Stornoway Arrival

Click for larger image

When we arrived in Stornoway, Scotland on June 9th, we stepped ashore for the first time since departing Portland, UK on March 22nd. While we were looking forward to revisiting Stornoway, surprisingly, neither of us was desperate to get ashore. The same versatility that made Dirona a comfortable and safe home for us over the past decade as we’ve crossed oceans, lived in world-class cities, and explored remote parts of the planet also made the boat an ideal place to wait out the Scottish lockdown. We can produce our own power, make water, generate heat, do laundry, exercise, connect to the Internet, and cook meals all without leaving the boat.

But after more than two months at anchor, we needed to refuel and replenish our deep stores. Also, our trusty Northern Lights generator had developed a valve seat issue and we needed to obtain parts to fix it. We very much appreciate the Port of Stornoway being willing to help us during the lockdown with obtaining fuel, providing a berth so we could provision, and accepting the delivery of generator parts. We’d really enjoyed our previous visit in 2017 and it was great to be back.

Below are trip highlights June 9th, 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

Click for larger image
Loch Seaforth
The Caledonian MacBrayne ferry Loch Seaforth exiting Stornoway as we approach.
Click for larger image
Putting out the fenders to land in Stornoway. It’s the first time they’ve been out in 79 days since we left Portland, UK on March 22nd.
Click for larger image
Arnish Point Lighthouse
The Arnish Point Lighthouse at the entrance to Stornoway was built in 1853 and designed by Alan Stevenson. We last were in Stornoway in September of 2017 and it’s great to be back.
Click for larger image
Port of Stornoway
We’ll be landing on the fuel dock at the Port of Stornoway, at the far end of the visible dock, then moving to a berth in the recreational harbour to reprovision. The port is closed to recreational traffic due to the Scottish lockdown, but the Stornoway Port Authority has given us approval to land for a few days while we refuel and reprovision. We are very grateful for their support and assistance.
Click for larger image
Taking on fuel at the Port of Stornoway. It’s a real relief to have full tanks again.
Click for larger image
Fuel Dock
The fuel dock is in the commercial harbour, so we need to be well-fendered against the rough pilings. Note the large bolt sticking out at near the bottom of the picture (click image for a larger view).
Click for larger image
Resident Seal
Stornoway’s resident seal (one of many we’re sure) was feeding and keeping an eye on us as we fueled.
Click for larger image
Opening a package from our satellite systems supplier KVH, that the Stornoway Port Authority had accepted for us.
Click for larger image
Oil Change
Performing our 41st oil change on the main engine.
Click for larger image
A cart full of household garbage that we’d built up over the past couple of months and 10 gallons of oil for recycling.
Click for larger image
Helping Hand
We’d asked the Stornoway Port Authority about recycling our waste oil, and were planning to get rid of the garbage ourselves. But a port employee came down and insisted on taking it all away for us. Stornoway is taking great care of us and we really appreciate it.
Click for larger image
Fisherman’s Co-Op
Our first time ashore in 79 days, since leaving Portland, UK on March 22nd. Stornoway, like the rest of Scotland, is very much still in lockdown. The Fisherman’s Co-Op only allows two customers in at a time for social distancing, so we are waiting outside for our turn.
Click for larger image
New Boots
The last time we were in Stornoway, James needed a new pair of boots and we got a great pair for him at the Fisherman’s Co-Op. This year Jennifer needs new boots, so it was off to Fisherman’s Co-Op again. We didn’t realize this until looking at the photo, but Spitfire is taking advantage of our distraction to mooch some of our lunch.
Click for larger image
Square Pails
We normally try to get cylindrical pails of oil, like those on the right. They no longer are the standard container of choice in the EU, with most suppliers favouring the square jugs of the same size, such as those on the left. The square jugs are actually slightly more space-efficient, and so a perfectly fine choice, but our storage system is setup to retain the round pails. We’ve decided to retrofit our oil storage system to fit either one.
Click for larger image
First Groceries
Our first time grocery shopping for 81 days, since the Lidl in Portland. Here we are at the local Tesco superstore, waiting our turn. The grocery store is laid out in a one-way traffic pattern, with customers required to stay 2m apart. At the entry are disinfecting spray and hand gel for customers to use to clean the cart handles and their hands before entering.
Click for larger image
Full Cart
Returning from Tesco with a full cart of groceries.
Click for larger image
Buying a few drugstore items at Boots Pharmacy in Stornoway.
Click for larger image
Macleod & Macleod
Huge supply of Scottish beef being delivered to Macleod & Macleod in Stornoway.
Click for larger image
The views from our berth in the marina at Stornoway. We’re in a great slip in the same location we used last time we were here. We love the RNLI lifeboats, so its great to have the Tom Sanderson right across from us. Stornoway is an excellent stop, where we can refuel the diesel tanks, fully provision after being away from civilization for more than two months, and get the parts we need to repair the generator.
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


If your comment doesn't show up right away, send us email and we'll dredge it out of the spam filter.

6 comments on “Stornoway Arrival
  1. Christina Aamelfot says:

    Hello, and welcome to Bømlo! We (family of 5 + cat) can see your boat from our cabin window, and we had a little fishingtrip yesterday in your area. Soo cool to have globetrotters in our neighbourhood?
    Have you been to visit Espevær? A small pittoresque islandgroup, former fishing Community. About 45 min boat ride from where you are.
    Close is also Mosterhamn old church, Norway’s 1. St church, the site where the Vikings first christened Norway!
    Siggjo, Bømlo’s highest mountain, former vulcano, you see it north from where you are, about 1 hour climb, good view!
    We hope you will have fine days here! Have a good trip further on!

    • We just read your welcome message from the top of Siggjo. Thanks! Wonderful view from up there. Yesterday we went through the Roksundkanalen and visited Monsterham, got to see the church and climbed up the hill over town. You live in a wonderful area.

      We haven’t yet been to Espevaer but thanks for the recommendation and for the welcome to the Bomlo.

  2. John S. says:

    Remarkable after two months isolated aboard Dirona that you were not stir crazy and desperate to go ashore. It shows a thoroughly impressive degree of self-sufficiency, including sufficiency in physical needs like food and space, but also a laudable self-sufficiency of emotional strength. You two make a phenomenal team.

    • Thanks John. It’s a comfortable boat and Jennifer is a master at both stocking up for the long haul but also in making vegetables last. We can have crisp lettuce 7 weeks into a trip which is kind of amazing.

  3. Colin Rae says:

    Hi James and Jennifer,

    Is your “square” oil still Shell Rimula or have you had to go with anything else?

    Best wishes,


    • All major brands ship in this approximate form factor. They differ a bit here and there but they are all pretty similar. Here in Stornoway, the only diesel engine oil we found available in large containers was a commercial Total 15w40 rated ACEA E7 used by their commercial fishing fleet. I prefer ACEA E9 if I can get it and really like Delo 400 or Shell Rimula T4 but we’ll take anything ACEA E7 or above.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.