Or in good English: “Do you need a bag?” We get asked this question again and again at the checkout in the supermarket. Of course we don't need it, because we are well equipped and can do without the stupid plastic bags.
The Scot pronounces the words a little harder, on Islay they sound a little harder than on the mainland. On my first visit to Islay, I stood at the cash register and knew with the words “Wannabaaag?” to do nothing at all. The cashier then showed me the plastic bag and asked me in sign language. Of course I've learned the vocabulary by now.
Of course I like to run through Port Ellen with these beautiful bags and I would like to say hello to all my ex-colleagues!
The book “Zen or the art of sailing without wind” must be in a library somewhere. Unfortunately not in mine. Another German boat came in today in Port Ellen, where we have been since yesterday. They could sail, or so they said.
The weather here on Islay is great. The sun shines from the sky, there is hardly a breeze and it doesn't look like rain either. The great thing about it is that the weather situation will probably not change for the whole of the coming week. That's why we're stuck, because we don't want to burn diesel just because the wind is a little weak.
Admittedly, there are worse fates than being stuck on Islay. Today we took a walk into the Laphroaig Distillery and let us be guided through the premises. Because of me, we could have skipped the tour and tried the whiskey right away. I've done the tour twice. It was the first time for Jens. Since you can take photos of everything at Laphroaig (except for the tour guide), I had the pleasure of being able to take one or two nice impressions with me.
Maybe it should rain in the next few days, maybe not. This is a classic Scottish weather forecast. And when it rains, the condition is not permanent.
Let's see things positively: We haven't visited seven distilleries yet. If we visit one or two a day, the rest of the week will be busy. The bus timetable is fairly clear. There is also a brewery here that I don't know yet. I'd rather spend the money on marina fees than on diesel. The showers here are excellent.
So if you can't find us on the AIS or still find us in Port Ellen, you haven't made a mistake. We wait here until the wind is right. In an internet forum I was able to read the following wise words:
Sissi has been lying in since the day before yesterday Oban in the transit marina (North Pier Pontoons). The night there costs just under 40 pounds for us, but the location is excellent.
We could replenish our supplies, clean the ship, and ourselves too. So far so good. For today it was planned that we would make a stroke of about 50 miles to Port Ellen (Islay). The scheduled departure time was around noon due to the tide, so we slept in and I made our morning coffee.
Somehow the coffee tasted weird. In my tiredness I couldn't really sort it out. Jens tasted and spat out the coffee. Salt water coffee. This is bad news.
How does salt water get into our fresh water tank? The water pump was annoying last night, it started every minute for a brief moment. So I turned it off and thus also took the pressure off our water system. We suspect that salt water ran into the tank via a connection line that is responsible for flushing the watermaker after use, because the pressure pump did not maintain the pressure in the system. Uh If you want to taste the salt coffee, take five tablespoons of salt for a normal pot of coffee. Uh
So we emptied the tank, I found a couple of leaky hose connections on the watermaker system and tightened them. Then we rinsed the tank several times with fresh water and refilled it.
We didn't want to drive off. The harbor master recommended a mechanic to us, but he only had time for us around 5 p.m.
Ian MacAra came over to look into the tangle of tubing and asked some smart questions. Then we discussed the pros and cons of opening up the system. We decided against it, at the moment everything is tight again and the water is not salty. Although he was on board with us for half an hour, he didn't invoice (“I didn't do anything”) and I almost had to force a can of cider on him.
We are going to Islay tomorrow and will have good sailing wind. This is good news.
What day of the week is it today? How long have we been on the road? Has the sausage that is in the lower left corner of the refrigerator expired?
Questions I never had to ask myself at home. Jens and I have been living on Sissi for almost a month now, and it sometimes seems to me as if we only left yesterday. At other times, it seems like we've been on the water together for half an eternity. On longer sea passages, such as when crossing the North Sea, the changed day and night rhythm makes things even more difficult, because we sleep at every opportunity that presents itself.
The date and time only become important when it is necessary to consult the tide calendar. The tide relentlessly sticks to its timetable and is more reliable than the Swiss railways. If we miss the tide, we can't drive until 12 hours later or we burn a lot of diesel so that we can drive against the current.
All in all, it's exciting to see how our attitude towards the outside world changes. When the train wasn't running at home because lightning struck a signal box, I always thought about how I could get out of the mess as quickly as possible. Today I'm above Neptunes staircase and can't go down because a railroad bridge below was struck by lightning and has to be repaired first. It is not certain whether we will come down tomorrow. But I don't care, because I don't have to stress myself and nobody stresses me.
Jens said to me today that he hadn't eaten any fish & chips on this vacation. I think the term “vacation” is inappropriate for our tour, but what else should you call it? No matter what we call it, we'll just go to a less greasy restaurant these days and eat fish & chips. Where is the problem? We don't have to be home after a few weeks and then go to work, but are somewhere completely different and look at the country and the people there.
You have to approach people. The Scots do not just speak to a German like that, that may be because they may expect language difficulties (there are) or whatever. But when we approach them, the result is usually a friendly, good encounter. That's why we're on the road, we want to get to know the country and its people. All over.
Today at the Coop in Corpach I noticed how much time and space have run away from me. I was looking for a remedy to relieve the itchiness of midgee bites. Although they had an anti-midgee drug, they had no anti-itch drug. So I asked about a pharmacy. The seller explained the way to me and said afterwards that it was closed on Sunday. I beg your pardon? Naturally! Today is Sunday!
How will this go on? In the logbook of our trip there are the date and time for each day, but that is easy to write down and is quickly forgotten. Habit alone dictates that a new day should begin at midnight. But midnight is often a time when we are out and about. We sleep for it the next day. If we arrive at the port after midnight, sleep in, then pay the port fees and then explore the area, we get a second night for free because we only pay for calendar days. It's funny, then one day suddenly turns into two days. It definitely feels that way. The second night sleeps just as well as the first.
I'm curious what this trip will do to me. Jens feels the same way.
As beautiful as Scotland is, there are also less beautiful sides. When the sun isn't shining, it's not raining and the wind isn't blowing, they come Midges from their holes or wherever they live.
We sat for two or three hours in the beer garden of a pub in Fort Augustus on the Caledonian Canal and talked to three Scots we met along the way. There are no photos of that evening, we were pretty busy talking, drinking beers and understanding the Scottish language.
It was warm, so I unfortunately wore shorts. That was a cardinal mistake. The next day my lower legs looked like this:
It is advisable to wear long clothes. You should also make sure that there are long socks between the end of the pants and the shoes, otherwise the bastards will simply bite where they can get to the skin. A long-sleeved jacket completes the Highland clothes. Possibly. still use a scarf and hood.
The Scots prefer to take as an antidote Skin so soft. Scots have touted this to me with the words “the only thing that works”. I tried it on a motorcycle vacation years ago, it works great. After buying and using it, I stopped getting new bites. The stuff is not in normal stores with cosmetics, but with mosquito repellants. Another means that they advertise is Smidge. I haven't tried that yet. The stuff they sell you in Germany doesn't work.
Scotland is beautiful, but no one needs these bastards. Last year was a hot, dry summer so there was no problem with Midges. But this year it's back to normal Scottish weather (four seasons in one day) and the Midges are flying in flocks.
Addendum: At the pharmacy they explained to me that Avon had changed the formula for Skin so softly. That's why it should supposedly no longer work. The Scots tell different things. Anyway, I bought Smidge and I hope it works.
In Germany we are really spoiled with the bread culture. I don't mean the supermarket bakeries that push the dough pieces into the oven and pretend you can buy fresh bread there, but the still numerous artisan bakers who offer many delicious varieties. This luxury was already over in Holland, there is soft, sloppy bread that does not change for days and actually just looks like it was bread. Dough pieces from the supermarket oven.
It is no different in Scotland, and we will have little opportunity to buy fresh bread of the quality we want. So we have to bake ourselves.
When we run out of bread, I use my standard recipe. Before starting our trip, I experimented with different bread recipes and wrote down one that always worked well and that resulted in a delicious bread.
Ingredients: 500g flour 350 ml of water 2 tablespoons oil 2 teaspoons of salt 1 tablespoon of sugar 1 packet of dry yeast
With the flour you can vary with the types. We have normal wheat flour (type 405) on board, as well as wholemeal flour. I like to mix the two types half and half, then I find the bread the most delicious. The more wholemeal flour you add, the more water the dough will want. With a pure wholemeal dough, it can be as much as 450 ml of water.
preparation: All ingredients are mixed together and kneaded well. The dough must still be quite moist and clumpy. It should stick to the bowl and fingers. Under no circumstances should it become a “dry” dough, such as a pizza.
Then the mixture must go for at least two to three hours. I like to put the bowl in the engine room when the engine is running a bit, so the yeast is supported. I forgot the last dough in the engine room for a few hours, the bread afterwards was better than all the bread before.
The oven is then preheated to approx. 175 ° C, which is not so easy to do with our gas oven. If it's a little hotter, the bread doesn't care either. The bread is then put in the oven for an hour and is ready. At home in the electric oven with bottom and top heat, 45 minutes was enough.
I like to cut the first slice off the warm bread and try how it turned out this time. We already shared the fresh bread with Scots, after which I had a waiting list for new crew members because they liked it so much.
Give it a try, baking bread is very easy!
Addendum: Our nephew Eike is an apprentice baker. He gave us two more tips on how the bread can be improved. You should put a bowl of water in the oven for a nice crust on the bread. If you want to bake grain bread, you should soak the grains overnight. Then they will not pull the moisture out of the dough when baking. Instead, they later release the moisture back into the dough and the bread stays fresh for a long time.
The bread has not held up so long with us that it would not have tasted fresh because it was eaten beforehand.
After a nice and rested day in Whitehills we drove on to Inverness, where the east end of the Caledonian Canals is located. The distance is about 50 nautical miles, so you need 10 hours of travel time with the 5 knots usually used for calculations. The canal locks are operated from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the summer and at 8 a.m. there was also high tide in Inverness. Shortly before Inverness there are several bottlenecks in which there is a strong tidal current. So it was clear that we had to be in Inverness by 8 a.m. at the latest.
The weather forecast spoke of a headwind of up to six wind strengths, but it should be less hour by hour - up to a total calm. Our plan was to leave Whitehills around 6 p.m. Then the forecast time of arrival is somewhere around 4 a.m. So there were four hours of air in the calculation.
We said goodbye to Harbourmaster Bernie, started the engine and knew that the sails would stay down that night and that Uncle Benz would have to take care of the propulsion.
The radio was turned on at high volume and played along with Blues Brothers film music. We sang along with most of the songs and looked forward to the sunset drive. But the weather is not always our friend, the weather forecast is precise but by no means accurate to the hour. Sissi began to dance wildly in the waves. More and more often the bow bored into one of the wave crests on the way.
The diesel hummed in the basement, music boomed from the cockpit speakers. Years ago we invented the game “Alpen-DJ”. We used it again and again to sail on the boring motorways through the Alps towards Croatia. The game is very simple. We have a large music collection with a higher five-digit number of tracks. You enter a term, for example “Black” or “Sailing” or whatever. Usually there is a hit list with several music titles that are then added to the playlist. A couple of them. The most fun is when one gives the term and the other then adds a few pieces to the list. We always find unexpected gems in our collection.
Immediately we met a crusader. We saw the prominent exhaust plume long before we saw the ship with our eyes. In times when you pay attention to emissions in cars, central heating systems and BBQ grills, such a sucker seems like an anachronism that has fallen out of time.
I made an AIS query to find out which ship it was.
So the ship was that Crown Princess. A ship that is only 13 years old and apparently does not even have a simple exhaust gas cleaning system. We shook our heads because we couldn't understand.
However, we not only shook our heads, because we were also shaken a lot by Sissi ourselves. The wind did not stick to the weather forecast and got stronger. But he should wane. A hard wave built up which made the trip a little uncomfortable. Since the log still showed 4 knots, we didn't care, after all, we had four hours of air in our calculations and would still go through the bottlenecks with four knots before the tide tipped (and thus before the onset of the countercurrent) Inverness come.
A few hours later we had oncoming traffic again. This time it was a tanker. It didn't soot, at least not as visibly as it was with the crusader. It's kind of a strange world.
Meanwhile, the wind strength rose to 7 Bft in the gusts, the waves got higher and Sissi kept boring her bow into the waves. As a consequence, we reduced the speed that made the journey slower, but a lot more comfortable. Only that way we wouldn't make the tide. I grabbed the Reeds Nautical Almanac to find an alternate port. But they are not so densely distributed here. We cannot even enter most of them. They are too small, too shallow or can only be approached during floods. So we stuck to our plan and continued sticking under the machine against the wind.
At midnight I went to bed. Anyone who is toying with the idea of affording a parabolic flight by plane for expensive money in order to experience weightlessness can also bring the money to us. We then approach such waves with Sissi. The bunk rose and fell in rhythm with the waves, I kept losing contact with the mattress because it simply sagged from under me. I was allowed to experience “weightlessness” and then slammed back onto the bed. Peaceful sleep was out of the question.
After a few hours I got up again to relieve Jens. We barely made any progress, in some cases we only made 2 nautical miles an hour towards our destination. Jens lay down. Before that, we thought about what to do if we miss the tide. Since there are no proper alternative ports in this corner, it was clear that we would have to drive against the current with the engine. More shaking.
Northernmost point of our trip By the way: sometime during the night we reached the northernmost point of our entire journey. From here it will first go south until we are in the Caribbean at Christmas.
But then the wind subsided within a short time and I was able to accelerate. Normally we drive 5 knots under the engine with 1400 revolutions per minute, this time I have set 2400 revolutions. We were 7.5 knots fast. That cost a lot of diesel, but we got to the tight spot on time. Before that we saw some tankers lying in the roadstead that were waiting to be finally loaded with oil
At one of the narrow passages there is a lighthouse, opposite an old fortress. Due to the position of the sun, I couldn't take a picture of the fortress as I would have liked, so I stopped at the lighthouse.
We saw many dolphins at this point last year. Not a single dolphin was seen this year. It's not far from the lighthouse. It was time to talk to the lock keeper and clear a place in the lock.
We were told a waiting time of 50 minutes. The problem is the railway's swing bridge. It can only be opened when no train is approaching the bridge.
A train employee is sitting in the little white house on the right. He takes care of the swing bridge. We had to wait two trains before the bridge opened. We were able to continue to the Seaport Marina.
Sissi got a new tank of fuel and I threw myself on the couch. Two hours of restless sleep within 24 hours is not enough. Jens was just as tired, but survived the shaking and rolling well. This time he wasn't seasick and that's a good thing. In principle everything worked as planned. It just took a little longer.
Now it's 2 a.m. the next day and I can't sleep. After seven cups of coffee, a few cokes and a two-hour power nap at noon, I just got over the top. It doesn't matter - tomorrow the canal trip is the order of the day, so Sissi and the little crew will definitely not throw it through. Nobody will get box cough either.
This report is currently being created live on the crossing from Peterhead to Inverness. It is Tuesday, June 25th and just before 1 p.m. local time.
We are the last full pack of seafarers. So really. After yesterday studying the weather maps and tidal currents, we wanted to drive under motor from Peterhead to Fraserburgh and then pull out the parasailer there if the wind direction and strength were appropriate. For this reason, we did not find it necessary to make the genoa operational or to keep the large one clear.
Now we have the trouble. Of course, the wind in the direction and quantity would be feasible with the Parasailor, then there would also be calm in the ship. With the Genoa we could also use the wind and bring calm into the barge. The wind from the north, however, ensures that there is a perverse wave here - the passengers from last year's Scotland trip will still know that. We cannot crawl to the bow and make the genoa passable, the risk is too great that someone will go overboard. So Uncle Benz continues to work with a lot of noise.
When you're sitting below deck (like me), it's a little like the feeling of being a cube in a mug. We are shaken. Jens has spent the last few hours in the cockpit with a queasy feeling, then suddenly it was time after a course change. His breakfast and he now go their separate ways. Hopefully sleep will bring him back up in his bunk.
And the moral of the story? Quite simply: In the future we will always have at least one sail clear so that we can bring calm to the barge. The Fraserburgh, Whitehills u. A. With this wind direction and wave we probably cannot start safely, the reeds advises against it. So keep your eyes open and through! The hauntings will be over in 10 hours at the latest.
End of the live report from our crossing.
Addendum: We were able to start Whitehills. A phone call with the harbor master brought clarity. For everyone who wants to share Jens' problems, I have a little film of the situation here. If we could have set at least a scrap of sail, everything would have been half as wild.
A healthy lean angle is essential for both motorcycling and sailing. Without a lean, you feel uncomfortable and the sport cannot work either. We want you to have a part in our leanings. When you're on board, it all seems natural ...
The following video was made during our half-wind trip with the Parasailer:
Please do not turn the volume so loud, it could hurt feelings. But I couldn't help myself.
In loose succession I will write about one or the other piece of equipment. Today it was AIS and the Parasailer. These items have their own sub-pages so that I can write something about their long-term or long-term suitability in the future.