Storm clouds gathering before the arrival of ex-hurricane Ophelia
Ex-hurricane Ophelia blasted her way across Cumbria without causing us any real problems earlier this week.
Wind gusting up to 64mph overnight on Monday and into Tuesday morning made for some pretty rocky conditions on our 43ft cruiser in Maryport Marina.
But the preparations we'd made to keep Ravensdale safe during the storm served us well.
And, just when we thought it was all over, the forecasters are now warning us to brace ourselves for the arrival of Storm Brian – the second UK named storm of the season – which is due to arrive here tomorrow (Saturday).
We were originally told to expect ex-Ophelia to arrive at around midday on Monday, but the severe weather warning was revised to a 6pm start.
During the day on Monday, there was very little wind, temperatures were way up on the average for the time of year and there were some pretty weird skies.
The sky over the harbour took on a pink tinge at around 10.15am on Monday
At times, the sky was really dark, sometimes it had a yellowish tinge and at other times it had a pinkish hue, but the strangest phenomenon was the sun, which turned blood red and then orange.
The orange/red sun at around 12.40pm on Monday
We later heard on the TV weather forecast that this was due to Saharan sand and ash from north Iberian wildfires “giving a rosy glow to the sky”.
We adjusted our mooring ropes to move Ravensdale a bit further out from the side and put an additional rope on the starboard side to keep her away from the pontoon.
Extra mooring rope from end of finger pontoon to centre cleat on starboard side
Aware that there was a possibility of power cuts, we dug out our generator, checked it was working and filled it with petrol. We also went out to buy more petrol in case we lost power for a longer period. Thankfully this was not needed.
As Monday progressed the wind started to pick up a bit.
Soon after midday, we took a walk around the marina to the beach and out along the pier, where we saw a couple of local fishing boats returning to Maryport, presumably keen to be back in the safety of the harbour before the gale force winds arrived.
A fishing boat returning home to Maryport
Another fishing boat heading for home
At around 12.30pm, our new anemometer measured windspeeds of up to 19mph at the end of the pier and the temperature was an unseasonal 19.5C.
Phil checking the anemometer at the end of the pier
The wind really started to pick up and became a lot noisier at around 5pm and, by 5.30pm, Ravensdale was rocking well. We recorded gusts of up to 25mph.
By 6.30pm the wind was howling around the masts and the yachts’ halyards were clanging. Our mooring ropes were creaking loudly and our fenders started bashing against the hull.
The marina staff left the gate closed overnight to save us from the worst of the swell and by 8pm we could see waves coming over the gate with spray being blown back up the wall by the little building that houses the controls for the gate.
And, at around 8.20pm it started raining heavily, the boat was rocking more violently, tugging on its mooring ropes and slamming up against the fenders.
Soon afterwards we received a call from one of the marina staff to say he was coming down onto the pontoons to check the mooring ropes. He just wanted to make sure someone knew where he was, but Phil didn’t like the idea of him being out there on his own and went to join him.
I was very pleased when Phil climbed back on board. He had put his lifejacket on before he went out and I knew he wouldn’t do anything silly, but the conditions were horrendous.
We then watched as the emergency services went to deal with an ex-trawler that is now used as a liveaboard, which is moored alongside the harbour wall outside the marina gate.
The former trawler in better weather
There were lots of blue flashing lights as HM Coastguard, Maryport Inshore Rescue and the fire service battled to control the vessel after its stern line snapped and it was being tossed around by the massive waves. Unfortunately i couldn't get any photos as it was too dark.
We were some distance away, but could see its bow riding up over the quayside.
We later heard that the occupants were taken away to a local hotel for the night.
The storm continued throughout the night, with a top wind speed of 64mph recorded for Maryport.
On Tuesday morning, it was still very windy and we decided to go out and see what was happening down on the beach before breakfast.
There were still huge waves crashing onto the shore and we didn’t think it was a good idea to walk out along the pier as the waves were covering it with spray.
We took some photos and videos of the wild sea. Annoyingly Phil's photos were much better than mine as my lens got covered in salt spray and I didn't notice until I got home.
Me taking photos on Maryport beach
And, as we walked back around to the marina, we saw the efforts being made to secure the former trawler that had broken its stern line during the night.
Workington lifeboat stands by to assist with the ex-trawler
Securing the stern of the vessel
The lifeboat prepares to leave Maryport
Whitehaven’s new £2.1million Shannon class lifeboat, Dorothy May White, was providing assistance from the sea and, as it left to return to its home port, it was clear just how well suited it was for the purpose. It made light work of the huge waves, frequently disappearing from view as it dropped down into the troughs.
Workington lifeboat heading home through the waves
The trawler was safely tied up alongside the wall again, but there was visible damage to both the boat and the quayside.
The bow of the vessel was badly gouged and scraped and there were large chunks missing out of the granite capping stones along the top of the wall. A metal ladder also appeared to have been ripped off its mountings.
The former trawler safely tied up alongside
A close up showing damage to the bow and the capping stones
The marina gate was still closed, but the level of the water outside was higher than inside and it was pouring over the top of the gate like a mini waterfall, with foam being blown up into the air.
As we hadn’t eaten, we decided to go to the café at The Aquarium by the harbour for a cooked breakfast to discover that the floodgates, installed to protect the South Quay area from flooding, were closed. Fortunately for us, Environment Agency personnel arrived to open them as we got there.
The closed flood gate outside the Aquarium
The wind continued to drop as the day went on and Wednesday was one of the calmest days we’ve had here in a long time.
The calm after the storm
Now we’re being warned to expect high winds from about 4am until midnight tomorrow. The storm has been named Brian and the Met Office is telling us to expect gusts exceeding 50mph, with gusts of around 70mph along exposed coastal areas.
The old marina sign on Marine Road, Maryport
The new marina and caravan park signs
Meanwhile, the marina has erected new signs at the entrance as the old one did not show that there is also a caravan park on the site.
I can see the reason for changing them, but can’t help thinking the old one looked so much better.
A new fob entry system has also been installed in the marina toilet and shower block, which will ensure that only people who are eligible to use them can gain access.