Thursday, 23 June 2011

Lybster to Wick

The departure from Lybster was much less dramatic than the arrival. We just slipped the shore lines and motored out onto an almost flat calm sea. Otto took over the helm while I hoisted the sails. Once the sails were drawing well we shared the helm between Otto, Ruach and me. Because the conditions were so calm and the coast here is very steep to with few off lying dangers I sailed in close to get a good look at the cliffs, accompanied by the ‘maw, maw, maw’ of the gulls swirling across its face. For some reason gulls around here are known as maws, I wonder why?
We were headed for Wick, about 16 miles to our North East. As we left we were at the top of the tide and it was about to start ebbing out of the Moray Firth adding to my speed through the water.

A ruin of a fishing station close to Lybster


On arrival at Wick I was met at the gate to the pontoon by Malcolm Bremner the harbour master. He asked about me and the trip I was on, then happened to mentioned that he was just about to take the Isabella Fortuna out for a test run after completing some work on her engine. This was a chance too good to miss so I asked if I could come along too. Even though I had just arrived in Wick harbour, within half an hour I was heading back out to sea for a short proving trip on this historic ship. The highlight of the trip for me was being handed the helm for the return leg to the harbour, not only that but being able to helm this 120 year old,  40 ton vessel back to her berth under Malcolm’s watchful eye. The Isabella Fortuna is a herring fishing vessel of a type known as a Fifie. Of the many hundreds of these vessels that existed there are now only around four left in existence. 

The next leg of my journey will take me through the perilous Pentland Firth which not only requires careful timing due to the tides but also it requires a wind less than a force 4 with a lot of East in it. So it looks like I am to be in Wick for a few days. The current forecast is that I will have the right winds with me on Saturday 25th June, which is also a neap tide (Which also incidentally is my Dad's Birthday too. Happy Birthday Dad!)

.....and finally - Is this a pirates curse?

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Catch you next time.

David H.