The trip from Belfast to Douglas was initially unspectacular. Then it got pretty violent at some point when we had strong countercurrent and crashing waves at the northern tip of the Isle of Man. Then it got boring if you add the six hours waiting for the opportunity to enter the port to travel.
After leaving the concreted canal, a decent sailing wind soon set in, so that we could switch off the engine. That was the time for me to take a long nap, Jens had the first watch. The waves were very uncomfortable and always pushed us diagonally from behind, with a wave height of maybe two meters. I can't really estimate that, it could have been three or four meters, but I don't want to brag.
The tide stream helped us a bit with the speed, but when I replaced Jens sometime in the morning, we hadn't made much progress. That was not a good thing, because we wanted to reach the northern tip of the Isle of Man before the current tipped. There is an uncomfortable and strong counter current there.
Then the wind also left us. Despite the fast motorized drive, which was supported by the current, we reached the northern tip about an hour late. Uncle Benz churned up the water with his 94 horsepower, but we hardly drove more than two to three knots above the ground. The counter current had about three to four knots and uncomfortable waves and circular currents even required me to turn off the autopilot and steer the ship by hand. Jens had fun photographing the lighthouse on the northern tip in this situation.
Fortunately, after an hour, the spook was over, Sissi was driving the autopilot again and the countercurrent had shrunk to a reasonable level. Only one to one and a half knots flowed towards us. But which stream should stop two Frankfurters on the way to the next pub?
I was able to photograph the next lighthouse myself. We also tried to get more information about the coming port from the Internet than the Reeds Nautical Almanac provides.
However, the Internet refused to cooperate. The data volume that we bought in Peterhead is only functional within the United Kingdom. The Isle of Man is not one of them, it is owned by the Crown - like the Channel Islands, for example. The cell phones reported that we have normal EU conditions, i.e. free roaming. We reactivated an old data card from Germany and lo and behold, the Internet wanted to speak to us again.
For example, in this way we came to the information that we cannot enter the marina. At least not before 9 p.m. We had to drive to the waiting pontoon, which, according to the reed, can accommodate up to 18 boats. With a lot of good will, three sailing boats fit one behind the other. Since a larger English boat was already at the pontoon and some fishermen had moored their small motor boats at the other end, Jens Sissi had to steer into an approximately 14 meter long parking space. As a reminder: Sissi is about 13 meters long from the anchor to the wind vane control. It worked very well, the harbor master praised Jens for the mooring maneuver. Then forms had to be filled in and we were allowed to wait a good six hours for there to be enough water in the entrance to the marina.
In the meantime, more and more sailing boats were gathering at the waiting pontoon. If it doesn't work in a row, you just lay the boats next to each other. We moored the Steel Pulse, a beautiful sailing boat from Bangor, Northern Ireland. A relaxed conversation relaxed - we were sure that we hadn't spoken to the two of them for the last time.
Finally at 9:15 p.m. the bridge opened and we were able to go to the port. There we moored to the pontoon and fell into our beds pretty quickly after the long night.
The next day we started to explore the island. We bought a three-day ticket for public transport. For just £ 34 you can do everyone, really everyone, for three days Open on the island to use. The steam train, the electric one railroad, the mountain railway, the horse-drawn tram and of course all buses. This is practical and quickly pays off. And the public transport is not just a fig leaf, the buses take you almost everywhere on the island every quarter of an hour. Unfortunately the horse-drawn tram was out of order due to construction work, I have never been on a 1 HP tram.
The electric railway, which opened in the 19th century, still runs on old vehicles from the Wilhelminian period and is therefore very good to look at. The old carriages with their wooden superstructures twist clearly when the trains swing over the worn-out tracks. It creaks and cracks in the entablature, but the driver blows his little song with his pneumatic horn at every intersection.
There are closed and open railcars, the trailers carried were all open summer cars.
Laxey is something like a “central” transfer station. Here you can change from the normal train (on the right in the picture) to the mountain railway, the Snaefell Mountain Tramway, (on the left in the picture) and drive to the highest mountain on the island. Of course we did that.
It's hard to believe that the Isle of Man only knew motorcycle racing. I have made a few videos of the tracks and still have some photos in stock. The videos still want to be cut, so I need a day or two at sea. and afterwards decent internet for uploading.
In addition to the electric train, there is also a steam train on the Isle of Man. We drove it on the third day, but found it rather boring when compared to the electric train. Of course, the steam locomotive puffs and smells, but steam locomotives do this all over the world.
The wagons were full of tourists. While we could even see locals on the electric train, who got on and off at the small demand stops on the way, there is no such thing on the steam train. Here the tourists drive from one end to the other. The two pictures from Ballasalla could only be made because Jens and I took the bus to Ballasalla and waited for the train. With the return train we drove back to Douglas, the conductor was a little surprised at the two tourists on the platform.
The horse-drawn tram was unfortunately out of order due to construction work. Towards evening, the weather got really nice again and we took a picture of the tower, which is directly in front of the harbor entrance of Douglas and which is listed on the one hand as a navigation aid and on the other hand as an obstacle on the nautical chart.