Friday, 22 June 2018

High winds stop play, stunning skies and our new lobster pot


Photo of Ravensdale moored up at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK

Ravensdale moored up at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK


High winds for most of the past week have meant we’ve been unable to take Ravensdale out to play on the water.

However, the forecast is looking better for Sunday and the start of next week. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it’s correct, so we can get back out on the Solway Firth in search of the smooth-hound that got away – other fish are available😊

The wind has been well into double figures, with considerably higher gusts, for most of the week, which means Ravensdale has been stuck in the marina.

On the up side, it has given us a chance to do other things, one of which involved adding another string to our bow on the fishing front and hopefully this one will actually provide us with edible catches.

We’ve acquired a small lobster pot that we’re planning to take out and drop in the Solway Firth very soon in the hope of catching some juicy lobsters for our supper.

Meanwhile, we had an influx of visitors at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK, last weekend for the marina’s open day.


The world is our lobster 😊


Photo of Phil with our new-to-us lobster pot and flag pole

Phil with our new-to-us lobster pot and flag pole


Much as we enjoy our fishing trips on Ravensdale, it’s been a bit of a disappointment that we don’t get to eat many of the fish we catch.

Many of them are too small to keep and the tope have to go back because they’re a protected species.

We ate a couple of decent-sized cod we caught in the winter and very nice they were too 😊

We’ve yet to catch a thornback ray that’s big enough to keep and eat.

We haven’t tried eating dogfish as they’re a total pain to prepare and not considered particularly good eaters anyway so really not worth the hassle. 

Hopefully we’ll get to try smooth-hound soon as the fillets from the one we kept from our fishing trip on Saturday June 9 are still in the freezer.

We read that they needed to be frozen for a fortnight before eating to get rid of the ammonia in them, so they should be ready this weekend.

But lobster, now that’s a totally different kettle of fish 😊

Any that are big enough to keep will definitely be going in the cooking pot.

Phil has applied to the North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority for a permit to catch lobster, crab and whelk.

Photo of Phil testing the flag pole floats

Phil testing the flag pole floats


Meanwhile, Phil has tied an old fender onto the flag pole that came with the lobster pot to make it float. We now need to make or buy a flag for it.

We also need to get a small buoy and a length of rope to attach the flag to the pot.

Once that lot’s sorted, all that remains to be done is to decide on the best bait, find a good location in which to drop our pot and then go back and check it on a regular basis.

I probably shouldn’t mention this, but it made me laugh when Phil first told me he needed to find a small boy. Yes, that’s what I thought too 😊

Thankfully I’d taken his comment out of context and what he really meant was that he needed a “small buoy” 😊 Phew! He had me worried there for a minute 😊

(For readers in the US - we pronounce “buoy” and “boy” the same in the UK. I can now see why your pronunciation makes so much more sense 😊)


Double figure fish


Photo of Phil with the big tope he caught on a recent fishing trip on Ravensale

Phil with the big tope he caught on a recent fishing trip on Ravensale


It looks as though we need to get new scales for weighing the fish Phil catches (no pun intended 😊)

The biggest tope he caught on a recent fishing trip weighed in at just over 4lb on our fishing scales.

However, last weekend, we showed Glyn Dixon, who operates a charter fishing boat out of Maryport Harbour, the above photo of Phil holding his catch and Glyn said it was definitely a double figure fish.

We’d been surprised it hadn’t weighed more so will have to look at upgrading our scales.


High water alarm


Photo of the leaking stern gland on Ravensdale's port prop shaft

Leaking stern gland on Ravensdale's port prop shaft


The horrible experience of discovering a rising water level in our engine room bilges when we had a leaking stern gland earlier this year led us to install an automatic bilge pump.

And we have this week ordered a high-water alarm.

It was pure luck that we discovered the stern gland leak, which caused a significant amount of water to collect in our bilges, before the situation became considerably worse.
The stern gland on the port prop shaft was fixed and we haven't had any further problems with it since.

Phil went down into the engine room that day because he found water in the forward bilges while doing a totally unrelated job.

He then discovered that the water level in the engine room was higher than the metal grating over the walkway between Ravensdale’s two 300hp Volvo Penta engines.

The high water alarm will hopefully make sure this – or worse - can never happen again.

Links to my previous blog posts about the stern gland leak are below -

Winter cruising joys and the misery caused by flooding bilges

Sleeping more soundly thanks to our new automatic bilge pump


New look marina


Photo of Maryport Marina looking ship-shape with its new paint job

Maryport Marina looking ship-shape with its new paint job


When work began on painting the marina a couple of weeks ago, I really wasn’t sure about the shade of blue that had been chosen.

Photo of Maryport Marina last winter before its facelift

Maryport Marina last winter before its facelift

It looked much too bright to me and I really couldn’t see how it was going to look good.

As work progressed, it started to grow on me and the addition of dark blue window frames and corner stones transformed the whole appearance of the building.

I now love it. It looks great whatever the weather.

The combination of blues is very appropriate for a maritime business and a vast improvement on the drab brown walls before it was painted.

Photo of Maryport Marina's new colour scheme

Maryport Marina's new colour scheme


The painting contractors, who did a fantastic job and went out of their way to ensure they didn’t cause any inconvenience to marina customers, worked flat out to make sure it was completed in time for the open day on Saturday.

And the picnic bench that appeared on the paved area in front of the marina facilities overlooking the pontoons a few weeks back has apparently been breeding as there are now three of them 😊


Photo of new picnic benches on the paving overlooking the pontoons

New picnic benches on the paving overlooking the pontoons



Maryport Marina open day


Photo of boat trips in the rain at Maryport Marina Open Day

Boat trips in the rain at Maryport Marina Open Day


After more than five weeks of wall-to-wall sunshine, it was so sad that it poured with rain through most of Maryport Marina Open Day on Saturday.

Photo of passengers disembarking after their boat trip

Passengers disembarking after their boat trip

A few hardy folk turned out during the wettest parts of the event, with more arriving when it started to clear up a bit during the afternoon.

I can only think the bad weather put some people off coming, but those who braved the rain appeared to be having a good time.

The most popular attraction seemed to be the free boat trips offered by Glyn Dixon, who owns the local Venture West charter boat.

He took four trips of up to 10 passengers out of the marina into the basin and around into the harbour.

I believe at least one trip also involved heading out between Maryport’s two piers into the Solway Firth, but high winds prevented him from doing so on the other outings.

Photo of Maryport Inshore Rescue volunteers at Maryport Marina

Maryport Inshore Rescue volunteers at Maryport Marina

Maryport Inshore Rescue brought their rescue boat into the marina for the event and the local Sea Cadets had a stand to let people know about their activities.

Visitors were also offered guided tours of the pontoons and a look on board Solway Adventurer, a Bavaria 38 yacht owned by a charity that provides sailing trips for elderly and disabled people and disadvantaged children.

Photo of two young children enjoying a ride on the roundabout

Two young children enjoying a ride on the roundabout


Other attractions included a children’s fairground ride, a free raffle and the chance to buy food and cups of tea and coffee and to meet the marina customers.


Houseplants or boat plants?


Photo of our new spider plant (right) and a plant we brought with us when we moved on board

Our new spider plant (right) and a plant we brought with us when we moved on board


If you keep houseplants on a boat, I presume they’re no longer called houseplants 😊

We brought a couple of plants with us when we sold our house and moved onto our 43ft Neptunus 133 motor cruiser in November 2016. And they're still alive – just!

But it’s obvious that neither the peace lily (Spathiphyllum – also known as the white sail plant) or the other plant, the name of which I can’t remember, are thriving.

I don’t know whether it’s the dramatic changes in temperature onboard or too much sunlight scorching them, but I seem to spend a lot of time cutting off dead and discoloured leaves. So much so, that the peace lily is destined for the bin very soon. I just haven’t had the heart to do it yet.

We bought a tiny cactus garden in Lidl supermarket a couple of months ago and that seems to be doing well.

Photo of our miniature cactus garden

Our miniature cactus garden


And we’ve just bought a spider plant - Chlorophytum comosum variegatum - to replace the very sad-looking peace lily so we’ll see how that fares on Ravensdale.

I haven’t had one of these for years but, if I remember rightly, they were pretty much indestructible. Guess I’ll soon find out if that’s true 😊


Marina wildlife


Photo of one of the pigeons that has taken up residence by the marina ramp

One of the pigeons that has taken up residence by the marina ramp


A couple of pigeons seem to have taken up residence at the bottom of the ramp from the pontoons to the marina facilities at Maryport Marina.

And they seem totally unconcerned about people walking within a couple of feet of them.

We think they’re young pigeons that have been kicked out of their nest, possibly because their parents have another brood.

I guess they’ve been left to fend for themselves now and one thing they really need to learn is a healthy fear of people or they may not last very long.

Photo of a heron on the rocks by the marina slipway

A heron on the rocks by the marina slipway


Photo of the heron taking a rest from fishing

The heron taking a rest from fishing

Meanwhile, the heron has been back hunting from the bottom of the marina slipway on a number of occasions this week.

He also likes to perch on the rocks down the side of the slipway for a rest and can often be seen standing there with his head tucked under a wing.

We haven’t seen the swans that used to be regular visitors to the marina since they arrived with their cygnets while we were heading out of the gate on Ravensdale on Monday of last week.

I’m told they returned, again with their young, last Friday while we were out shopping.

I was so sad to have missed them as I want to start feeding them in the hope they will become regular visitors again.
We've also seen a couple of young pied wagtails sitting on the pontoons over the last couple of days, but I couldn't get near enough to get a decent photo of them. In fact, when I attempted it one flew away. The photo below was the best I could get.
Photo of a young pied wagtail sitting on a pontoon at Maryport Marina

A young pied wagtail sitting on a pontoon at Maryport Marina



Spectacular skies


Photo of interesting cloud formations over Maryport Marina on Wednesday evening

Interesting cloud formations over Maryport Marina on Wednesday evening


Sunset and sunrises tend to be particularly popular with photographers, but I often think unusual cloud formations at other times of the day can be just us interesting.

We were sitting watching TV on Wednesday evening when we caught sight of some great clouds out of the window.

If I’d spotted them sooner, I might have tried to get to a better location but there was no guarantee they would last so I took a few shots (OK, quite a few shots 😊) from Ravensdale and the pontoon on which she's moored.

Photo of unusual clouds over Ravensdale (at the far end of the pontoon)

Unusual clouds over Ravensdale (at the far end of the pontoon)


Photo of another view of the clouds over the marina

Another view of the clouds over the marina


Photo of light-coloured clouds standing out against the dark sky

Light-coloured clouds standing out against the dark sky


Photo of another view of the clouds over the marina building

Another view of the clouds over the marina building


I didn’t get up for sunrise at all this week, but Phil happened to wake up at the relevant time on Saturday morning and took this photo from Ravensdale’s aft deck.
Phil's sunrise photo from Saturday morning

Phil's sunrise photo from Saturday morning



Summer has arrived!


Yesterday (Thursday) was the Summer Solstice – the official start of summer in the northern hemisphere.

So, we will be expecting good weather from now all the way through to the official end of summer on Sunday September 23.

Sadly, the chances of that happening are less than nil

Summer got off to a good start yesterday, but the rest of the past week was decidedly unsummery.

Photo of clouds gathering over Maryport Marina on Friday afternoon

Clouds gathering over Maryport Marina on Friday afternoon


It rained overnight Friday into Saturday. It continued to do so on and off until about 3pm, with heavy downpours at times, but the rain cleared up and the sun came out in the evening. The top daytime temperature was 13.3C(56F) and the top average wind speed was 21mph, gusting to 31mph.

Photo of marina open day visitors wrapped up against the weather on Saturday

Marina open day visitors wrapped up against the weather on Saturday


Sunday started dull and it was spitting with rain. The rain never really came to anything but the sky remained overcast with dampness in the air. The highest daytime temperature recorded locally was 13.8C (56F) with southerly winds averaging up to 21mph.

Monday was overcast and windy, with a top temperature of 14.8C (59F) and average wind speeds of up to 19mph, gusting 31mph.

This was followed by a fairly windy night with a top average wind speed of 19mph, gusting up to 29mph.

It was bright first thing of Tuesday but clouded over with a few spits of rain late morning. It started raining properly during the afternoon and kept it up throughout the evening. The top daytime temperature was 13.4C (56F) with average wind speeds of 10-13mph.

Photo of a grey day at Maryport Marina

A grey day at Maryport Marina


Tuesday night into Wednesday was a very windy night. Wind speeds were considerably lower than during Storm Hector the previous week, but Ravensdale seemed to be rocking around more.

We could hear the wind howling around Ravensdale. She was rolling around, the ropes were creaking and the fenders were complaining as they were squashed against the pontoon.

The top average wind speed overnight was 26mph, gusting to 38mph.

Wednesday started overcast and the high winds continued throughout the day, with average wind speeds peaking at 23mph and gusts of up to 36mph.

The sun came out during the afternoon giving a top day time temperature of 14.4C (58F).

Photo of Maryport lighthouse on Wednesday evening

Maryport lighthouse on Wednesday evening


Wednesday night and the early hours of yesterday (Thursday) continued windy giving us another noisy and rocky night on board. The highest average wind speed recorded was 30mph, with gusts up to 43mph.

We awoke to a lovely sunny morning yesterday, but it was still pretty windy. The top daytime temperature was 14.7C (58F) and the highest average wind speed recorded locally was 23mph, gusting to 31mph.

Photo of fluffy white clouds in a blue sky herald the start of summer yesterday (Thursday)

Fluffy white clouds in a blue sky herald the start of summer yesterday (Thursday)


And today (Friday) is a proper summers day. It's calm and sunny with very little wind. So far, the highest temperature has been 12.7C (55F) but I have a feeling that will increase as the day goes on.


Friday, 15 June 2018

Our first full day at sea and the arrival of Storm Hector


Photo of Phil fishing from Ravensdale's foredeck in the sunshine

Phil fishing from Ravensdale's foredeck in the sunshine


The sea gate at our marina is closed for around seven hours between tides as it only opens for about two and half hours either side of high water.

Until last weekend, we’d only been out and back on the same tide.

We’d been planning to go out on the morning tide and return on the evening tide for some time and we did it for the first time on Saturday.

It was a strange feeling knowing the gate to Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK, was closed and that we had to wait at least another seven hours before it would open to let us back in again.

Overnight Wednesday into Thursday we were battered by strong winds as a result of Storm Hector. This was the first named storm here since Storm Georgina on January 23.

Meanwhile, the pair of swans that used to be regular visitors to the marina returned this week with their young.

First trip out over two tides


I keep a regular watch on the tides and the weather looking for the best opportunities to take Ravensdale out to sea and the forecast for Saturday was dry, warm and, most importantly, fairly calm.

The marina gate opening times also meant it was a good opportunity to try going out over two tides for the first time.

Photo of Phil at Ravensdale's helm during our fishing trip on Saturday

Phil at Ravensdale's helm during our fishing trip on Saturday


Until Saturday, the longest period we'd spent out at sea was three hours and 55 minutes (yes, I keep a record of every minute we're out there 😊)

There was no more preparation needed than for any other outing except for making sure we had plenty of fishing bait.

When your boat is your home, you can’t accidentally leave anything behind. Everything we could possibly want is always with us 😊

Surprisingly, for a weekend, we could only see one fishing boat, Sunrise, when we arrived at our usual fishing location.

We spoke to Steve, who operates Sunrise as an angling club, on the VHF radio to compare notes on how the fishing was going, but he moved on soon after we arrived.

For a while, we couldn’t see another boat then Maryport trawler Winsome came into view.

Soon afterwards, I received a Facebook message from Tom, who owns the boat, and we had a bit of a chat about the fact he’d lost the side gear from one side of his boat.

Photo of Winsome on the Solway Firth

Winsome on the Solway Firth

Photo of Winsome trawling for shrimps with one net

Winsome trawling for shrimps with one net


We were sorry to hear he was having problems, but it was sort of comforting knowing he was out there too.

We had quite a good day’s fishing even if Phil still didn’t manage to catch the massive smooth-hound that got away a few weeks ago.

Within minutes of putting out the first rod, he got what felt like quite a heavy fish. However, when he reeled it in, it turned out to be two dogfish.

Phil’s best catch of the day was a tope weighing just over 4lb.

Photo of Phil with his best catch of the day

Phil with his best catch of the day


Tope are slim and powerful members of the shark family prized by anglers for their fighting power and, even at this size, they really do put up a good fight.

Unlike smooth-hounds, which are known as “gummy sharks” because they have no teeth, tope have very sharp teeth so you really wouldn’t want to put your hand in its mouth while retrieving a hook.

Phil also caught four further tope and six smooth-hounds varying in size up to about 3lb.

Photo of Phil with one of the smooth-hounds he caught on Saturday

Phil with one of the smooth-hounds he caught on Saturday


And we’ve got netting the larger fish down to a fine art now so, when he does catch “the one that got away”, we will hopefully be able to land it.

As always, dogfish were a total menace. Some dropped off, which Phil is always pleased to see happen, but a lot more had to be unhooked and thrown back.

The weather was warm and sunny - so much so that I had to put on a long-sleeved shirt to stop my shoulders and arms from getting burnt.

Photo of me wearing a long-sleeved shirt and cap to stop me getting sunburnt

Me wearing a long-sleeved shirt and cap to stop me getting sunburnt


The wind was around 6-8mph when we left the marina and a bit lower on our return.

However, it got stronger around the time the tide turned so we pulled up the anchor and headed off towards the area where we know the local fishermen go in search of mackerel. 

As we passed Maryport on the way down to Workington, it was getting very misty and considerably less sunny, so we turned around and headed back to our regular fishing ground.

Photo of Maryport through the sea mist at low tide when the basin and harbour dry out

Maryport through the sea mist at low tide when the basin and harbour dry out


This time, we went a bit further along the coast, but soon found the water was getting shallower so returned to our previous location as Phil had put a marker on the chart plotter.

We ran up the generator to top up the domestic batteries and to keep the freezer, which is on the 240V system, cold, although I’d moved most of the contents of the freezer into the ice box of the fridge before we went out as the fridge operates on the 24V system.

Photo of our generator providing power for the freezer and coffeemaker

Our generator providing power for the freezer and coffeemaker


And I took advantage of the generator being on to make us a cappuccino with our coffee maker. The rest of the time we were out we drank tea from a flask I’d made up before we left.

Phil was still catching fish, but they were less frequent and smaller than his catches during the morning.

We didn’t come back to the marina the minute the gate opened as we were still happy fishing and we didn’t want to look as though we’d been sitting out there waiting to get back into the marina as that would’ve looked a bit desperate 😊

Phil decided to use up the last two squid then call it a day and the last dogfish he caught took the bait then came off the hook. Result! 😊

For the first time in the 19 months we’ve been moored in Maryport Marina, the marina staff didn’t come to catch our ropes after we’d called up to say we were coming in.

Photo of me preparing a docking stick as we approach the marina. Photo by Ronnie Bell

Me preparing a docking stick as we approach the marina. Photo by Ronnie Bell


Photo of a docking stick in use

A docking stick in use

I wasn’t too bothered as I had our docking sticks handy and had them all set up ready to do the job myself when our friend Traver, who has two boats in the marina, quickly made his way to the pontoon to meet us.

By then, I wanted to practice using the docking sticks again, so I used one to secure a bow line then threw him the stern line, which he tied up for us.

We easily broke our previous record for our longest time at sea on Saturday with nine hours and 35 minutes.

And staying out for that long has given us the confidence to travel a bit further afield at some point in the future – the only things we need to decide now are where and when 😊



Short outing on “the posh boat”


We were about to have breakfast on Sunday morning when Phil noticed that Traver and his wife Julie were taking their Sealine 42 Statesman Andromeda around to the fuel pontoon, so he headed over there to help catch their ropes.

He was gone some time and we ate when he got back.

We were just finishing our breakfast when Traver and Julie knocked on the side of the boat and asked if we’d like a ride out on Andromeda as they’d decided to take her for a spin on the Solway Firth before returning to their mooring.

Photo of Andromeda on the Solway Firth

Andromeda on the Solway Firth


Andromeda really is a lovely boat. Phil calls her “the posh boat”.

She’s much the same length as ours but laid out very differently and beautifully fitted out.

We all sat up on the flybridge while Traver showed us what she could do.

Photo of Phil and Traver on Andromeda's flybridge as we passed Ravensdale

Phil and Traver on Andromeda's flybridge as we passed Ravensdale


Photo of Phil chatting with Traver and Julie on Andromeda's flybridge

Phil chatting with Traver and Julie on Andromeda's flybridge


Her acceleration was amazing.

Andromeda was travelling at 27 knots in no time, which was a bit different to the 8-10 knots we do most of the time in Ravensdale. Our boat can go faster than that, but we tend to keep the speed down to conserve fuel.

Photo of Andromeda's wake

Andromeda's wake


We were only out at sea for just over half an hour, but it was a fun experience and certainly not something we’d even anticipated when we got up that morning.

Photo of returning to Maryport Marina

Returning to Maryport Marina


As I’ve said before, I just love the randomness of our liveaboard lifestyle.

We never know what’s going to happen next 😊

Still hunting the elusive giant smoothie


The weather forecast was fairly calm for Monday, so we decided to go out and have another hunt for the smooth-hound with Phil’s name on it.

Photo of leaving Maryport

Leaving Maryport

We decided against staying out all day again so got up early to go out and back on the morning tide.

It was a lovely morning, bright and sunny with very little wind so we were expecting a nice smooth ride, but it was not to be.

As we left Maryport basin and headed out between the two piers, we immediately discovered the sea was much lumpier than it had been on our previous outing.
We headed back to our usual fishing spot and dropped anchor in search of the one that got away.

Phil set up his fishing gear and started catching almost immediately while I took photographs of a large boat passing the Robin Rigg wind farm on its way to nearby Silloth.

Photo of a ship passing Robin Rigg wind farm

A ship passing Robin Rigg wind farm


He caught five smooth-hounds, the largest of which was probably around 3lb, a small tope and a small thornback ray.
Photo of one of the smooth-hounds Phil caught on our latest fishing trip

One of the smooth-hounds Phil caught on our latest fishing trip



We decided to keep one of the smooth-hounds this time as we've never tried eating them.

Photo of Phil's "rockling"

Phil's "rockling"

Phil also caught what we jokingly called a rockling. It was a small, seaweed-covered rock that he pulled in with a tiny starfish clinging onto it.

The weather remained fairly sunny while we were out on the Solway Firth, but the south westerly wind was keeping us facing the wrong direction when the tide turned, so the boat sat across the tide giving us a very bumpy ride.

Phil attempted to use the engines to turn her around, but she kept returning to the same position.

He eventually decided to head home a bit sooner than planned as the fairly severe rocking was making fishing less fun.

I drove Ravensdale back trying to follow the route Phil had taken on the way out, but I handed the wheel back over to him as we approached Maryport, so he could bring her into the marina.

Photo of me driving Ravensdale back to Maryport

Me driving Ravensdale back to Maryport


I know I need to learn to do that too, but that’s still a little way down the line.

As we came into the marina, there was no one waiting to catch our ropes again, but it didn’t matter as I had the docking sticks ready.

Photo of a docking stick in use

A docking stick in use

I then saw Pauline, the marina manager, running down the ramp and heading down the pontoon towards us as she wasn’t aware we were now able to moor up unaided.

I called to her not to rush and hooked the bow line on with the docking stick, then threw her the stern line and stepped off onto our steps to line Ravensdale up with the steps and secure the stern line.

We have yet to taste the smooth-hound we kept.

Phil gutted, skinned and filleted it when we got back but read that the meat should be frozen for a couple of weeks before eating to get rid of the ammonia.

I’ll let you know what it was like when we get to eat it.



Shrimping


We made the decision on Friday afternoon to spend a full day out fishing the following day, so we needed to make sure we had plenty of bait.

Photo of Phil catching shrimps in Maryport Marina

Phil catching shrimps in Maryport Marina


Photo of our new live bait bucket

Our new live bait bucket

We went to the bait shop for squid and blueys (Pacific saury) then went for another shrimp hunt around the marina on Friday evening.

This time, we were much more successful as Phil discovered the shrimps were hiding in the weed growing on the sides of the pontoon floats.

Our next problem was how to keep them alive until they were needed, so we went over to the Aquarium by the harbour and bought a live bait bucket, which has a battery-operated pump that aerates the water.

We also bought a small bucket to collect the shrimps in.

And we discovered they worked well as bait during Saturday’s outing.

Photo of some of the shrimps we caught being used as bait

Some of the shrimps we caught being used as bait


Another very successful shrimp hunt in the marina on Sunday afternoon provided plenty of bait for Monday’s fishing trip when they proved to be the most successful bait of the lot.

We will definitely be going on regular shrimp hunts from now on.

The clean-up continues


Every time we get back from a fishing trip, Phil hoses Ravensdale down to clean off the salt spray and the marks left by the fish.

Photo of Phil washing Ravensdale after our latest fishing trip

Phil washing Ravensdale after our latest fishing trip


We bought a large plastic laundry basket for him to put the fish in while removing his hooks in the hope that would help, but they still manage to make a mess of the deck.

And something more powerful than boat wash is needed to get rid of the stains.

Previously, Phil has used stain removal products bought from chandleries, but recently learned that it would be a lot cheaper to buy oxalic acid crystals and mix them up himself.

Photo of Phil applying oxalic acid to Ravensdale's foredeck

Phil applying oxalic acid to Ravensdale's foredeck


He tried it for the first time on Wednesday and it did a great job of getting rid of any yellowing on the gel coat around the foredeck.

However, more effort and/or another product is going to be required to totally get rid of the fishy stains.

Storm Hector


The Met Office issued a yellow “be aware” weather warning for high winds in this area from 3am to 3pm yesterday (Thursday) and the storm that was due to bring us these conditions was named Hector.

We were being warned to expect gusts of up to 60mph, so Phil checked all our ropes and added an extra spring line.

Photo of the extra spring line added in preparation for Storm Hector

The longer spring line is the extra one added in preparation for Storm Hector


We stowed away or tied down anything that could catch the wind and Phil checked our TV aerial was as secure as it could be as it’s become dislodged during previous storms.

It got pretty windy during Wednesday afternoon and the rain arrived at around 5pm by which time we had 23mph winds, gusting to 33mph.

We had heavy rain with high winds during the evening and discovered that we have a leak somewhere around our door which was allowing water to drip through onto the steps to the aft cabin.

Photo of a giant wave breaking on the shore at Maryport during Storm Hector

A giant wave breaks on the shore at Maryport during Storm Hector


Ravensdale was rocking well when we went to bed, but we somehow managed to sleep through the turbulent weather conditions during the night.

We awoke to discover that the top wind speed overnight had been 38mph, gusting to 55mph, in the early hours of the morning.

We watched the rest of the storm from Ravensdale and could see that the yachts seemed to be rolling around far more than we were.

The marina gate wasn’t opened yesterday morning so we went down to that end of the marina to see the water pouring over the gate and the foam that was being whipped up by the strong winds.

Photo of water pouring in over the marina gate and foam blown around by the wind

Water pours in over the marina gate and foam is blown around by the wind


We took a trip over to the shore just before high tide to see the giant waves breaking on the shore, then moved over to the promenade to see the powerful sea crashing against the sea wall.

Photo of waves crashing onto  Maryport promenade

Waves crashing onto Maryport promenade


Storm Hector had just about blown itself out by early afternoon and Ravensdale escaped unscathed other than the leak, which will be fixed asap.

Photography problems


I was delighted to see the swans that used to be regular visitors to the marina return on Saturday morning with their three cygnets.

The only trouble was that they entered the marina as we were leaving on Ravensdale, so all I could do was to grab a couple of shots from the boat as we passed them.

I wished I’d had a longer lens on my camera to get a better view of them but there was no time to change my lens so I had to make do with what I had.

Photo of swans and their cygnets in Maryport Marina

Swans and their cygnets in Maryport Marina


Photo of a family of swans looking for food in Maryport Marina

A family of swans looking for food in Maryport Marina


Sadly, my photography has been limited since the weekend due to a photo storage problem.

On Sunday, I discovered that the disk on my laptop on which my photos are stored was full.

I couldn’t finish importing my photos from our trip out on Andromeda until I’d deleted enough images to make sufficient space.

I spent quite a lot of time on Sunday and Monday afternoon deleting photos, then filled up much of the space I’d freed up with images from our fishing trip on Monday and the pigeons we found nesting in a hole in the marina wall.

Photo of a pigeon guarding the entrance to the hole in the wall where they are nesting

A pigeon guarding the entrance to the hole in the wall where they are nesting


These are not the pigeons in the hole near Ravensdale. They’re on the other side of the marina close to where our boat was previously moored.

Photo of a pigeon looking after her brood

A pigeon looking after her brood


This hole is much more accessible, so I could get close enough to try to take a few shots of the babies inside.

I didn’t use flash as I didn’t want to upset them, but I don’t think their Mum was very impressed with me being there at all as she came to the entrance and gave me the evil eye 😊

Photo of Mrs Pigeon warning me off

Mrs Pigeon warns me off


Phil helped me to move some of my older images onto another disk on my laptop taking the full disk out of the red zone.

Storm Hector meant I took many more photos than even I would usually take so I’m going to have to do something more dramatic to clear some more space on my photo storage disk.

My earlier images were already backed up onto an external hard drive and we’ve moved them into separate folders, so they won’t get overwritten during future back-ups.

We’re going to have to move some more very soon or I won’t be able to take any more photos, which would mean the end of life as I know it

Photo of a fishing boat in Maryport Harbour at high tide just after Storm Hector

A fishing boat in Maryport Harbour at high tide just after Storm Hector


Photo of more fishing boats at high tide

More fishing boats at high tide


Photo of colourful fishing boats almost level with the top of the dock

Colourful fishing boats almost level with the top of the dock


Photo of the Ellenfoot Bridge at Maryport Harbour at high tide

The Ellenfoot Bridge at Maryport Harbour at high tide


Step count


Photo of my step count from June 7-13

My step count for June 7-13

My mobile phone keeps track of how many steps I take each day.

I know my target should probably be 10,000, but I’ve set it at 6,000 to make it achievable.

If I find I’m falling short of the 6,000, I try to get out for a walk to up my step count.

However, I’ve now discovered that I do as many steps during a day spent at sea on Ravensdale as I do when we’re “at home” - walking around the marina and going out shopping and for walks.

On Saturday (June 9) , we were out on the water for more than nine and a half hours and I never left the marina on foot, so I was amazed to discover that I’d still done 7,652 steps.


Docking sticks


Photo of Jimmy's version of our docking sticks

Jimmy's version of our docking sticks

We showed a friend, who has a small fishing boat in the marina, our docking sticks and he thought they were brilliant.

We ordered ours from the States because we couldn’t find anything similar in the UK, but Jimmy was convinced they would be simple to make himself.

And he came back a couple of days later with his version, which is made from an extending paint roller handle with two plastic clips attached.

He said he was still perfecting the design so I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with, but the prototype seemed to work well enough to me.

A change in the weather 


The long run of warm, sunny weather came to a dramatic end on Wednesday evening with the arrival of Storm Hector.

Saturday was another sunny day with a top temperature of 19C (66F) and a sea mist at times. The south-westerly wind reached a top average speed of 11mph, gusting to 14mph.

The following day felt even hotter and sunnier even though the top temperature of 19.5C (67C) was much the same. The highest average wind speed recorded locally was 9mph, but it was only around 5-7mph for most of the day.

Photo of calm and sunny weather on Sunday morning

Calm and sunny weather on Sunday morning


Monday started bright, sunny and calm, but became overcast and the wind blew up to around 10-14mph while we were out at sea. The temperature peaked at 17.3C (63F).

Photo of a mackerel sky on Monday afternoon

A mackerel sky on Monday afternoon


The weather started to change on Tuesday. It was dull and overcast first thing and cooler than of late, but it brightened up and warmed up during the morning.

The top daytime temperature was 16.4C (62F). It was fairly calm in the morning when wind speeds were 7-9mph winds rising to 15mph during the afternoon.

Phil awoke early on Wednesday and woke me to tell me there was a colourful sunrise developing.

I really didn’t feel like getting dressed and going out, so I took a couple of snaps out of the boat window.  

Photo of Maryport Marina before sunrise on Wednesday

Maryport Marina before sunrise on Wednesday


I took my photos at 4.12am and later discovered that sunrise was 4.37am. I would probably have got much more dramatic images if I’d stayed up, but I was feeling tired, so I went straight back to bed.

The day started dry and bright, but there was a fair bit of cloud around. The top daytime temperature was 15.3C (60F).

It started calm with 6mph southerly winds building to 23mph, gusting 33mph, by 5pm and the rain arrived at around 5pm.

Photo of the start of the rain on Wednesday afternoon

The rain arrives on Wednesday afternoon


This was followed by heavy rain and high winds during the evening as Storm Hector started to make his presence known.

The top wind speed during the storm was 38mph, gusting 55mph, in the early hours of yesterday (Thursday) morning.

Photo of a giant wave smashing against Maryport Promenade at the tail end of Storm Hector

A giant wave smashes against Maryport Promenade at the tail end of Storm Hector


The wind was southerly first thing but moved around to a westerly direction by late morning.

The high winds dropped off soon after lunchtime and the sun came out later in the afternoon giving us a top temperature of 16C (61F).

And, so far, today (Friday) has been overcast and considerably cooler than recent weeks with a moderate wind and a top temperature of just 12.6C (55F).