Archive For The “Europe” Category

Chapel Island

Chapel Island

We anchored for three nights off Chapel Island just inside Strangford Lough, NI in wonderfully calm and sunny conditions. While there, we made a tender tour of the southern end of the lough and checked out the current in the entry channel at full flood. We also took a closer look at several of the…

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Northern Ireland Arrival

Northern Ireland Arrival

The 225-mile overnight run from Scalpay to Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland started and ended in positive current and calm conditions. We sped around the west shores of the Isle of Islay at 13.5 knots as the current flushed us into North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland. There the winds picked up to only…

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Stornoway Departure

Stornoway Departure

We departed Stornoway at the end of March for Northern Ireland. With the area’s frequent weather systems and strong currents, finding a window to run the entire way was a bit of a challenge. During a brief period of forecast improved conditions between two weather systems, we made a 30-mile run south to Scalpay. After…

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Stornoway

Stornoway

Our first visit to Stornoway in 2018 was only for a week. We hit the highlights of the town and the Isle of Lewis, but didn’t have time for much else. Our second visit in 2020 was much longer at a month, but we were busy with some major projects such as a changing the…

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Perimeter Trail

Perimeter Trail

Our final walk in Stornoway was also on the Lews Castle grounds, this time along the Perimeter Trail. Much of the trail follows the River Creed, and gave a sense of what the property might have been like in the mid-1800s when Sir James and Lady Matheson created the castle and grounds. We particularly enjoyed…

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Lews Castle Grounds

Lews Castle Grounds

Sir James and Lady Matheson created the Lews Castle and its grounds over a period of seven years starting in 1847. The extensive grounds encompass 687 acres (278 hectares) of woodland and included the widest range of exotic flowers in Scotland at the time. The subsequent owner, Lord Leverhulme, gifted the property to the people…

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The Iolaire Disaster

The Iolaire Disaster

The shipwreck of the HMY Iolaire was one of the worst UK maritime disaster during peacetime. The ship sunk Jan 1, 1919 in a severe southerly gale off Holm Point just outside Stornoway harbour. At least 201 of the 238 on board drowned (the ship was badly overcrowded and records poor, so the death toll…

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Cnoc Nan Uan Hill

Cnoc Nan Uan Hill

Cnoc nan Uan hill is just north of Stornoway, and an easy walk from town. The hill is the highest in the area and has sweeping views across Stornoway and the Isle of Lewis, along with a sobering reminder of the toll of war. Atop the hill stands the 85-ft (26 m) Lewis War Memorial,…

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Stornoway Arrival

Stornoway Arrival

After completing quarantine at Longhope in Orkney, we returned to Stornoway to refuel, provision and accept several deliveries. Departing Orkney is always a bit of a challenge in needing to time the strong tides as well as get a good weather window. We made the journey in two legs, with an 81-mile, 10-hour run to…

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Quarantine at Longhope

Quarantine at Longhope

We spent much of our two weeks at Longhope, Orkney in twelve days of quarantine required for entry into Scotland during the pandemic. The days aboard passed quickly, and were somewhat reminiscent of our time spent the previous year at the Isle of Gigha during the Scottish lockdown except that instead of the local fishfarm…

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Norway to Scotland

Norway to Scotland

Free from the ice, we departed Farsund, Norway for Orkney, Scotland on the first leg of our journey home to the US. Conditions were blissfully calm, especially considering we were crossing the North Sea in late February, and the passage was a relaxing and easy one. We finished the run with an exciting entry through…

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Thawing in Farsund

Thawing in Farsund

Valentine’s Day 2021 brought an online Pearl Jam concert and the end of the cold snap in Farsund, with the temperature soaring 18° to above freezing at 37.8°F (3.2°C) from the previous day’s low of 19.1°F (-7.2°C). The ice melted as quickly as it formed, and over the course of ten days we went from…

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Frozen in Farsund

Frozen in Farsund

In the second week of February, the temperature plunged well below freezing in Farsund and remained that way for ten days. The ice around Dirona rapidly grew thicker to the point we could actually stand on it. Given the water temperature was fairly warm at 45°F (7°C), we were surprised the air temperature dominated and…

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Snow, Ice and Heat

Snow, Ice and Heat

The temperature continued to drop in Farsund in early February, bringing more snow and our first grocery trip in the white stuff. And surface ice started to form around the boat. The ice was still pretty slushy and we could poke through it with a boat hook, but it happened remarkably quickly. We also took…

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Boensbakken

Boensbakken

Hundreds of miles of highways were built throughout Norway in the late 1800s and early 1900s to connect the communities. Since most of the work was done by hand, building tunnels and even blasting large sections of rock away was prohibitively difficult. Where no appropriate route was available, some rather impressive engineering resulted in narrow,…

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Varbak Hill

Varbak Hill

Varbak Hill is the highest point in Farsund and provides wonderful view to the town and the Lyngdalsfjorden. On our second day in Farsund, we took a more extensive tour through town, including a walk up Varbak Hill. We also watched two of the Farsund FFS tugs assisting the 742-ft (226m) Hawk, one of the…

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Farsund Arrival

Farsund Arrival

Our pilot guide describes Farsund as “ice free”, but the entrance to the guest harbour was blocked by ice when we arrived from Andabeloy. Two recent paths through the ice were evident, and we could see clear water beyond, so we selected one that looked from a distance to be mostly clear but with loose…

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Egersund and Area

Egersund and Area

The air temperature was just below freezing as we continued south along the Norwegian coast late January, and the surface ice levels increased, particularly near freshwater inflows away from the warming effects of the Gulf Stream. After departing Kvitsoy, we anchored for a night at Nordragabet near Egersund and saw little ice on a tender…

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