Ravensdale returning to Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK, on Wednesday. Photo by Ronnie Bell
I’ve said it before and I have no doubt I’ll say it again – I totally love boat life 😊
This week we’ve managed to take Ravensdale out on the Solway Firth in Cumbria, UK, twice and caught our first cod of the season.
Friends have given us some lovely photos of our Neptunus 133 motor cruiser while she was being lifted out of the water last week and while returning from one of our fishing trips this week.
We’ve also had a couple of beautiful sunsets here in between the periods of bad weather.
And the swan family has been back pestering us for food.
It looks as though the swans missed their regular feeds at our boat while she was out getting her bottom antifouled and new anodes fitted last week, but they obviously hadn’t forgotten where to find us 😊
First fishing trip and testing Ravensdale’s stern glands
The weather forecast for the morning tide on Saturday was for low single figure winds, so we decided to take Ravensdale out fishing.
Calm conditions in Maryport Basin on Saturday morning
The other reason for going - other than to give us a break after spending the previous week working on the boat - was to test the stern glands that we had repacked while she was out of the water.
The marina gate was due to open at around 7.40am so we got up early to get ready for our fishing trip, but the weather seemed less calm than we’d been expecting, and the forecast had changed giving wind speeds of 8-11mph with gusts of up to 15mph.
It seemed relatively calm in the marina, but we weren’t convinced so Phil went around to the pier to check the sea state.
He came back saying it didn’t look too bad, so we carried on with our preparations for our planned outing.
The swan family arrived just as I’d released the mooring lines and we were leaving the pontoon, so I was unable to feed them before we left. This was a bit sad as I hadn’t seen them all week while Ravensdale was out of the water and they'd gone by the time we got back.
The swan family as we left the marina on Saturday morning
As usual, there were fishermen on the pier, but this time they pulled their lines in to allow us to pass.
One of the fishermen on Maryport pier as we passed
If we go out at high water, Phil gives them a wide berth. It there's less water out there, we have to follow the channel, which hugs the side of the pier.
On our last outing, one of the fishermen made no attempt to pull his line in and we went straight over it. We found it wrapped around Ravensdale’s port prop shaft when we had her lifted out of the water for antifouling.
This time, we went in the opposite direction out of Maryport and headed down towards Flimby as we haven’t had much luck fishing in our usual spot in Allonby Bay lately.
Ravensdale heading down towards Flimby
We dropped anchor, switched off the engines and Phil put out a fishing rod to see if he would have any more luck in a different location.
I commented on the fact that he’d only put out one rod from the foredeck when he usually sets up two.
Phil fishing on Ravensdale's foredeck
He told me it was to reduce the number of dogfish he caught.
I was highly amused by his response and pointed out that it would also reduce his chances of catching anything worth keeping.
Sadly, he still caught three dogfish and nothing else.
Oh well, I suppose it could have been six – or more – if he’d set up the second rod 😊
It was really cold sitting on deck waiting for the fish to bite so we ended up wearing jackets and woolly hats for the first time this year. I guess that means winter is well and truly on its way ☹
Me all wrapped against the cold on Ravensdale's aft deck
The boat started to turn before high tide and ended up sat across the tide and rocking well. This, together with the distinct lack of decent fish, led us to decide to move on.
We headed down towards Allonby Bay, but the sea was equally choppy there, so we decided to call it a day and return to the marina.
The average wind speed while we were out on the water was 11-14mph at St Bees Head, which is the nearest place to Maryport that this information is recorded. It was fairly windy here, but the wind speed was probably a little lower than these figures.
The temperature when we left the marina was 6.2C, rising to 8C by the time we returned just over two hours later.
All in all, it was a good outing – very unsuccessful as far as fishing was concerned, but still nice to be out on the water in our lovely floating home 😊
And, most importantly, the stern glands were fine. Phil tightened the nuts on them when we returned to the marina and they are now dripping at the correct frequency.
Our first cod of the season
After our unsuccessful fishing trip on Saturday, it hadn’t looked as though we’d get another chance to go out onto the Solway Firth this week.
Calm water in the marina at sunrise on Wednesday
We knew Wednesday was going to be a lovely, warm day and intended to use the great weather to clean the carpets on Ravensdale as they'd got a bit grubby while we were working on her when she was out on the boat hoist.
I’d also promised to take a friend’s dog for a walk while he was having some work carried out on his boat.
However, when we awoke to a beautifully calm, sunny morning, we decided it was too good an opportunity to miss.
And we were so glad we decided to forget the carpet cleaning and go fishing as Phil caught his first two cod of the season, both of which were just big enough to keep so we actually brought home something we could eat at long last.
We also kept one of the many dogfish he caught as we’ve never tried eating them and they are supposed to be nice, so we decided we should try them as we could be throwing back perfectly good food.
Me walking Tess on Maryport beach
I took Tess for a quick walk before the marina gate opened and we left the marina on Ravensdale in bright sunshine just before 11am.
There were a lot of people fishing off the pier, so Phil sounded Ravensdale’s horn while we were in the basin and it seemed to do the trick as they all pulled their lines in before we reached them.
The water in the marina had been really calm so we were rather surprised to discover it was pretty bumpy as we came out between the piers into the Solway Firth and even more surprised to discover that it was still bumpy once we were out past the piers.
This time we took the advice of a local fisherman, headed towards Flimby and tried fishing fairly close to the shore not very far from Maryport pier.
The view of Maryport pier from our latest fishing spot
The boat was rocking well, but we decided to stay put and see if the fishing really was better in this location.
It seemed strange dropping anchor so close to home, but it proved a good decision to take the advice we’d been given.
And while Phil was fishing, I saw a large, shiny, light-coloured fish rear up out of the water and travel along the surface in an upright position - twice!
The first cod Phil caught on Wednesday
Phil's second cod
Phil saw it the second time and thought it was probably a sea trout, so he decided to try spinning, sadly, without success.
Phil spinning after we saw the big fish
It was a pretty high tide with a strong current, so we were very pleased when Ravensdale turned easily with the tide and settled facing in the opposite direction without getting stuck across the tide as is so often the case.
This was probably because, after the tide turned, the wind and tide were travelling in the same direction.
It was definitely a good fishing trip and the weather was amazing for the time of year. We were both in T-shirts the whole time and could feel the heat of the sun on our skin.
Me sitting in the sunshine on Ravensdale's aft deck
Phil enjoying the sunshine while waiting for the fish to bite
If only that weather could have lasted a little longer than a single day before we were back to wind and rain.
And, after we’d got back and I was entering up our time at sea, I discovered that it had been our 30th trip out of the marina on Ravensdale.
Locked in – or out
For some reason, the sliding, metal door that opens onto Ravensdale’s aft deck gets very stiff at times, and I mean very stiff, so much so that sometimes I can’t get it to budge at all even if I put my not inconsiderable weight behind it 😊
Ravensdale's sticking door
Sometimes, it’s just generally stiff to open and close but lately it seems to jam at a certain point about six inches open or closed (depending on whether you’re a glass half full or half empty type of person 😊).
Phil has tried everything to stop it sticking – cleaning it, oiling it, etc. etc - and these things work fine for a short while, then it starts sticking again and there's no obvious reason why it sticks in the same place every time.
This time he used WD40 lubricant spray on the runners, which freed it off for a while.
I can’t help thinking that one of these days, I’m going to get locked in – or out – of our boat.
I just wish we could find a long-term solution to this problem.
We’re beginning to wonder whether the door is going to need replacing at some stage.
Meanwhile, we don’t need to go to a gym for exercise as that door provides a great workout for our arms 😊
Anchor chain roller
The replacement roller for Ravensdale's anchor chain
While Phil was replacing the pin that holds the anchor in place, the nylon wheel under which the chain runs through its metal housing was catapulted into the water never to be seen again.
We were unable to find one of the correct size, so we had one made and it works perfectly.
In fact, we ordered two, so we now have a spare if the new one that he's fitted also ends up in a watery grave or it just wears away with use.
I’d noticed that a new group had sprung up on Facebook called Maryport Rocks Cumbria and that it involved children painting rocks then hiding them for other people to find.
Anyone who found one was then supposed to post a photograph of it and either hide a new painted stone or rehide the original rock for someone else to find.
I thought it was a lovely idea as it would get children out in the fresh air having fun with their families.
However, I really didn’t think I’d have anything to do with it until an adult who didn’t know anything about the project found a painted rock and asked me to deal with it for them.
I then joined the closed Facebook group and took the rock to the location in which it had been found to photograph it in situ before rehiding it.
The rock that led to me joining the Maryport Rocks Cumbria Facebook group
Strangely, I hadn’t seen a single painted rock on my walks around Maryport until I went out to hide one.
Me with the rock before I set off to rehide it
While looking for a suitable location, I saw a little girl hiding one and when I got to the spot, where I was planning to put mine, I discovered there was already a rock sitting there waiting to be found.
I didn’t move either of these rocks as I thought it was better to leave them for children to find so I found a different location for the one I had in my pocket.
One of the rocks I saw but left where they were
The other rock I found during my walk
I then posted the photos I’d taken on Facebook stating where it had been found and that it had been rehidden and waited…
Just hours later, I saw a photo on Maryport Rocks Cumbria of a young child holding the rock while grinning from ear to ear and that made me smile too.
I think it’s totally brilliant and just wish I knew someone with a small child I could borrow to take on a rock hunt 😊
The cheeky cygnet demanding his food
We hadn’t seen the swan family since Ravensdale was lifted out of the water for antifouling last Monday and I was really looking forward to them returning after she was relaunched on Friday morning, but there was no sign of them all day.
Sadly, they turned up looking for food just as we were leaving the marina for our fishing trip early on Saturday morning.
I’d just pulled our mooring lines aboard and their food is kept under our steps on the pontoon so I couldn’t feed them.
I apologised to them but I’m pretty sure they didn’t understand ☹
They watched us go and, at one point, I actually thought they were going to follow us.
I looked for them when we got back a few hours later but they'd obviously decided to look elsewhere for food that day.
The swans waiting to be fed on Sunday morning
So, I was really pleased when they turned up again on Sunday morning and returned to our boat for food several times during the day.
It seems that one of the adult swans has started trying to keep the youngsters in their place as it was continually pecking them.
One of the cygnets trying to avoid getting pecked
I wondered if it meant it was time for the cygnets to leave their parents, so I Googled it and it’s obviously not that as they apparently stay with their parents until the following spring.
Other people’s photos
This set of photos of Ravensdale being lifted out of the water last week weren’t taken by me, but I guess that’s pretty obvious given that I’m in them 😊
Ravensdale in the boat hoist
Ravensdale on lift-out day
Ravensdale on her way up the slipway at Maryport Marina
Another shot of Ravensdale in the boat hoist
They were taken by a friend and I totally forgot to include them in last week’s blog, which was written in a hurry due to spending most of the week working on Ravensdale.
Oh well, better late than never. Many thanks to Richie for taking them and sending them to me. It really was much appreciated.
And below are the photos taken by Ronnie Bell as we were bringing Ravensdale back into the marina after our latest fishing trip.
It looks as though Phil is demonstrating the size of "the one that got away" in the second image, but he insists he was just playing to the camera when he saw Ronnie snapping away 😊
Me on the bow with my docking stick at the ready as Phil brings Ravensdale home
The uncropped version of Phil posing for the camera
A friend securing our aft line on our return to the pontoon
As always, I took more photos while out on the Solway Firth than I do at other times and, as we went out twice this week, I had a lot of shots to go through.
Maryport from the Solway Firth
Another view of Maryport from the Solway Firth
Cormorants on a navigational mark with the Iggesund paperboard factory in the background
A cargo ship passing the Robin Rigg Wind Farm
Maryport piers from the Solway Firth
Looking into Maryport Basin from the Solway Firth
Another view of cormorants on the navigational mark near Maryport
A fishing boat on the Solway Firth
Fishing boats in Maryport Harbour
Another view of Maryport Harbour
Maryport Basin at low tide
Maryport Harbour at low tide
And the very high tide coupled with strong winds Tuesday lunchtime was another good excuse to take photos – not that I need an excuse 😊
Giant waves whipped up by the high winds on Maryport shore on Tuesday
Another huge wave crashing onto the beach
A wave being blown across the pier at Maryport
Spray from the high waves being blown across the pier
On Tuesday evening, it became obvious that there was a good chance of a colourful sunset, so I took my camera for a walk along the shore in good time and was not disappointed. I felt the fishermen digging for bait at low tide added to the images.
Another view of Tuesday evening's sunset on Maryport beach
Bait diggers at sunset
It seems as though we’ve had several seasons in one week with periods of strong wind and rain separated by one day of wall-to-wall sunshine and higher temperatures than we would normally expect in October.
Saturday started dry and bright despite the sky being pale grey rather than the blue we’d been hoping for.
A grey but calm start to the day at Maryport Marina on Saturday
It was relatively calm first thing, but the wind got up as the day went on and the sun came out to give a sunny but cool day. The top temperature recorded locally was 10.9C (52F) and the top average wind speed was 16mph (14 knots).
Sunday started dry and bright but very breezy. The wind became stronger and it started spitting with rain around lunchtime. This turned into heavy rain a couple of hours later. The top temperature was 11.2C (52F) and the top average wind speed was 29mph (25 knots), gusting 41mph (36 knots).
Soggy Sunday at Maryport Marina
Overnight Sunday into Monday was a very windy night with average wind speeds peaking at 28mph (24 knots) and gusting to 38mph (33 knots).
It was also a relatively warm night with temperatures higher than they'd been during the previous day at 12-12.9C (54-55F).
We awoke to a dry, bright and still very windy start to the day on Monday. It was mainly cloudy with the sun attempting to break through around lunchtime but without much success.
The top average wind speed was 26mph (23 knots), gusting to 37mph (32 knots) and the highest temperature recorded locally was 13.9C (57F).
Monday night into Tuesday was another very windy night with average wind speeds up to 30mph (26 knots), gusting 44mph (38 knots). The temperature was 13C (55F) and above for most of the night.
It was sunny but still very windy on Tuesday morning. The top average wind speed during the day was 33mph (29 knots), gusting 46mph (40 knots), and the temperature reached 14C (57F).
Sun breaking through the clouds at Maryport Marina on Tuesday morning
We had a dry, sunny, calm start to the day on Wednesday and it got warmer as the day went on peaking at 20.7C (69F) at around 3pm.
The average wind speed was still under 9mph at the time the marina gate opened shortly after 10.30am.
Calm water at Maryport Marina early on Wednesday morning
The wind got up a bit while we were out on the water, but it wasn’t too bad despite the average wind speeds recorded at St Bees Head – the nearest weather station to us - of 24mph (21 knots), gusting 37mph (32 knots).
Yesterday (Thursday) started cloudy but bright with rain arriving around lunchtime. The previous night was warmer than the day with temperatures up to 18.5C (65F) during the night while the highest daytime temperature was only 16.4C (61.5F).
Maryport Marina before the rain arrived yesterday (Thursday)
The top average wind speed at St Bees Head was 32mph (28 knots), gusting 48mph (42 knots), but it was nowhere near as windy here. It started raining during the afternoon and kept it up for the rest of the day.
And today (Friday) Storm Callum arrived bringing with it strong winds and the start of a spell of heavy and persistent rain.
The highest average wind speed recorded at St Bees Head so far today was 46mph, gusting 62mph, at 7am.
Wet and windy weather at Maryport Marina today (Friday)
The highest average wind speed recorded at St Bees Head so far today was 46mph, gusting 62mph, at 7am.
The Met Office’s severe weather warning for wind is due to continue until 11.59pm this evening and the yellow warning for heavy rain runs until 11.59pm tomorrow (Saturday) so there's a lot more to come before it's done.