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May 2014 - England, Scotland

Scotland | Aberdeen | Botanical Gardens

May 30, 2014

Hi Family and Friends, Goodness I can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks since last we wrote about our travels. We did take a bus to Aberdeen, Scotland from Peterhead on Monday May 19. Lovely, vibrant, college town... We enjoyed the two walking tours we did of new town (1800's) and old town (medieval) which is the University campus. There was a wonderful Botanical garden that we wandered at the end of the day.

We checked the weather forecast when we got back to the boat and decided it was best to head for the Orkney Islands immediately as the NE winds were coming. So at 1730 we left Peterhead to sail overnight to the Orkney Islands(105nm). We sailed all but two hours during the night when the wind quit. Fortunately about 0300 it picked up again and away we went. We picked up a mooring buoy in Elwick Bay on Shapinsay at 1300. After our nap we woke to find our friends Dick and Ginger on Alchemy anchored near by. (left them 3wks earlier in Suffolk Yacht Harbor).

Scotland | Orkany Islands | Stenness Stones and Ring Brodgar

We sailed into Kirkwall Marina, Orkany Islands, the next morning. We happened upon The Orkney Folk Music Festival weekend. What fun! We went to two concerts and saw 11 different groups perform. Our favorite was a traditional Irish band called the Dervish. We did the tourist sites between wind and rain storms. Unfortunately no cars for rent because of the Folk Festival but we did take a tour bus to the Neolithic (3000 BC)sites of Skara Brae, Skaill House, Stenness Stones and Ring Brodgar. These sites are older than the more famous Stonehenge near Bath, UK. The Bishop's Palace, the Earl's Palace, the Orkney Museum and the St. Magnus Cathedral were worthwhile visits.

Scotland | Orkany Islands | Scapa Flow | Italian Chapel

We took a bus on Tues. to the Italian Chapel built by Italian prisoners of war and the Churchill barriers to Scapa Flow. Geneva convention didn't allow prisoners to build defense structures but they could build roads. So the barriers were built connecting several islands by road and prevented any further sneak attacks to the huge naval fleet moored in Scapa Flow. We were greeted by Scottish Pipes and drums back at the boat. Actually they were for the returning cruise ship passengers but our boat was closer:-)

We sailed up to Whitehall Village on Stronsay Island on Wednesday. Very interesting sailing with the tides around the islands. Some areas get 5-8 kts of current from the tide. We did hit one spot that confused me while checking our progress on the chart plotter. We appeared to be going in the opposite direction than we actually were sailing. Al told me I was crazy until he came to look for himself and realized the current was stronger than the 4kts we were sailing so we were actually sailing backwards. In that one particular spot the current was flowing 3 different directions.We left early Thursday to sail 96nm to Lerwick, Shetland Islands. We had a little of everything weather wise. We left at 0500 with no wind, clear skies and calm seas. Quickly that changed to a meter to a meter and a half of swell hitting us a beam. Next some wind... so up went the sails and off went the engine. This was followed quickly by dense fog moving in. On came the radar.

Fortunately as we approached Fair Isle the fog lifted and we got to see the spectacular cliffs and standing rocks of this 4 mile long island. But since the wind was good we kept going another 43nm to the Shetlands. Again the fog rolled in until we were along the coast of the main island of the Shetlands.

Scotland | Shetland Islands | Lerwick | Artemis moored on Alberts Dock on North side Victoria Pier

We are moored on Alberts Dock on the north side of Victoria Pier. We did laundry and walked about Lerwick today. The beautiful modern Shetland Museum telling The Shetlands story is well done. Now we are excited to visit other parts of the island tomorrow and Sunday. We have a two day car rental. Hope all is well and everyone has a nice weekend. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

England | Whitby Harbor

May 18, 2014

Hi Family and Friends, We've had some good sailing and touristing over the past 2 weeks. Whitby, England was a great town, very picturesque.

UK | England | Whitby | Abbey above the Whitby Harbor.

The Abbey ruins stand above the harbor and the old town is quite colorful. We enjoyed the Captain Cook museum and fish'n chips on the pier head.

Our next passage was meant to be short but we had such nice winds we went 44 nm to the River Tyne. We stopped at Sunderland but they said we were too big for the marina. We moved on to the River Tyne and locked into the Royal Quays Marina. The harbor master brought us some lovely fish all filleted and ready to cook for dinner.

UK | England | Warkworth | Warkworth castle

We left the next morning for Amble UK with another great day of sailing about 24nm. We stayed in Amble for five nights. One day we walked 2 miles to visit Warkworth Castle (Norman built). Then we enjoyed tea and dessert in the town. The River Coquet runs from Amble Marina up through Warkworth. When the tide went out the seals fished along the weirs.

UK | England |Alnwick | Alnwick castle

Another day we took a bus to Alnwick and visited the castle known by many as Hogwaiths in Harry Potter movies. Surprise...Surprise St. Cloud State University in Minnesota not far from Al's home town, has a study abroad program in Alnwick castle. They have housed college students and family visitors each semester since 1981. Our sister-in-law Julie Pribyl stayed two nights here when her sister studied here. Also Al's cousin Margie and Kron visited their son Tommy when he studied here. Small world...

We were having problems with our Navionics charting program on our radar. There was a questionable delay running the charts and once we were looking at Scottish charts the charts would not register information below the 2 mile range. After 3 days of emails and phone calls to Navionics, finally a tech support person took over our computer from the USA and sorted out the problem. We were missing 3 charts and had duplicates of others. We are up to speed and all charts appear to be working:-)

UK | Scotland | Eyemouth | Fishing harbor | Artemis tied alongside a sailboat and fishing boat

Wednesday we sailed to Eyemouth our first port in Scotland. We sailed past Farne Islands (nesting puffins) and Holy Island not stopping as we were told we had to arrive at Eyemouth 2hrs either side of high tide to enter the harbor. We tied up to another sailboat rafted off a fishing boat in the inner harbor about noon. We had to climb over two boats and then it was quite a climb at low tide up the quay ladder. We had a nice pub lunch and then had a beautiful 2 hour cliff walk to St. Abs occasionally dropping to the beach. We were happy to catch a bus back to Eyemouth and watch the fisherman feed the seals. Thursday we took a bus to Berwick-upon-Tweed. We enjoyed walking the 1 mile fortified town wall and taking in the sites. We visited English Heritage Berwick Barracks and it's three museums.

UK |Scotland | Peterhead | Artemis alongside near breakwall

Friday we left Eyemouth at 4 AM 100nm to Peterhead, Scotland. The first third of this downwind passage we motored with only 3 or 4kts of wind. But we had great winds the rest of the passage. We were sent by the Harbor Master to the Fishing Harbor to wait against the quay for an hour and half for the tide to rise a bit before we could enter the marina. The seals are huge up here and startled me as we tied to the quay. By 10:45PM we were tied alongside in the marina and ready for a good nights sleep. It was an easy passage but a very long day. Peterhead is about a mile away from the marina so we took out our bikes to go exploring on Saturday. Bikes help get around town quickly. We enjoyed the old fishing harbor and stone houses. But not much else to see in town. The library had a small museum of old gadgets many of which we had never seen before. We rode back to town again to go to mass this morning and then grocery shopping at Morrison's. It was good to have our bicycles to haul things home. Tomorrow we plan to take a bus to visit Aberdeen. Tuesday we hope to head for the Orkney Islands in the Kirkwall area about 110nm. Hope all is well. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

May 6, 2014

Hi Family and Friends, We are proud grandparents again! Our son Patrick's wife Nicci gave berth to Aleah (Allie) Kristine Wednesday morning. Proud big sisters Josie (7) and Emma (4)visited right away and Mommy, Daddy and Aleah went home to Cottage Grove MN on Thursday. She's beautiful (of course) and we've had a couple of skype calls to get acquainted. Allie is grandaughter #6. Jack is our only grandson so far.

UK | England | Levington | Artemis in Suffolk Yacht Harbor

Our furler part arrived and both furlers were put back onto Artemis on Wednesday. We did laundry, a grocery run and paid the bills. Finally on Saturday we dropped our lines about 1700 and left Suffolk Yacht Harbor to begin Cruising Season 2014 our 9th season living aboard! We went 3nm down River Orwell and anchored near Harwich for the night.

Our tide north switched at 0330 Sunday so it was an early start to our day. We had no wind! So we had to motor 42nm with the tide to Lowestoft arriving as the wind finally picked up around 1030 AM! We walked into town and had a Sunday Roast/Yorkshire pudding for lunch then took a much needed nap. Winds continued to blow throughout the day and night.

We decide it was best to leave for Whitby in the morning to take advantage of the southerly winds. This portion of the coast has few harbors we can get into with our 2m draught at all tides. Also most of these harbors are dangerous to enter with strong winds from NW, N, NE, or E leaving few favorable winds to chose from. We decided to do an overnight straight to Whitby 154nm. We timed our departure from Lowestoft hoping to arrive in Whitby at High Water + or - 2hours (bridge opening times). We left port at 0600 motoring with light southeasterly's. Time for our new spinnaker? We got her all set then decided to change the tack. I misunderstood what Al was doing and being so helpful I let the sheet go so he could tack it to the port side. OOPS by the time Al got everything back on deck the winds picked up and we'd lost an hour of favorable tide:-( Spinnaker put away and we poled out the genoa wing and wing sailing off sizable seas until 2:30 this morning. Lots of rocking and rolling but a sunny beautiful day going over 8kts with the tide and under 3 kts against the tide! As the winds became light and variable we rolled up the genoa and put the pole away. We had to motor in big following seas for a couple hours until southwesterly winds picked up again about 0500 this morning. Great sail flying along 6-7 kts but only going 3-4 kts against the tide. Long story short we arrived in Whitby 5 minutes after the last bridge opening at 1110 this morning. We went onto a waiting pontoon until the next bridge opening to the marina at 8:03 PM. Looks like a cute tourist town. We are looking forward to a quiet night and a chance to start exploring the town tomorrow. Hope all is well. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

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