.
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Baking Bread
Preparing the ingredients for another loaf from our bread machine. We’re really loving having fresh bread whenever we want it.
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42 knots
The winds settled down overnight but within the past few minutes spiked to 42 knots. That storm is upon us.
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Kinloch Lodge
The luxury hotel Kinloch Lodge above our anchorage at Loch na Dal on the Isle of Skye. The former 16th-century hunting house was rated by Conde Nast as one of the best hotels in the world and has a Michelin-starred restaurant. We’d be happy if we could just go in for a pint.
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Main Engine Warning
We haven’t seen a main engine code since 2017. In fact, we’ve only seen three sets of codes in 11,000 hours of operation. One was a faulty cam position sensor or wiring that was fixed under warranty, one was faulty injectors, and this one looks like another minor sensor or wiring issue.
6/6/2020
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Wind
As the storm passes through, the winds have been blowing pretty steadily in the 20s from the north for the past 24 hours, with frequent gusts over 30 kts and some up to 42 knots. We have reasonable protection from that direction, so only small wavelets are passing through the anchorage.
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Removing Exhaust Hose
Before addressing the generator valve seat issue, the engine manufacturer Northern Lights has recommended we check the exhaust system. Normally, the water level in the muffler will be down near the level of the output pipe. When the engine is shut off, some water will flow back, but in a well-designed system this shouldn’t come close to filling the muffler. Excessive water levels in the muffler could get up into the engine under some conditions, and saltwater can cause valve seat erosion. Here we are removing the exhaust hose to check the water level at rest.
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Checking Water Level
The water level inside the muffler is only an 2.5 inches, which is fine. But the generator hasn’t been run for a while, so we will recheck after running it at load.
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Gen High Load
Running the generator at a high load of 40 amps to recheck the water level in the muffler.
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Rechecking Water Level
After running the generator at high load, the muffler still has only about an 2.5 inches of water inside. The muffler and exhaust system are operating correctly.
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Testing Capacitor
The past few days we’ve noticed a light coating of rust flakes around the main engine and the tray above it (visible in picture at bottom right). The shroud fan that forces air up the stack is rather rusty and if it were spinning the wrong way, this could be the source. A failed capacitor can cause an AC fan to run backward, so here we are testing the capacitor. We found that it had indeed failed, with a reading of 8 microfarads on a spec of 6.
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New Capacitor
Our replacement capacitor was a little larger than the original, so we had to mount it in a different location. The new capacitor will ensure the fan rotates in the right direction.
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Removing Light
The overhead space between our generator and the ceiling is rather limited, and the engine room light mounted directly above consumes a large chunk of that. So much so that James broke a bulb recently when jammed over top working to free the exhaust elbow from the exhaust hose. Today we decided to remove the light entirely and replace it with a number of small LED floodlights.

Read more …

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Rain
Rain and low clouds, looking up to the hills north of our anchorage at Loch na Dal on the Isle of Skye.
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Cell Reception
Cell reception at very poor at Loch na Dal. If any part of the house is between us and the nearest tower, it won’t work at all. So we taped the phone in front of the windows where it has good reception.
6/7/2020
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Choc Chip Muffins
Delicious chocolate chip muffins for breakfast this morning, using the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
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HVAC Duct
The HVAC system in the guest stateroom wasn’t producing any heat. The duct had come off the heater, so it was an easy fix.
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Pole Star
The 169ft (51.5m) lighthouse tender NLV Pole Star anchored off Loch na Dal with the Scottish mainland beyond. The ship, owned by the National Lighthouse Board, maintains the lighthouses in Scotland and the Isle of Man. We saw it passing by Gigha mid-April.
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Swapping Propane
We recently emptied the first of the four propane tanks we installed in Portland to supply our cooktop and barbecue. The leftmost two are plumbed into the house system with a valve between so we can quickly switch the house from an empty to a full tank.

Here we are swapping the empty tank for a full one so that when we consume the second tank we can just turn the valve again and be quickly back up and cooking on the third tank.

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Wind
The winds have settled down somewhat, but still are blowing in the high 20s. Conditions should be calm tomorrow though.
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Oscilloscope
Investigating an I2C (Inter-Integrated Circuit) bus problem where a device is resetting under some circumstances. I2C is a two signal line bus and here they are both shown on the oscilloscope where clock (SCL) is the top waveform and data (SDA) is the lower one. We’re looking for noise on the bus or voltage spikes that might cause a device reset.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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