Ravensdale decked out ready for Christmas at Maryport Marina. Photo by Jan Fialkowski
The engine problem that developed as we tried to move Ravensdale when our marina was drained down last week is going to take a while to fix.
Meanwhile, she’s unable to leave her mooring at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK.
Ravensdale's Christmas tree
She's just a motor cruiser with a temporary problem that will be fixed asap, and she will soon be heading out of the marina’s sea gate and onto the water, which is where I’m convinced she’s at her happiest.
Last weekend, this area was battered by Storm Deirdre, which brought torrential rain and winds gusting to around 60mph giving us some rocky conditions on board. It was also pretty chilly.
I spent the early part of the week suffering from a really bad cold, which meant I didn’t feel like doing very much, but I was determined to finish putting up the decorations inside our boat to make her feel more festive.
We finished our Christmas shopping yesterday (Thursday) so we’re all sorted and ready for the big day.
And I'm very grateful to photographer friend Jan Fialkowski for the lovely photo of Ravensdale's Christmas lights that I've posted above to wish you all a very happy Christmas 😊
Work is now underway on fixing the engine problem that stopped Ravensdale from moving last week.
The exhaust elbow that had broken free from Ravensdale's port engine
Last Thursday, Phil discovered the exhaust elbow on her port engine had become detached from the flange, which is bolted to the turbocharger.
The first indication of this was that the engine was really noisy when he started it up to move our 43ft cruiser to a slightly deeper area of our marina before it was drained down for mud and silt to be cleared from the bottom of the slipway.
He then noticed that there was no water coming out of the exhaust pipe so switched the engine off and went down into the engine room to discover it was full of smoke.
Having discovered the problem, we realised we’d have to stay put and hope Ravensdale wouldn’t mind sitting in the mud when the water level dropped.
We found a local engineer who was willing to weld the exhaust for us and Phil removed it on Sunday.
He thought it was going to be a real pain to get off because it went into a rubber pipe that seemed to be really tight.
Phil using a steel bar to remove the exhaust pipe
However, he inserted a steel bar into the end that had become detached and was able to twist it around until it came loose.
Another view of Phil removing the exhaust elbow
Looking at how badly rusted the end of the pipe had become, the most surprising part is that it didn’t come away sooner, and it made us very grateful that it happened while we were in the marina rather than out on the water.
The rusty end of the exhaust pipe
Phil then removed the flange that was still attached to the turbocharger and we dropped both parts off with the engineer who is hopefully going to fix it for us.
The flange to which the exhaust pipe had been attached
As it's so close to Christmas, we told him we were in no mad rush for it as we wouldn’t be going anywhere until after New Year.
We’re just hoping it will be easy enough to repair.
Phil then plans to remove the same pipe on the starboard engine and, if necessary, take that to him for welding too.
Christmas is coming…
Ravensdale all lit up for Christmas
Over the past week, we’ve put up the rest of the decorations inside the boat.
The Christmas tree we've had in the boat for the last two Christmas fell victim to a storm just before we took the decorations down at the start of this year.
It was a small fibre optic tree leftover from the days when we lived in a house.
It was just three-foot-high and the perfect size for Ravensdale, so I was very sad when it fell over and stopped working, never to work again ☹
We were going to buy a new tree when I remembered that we had a four-foot artificial tree in storage.
Our seven-foot tree from the days when we had a large sitting room was given away to charity along with all the trimmings when we sold our house, but we kept the smaller one just in case…
I was convinced we didn’t have room for a four-foot tree as it wouldn’t fit where we've put our tree in previous years.
Ravensdale's Christmas tree in the corner of the saloon seating
However, Phil came up with the idea of removing the seat and back cushions of the corner seat in the saloon and the tree fits there perfectly.
I was really pleased that it would save us buying a new tree but less so about having to admit he’d come up with a good idea 😊
And, despite being taller, this tree appears to be sturdier so will hopefully not meet the same fate as the last one.
Well, it survived some pretty severe rocking during Storm Deirdre so I'm hoping that means it will survive whatever else the weather gods throw at us over the festive season.
We’ve also hung a rattan star with lights on it inside one of the windows on the starboard side, a candle bridge and flashing icicle lights on the inside of the port window and some of our Christmas cards are strung across the windscreen above the helm.
Lights at the window and Christmas cards across the helm
The candlebridge and icicle lights stand out agains the dark sky
There’s a Christmas table decoration on the dining table - although the candles in it will not be lit as I don’t think lighting candles on a boat is a great idea - and I’ve placed a few other ornaments in various places around the boat.
So, that’s it, Ravensdale is now ready for Christmas 😊
I hate it when I think I’m going down with something and I fight it like crazy but, despite my best efforts, it gets me anyway.
During Saturday afternoon I started to feel like I might be getting a cold.
I tried to convince myself I could fight it off, but it quickly took hold. By Sunday morning, I was in no doubt at all and, by Sunday, evening I was feeling really rough ☹
Festive lights across Ravensdale's aft deck
Me smiling again now I'm feeling better
I even went back to bed for a sleep on Tuesday afternoon and it must have helped because, I woke up on Wednesday morning feeling I’d turned the corner.
Thankfully, I was feeling considerably better by lunchtime, just in time for our Christmas dinner at the Lake District Coast Aquarium.
I’m still feeling a bit weak and feeble but should be fully recovered by Christmas.
The trouble is that Phil has now got it so I'm not very popular.
But at least he can't say I didn't give him anything for Christmas 😊
Aquarium Christmas dinner
Phil enjoying Christmas dinner at the Aquarium
The Aquarium Christmas menu
This is our third Christmas in Maryport.
The last two years we’ve said we should book for Christmas dinner at the Aquarium, next to the harbour in Maryport.
And, this year, we actually got around to doing it.
They offered an amazingly good deal – a full three-course traditional Christmas dinner plus a mince pie, coffee and a mint all for £14.95 per head.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and I joked that we didn’t need to cook a Christmas dinner on Ravensdale on Christmas Day now, but we definitely will.
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without turkey and all the trimmings 😊
I’ve probably taken fewer photos this week than during any week in the last two years, partly due to bad weather, but mainly due to feeling so unwell.
I took my camera out for a short walk along the shore, out along the pier and back along the side of the marina on Friday afternoon.
Looking back at Maryport from south pier
Maryport from the far side of the basin at low tide
Maryport Marina gate from the basin at low tide
Maryport Marina looking empty now many of the boats are out on the hard standing
A black and white conversion of one of my photos taken along the pier
A mono version of one of my photos of Maryport
Since then, I’ve really not felt up to going out very much, but will hopefully be back out there snapping away very soon 😊
Feeding time for the swan family
The swans continue to pay regular visits to Ravensdale for food and usually let us know when they arrive.
Sometimes, I can hear them crying outside the boat before I can see them and go out to find them just arriving.
Other times, they attract our attention by tapping on the boat.
Occasionally, I look out of the window to see them all lined up, waiting patiently on the opposite of the hammerhead to our boat.
The swans trying to peck food out of the cup
And, I love the way the cygnets always call out to me as I step off the boat and approach their food container.
Yes, I know, I must be a very sad person to get so much pleasure out of feeding a family of swans 😊
Storm Deirdre – the fourth named storm of the UK season – battered much of the UK on Saturday and Sunday bringing snow, freezing rain, black ice, gale force wind and torrential rain.
We were warned to expect gusts of up to 75mph but, thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as that here.
Overnight Friday into Saturday was a pretty chilly night with the temperature falling to 2.4C (36F).
Saturday started dry but overcast with a cool wind and Storm Dierdre arrived during the afternoon.
Heavy rain on Saturday afternoon
The wind strengthened as the day went on and it started raining heavily soon after lunch.
The temperature only reached 1.9C (35F) and the highest average wind speed recorded at St Bees Head, which is the nearest weather station to us, was 45mph, gusting 63mph.
Sunday was cloudy but dry with the sun breaking through the clouds at times. The temperature peaked at 6.1C (43F) and the top average wind speed was 19mph.
It rained overnight but it was dry and sunny from first thing on Monday morning. It stayed fairly bright during the morning with the cloud cover increasing as the day went on.
The top temperature was 7.3C (45F) and the top average wind speed was 25mph, gusting 36mph.
Overnight Monday into Tuesday was another very windy night with the average wind speed reaching 44mph and gusts of up to 57mph.
Wet and windy Tuesday at Maryport Marina
Tuesday was a very wet and windy day with the wind speed reducing as the day went on. The top daytime average wind speed was 43mph, gusting 62mph, at 10am.
We had a fine and dry start to the day on Wednesday, but it started to rain just after lunch. It then cleared up for a while before raining again during the evening.
The top temperature was 6.9C (44F) with the average wind speed reaching 24mph, gusting 33mph.
And yesterday (Thursday) started dry and cloudy with rain and a rainbow late morning. We then had heavy showers for the rest of the day.
A rainbow appeared near the Aquarium while we were eating Christmas dinner on Wednesday
The top temperature was 7.6C (46F) and the average wind speed peaked at 23mph with gusts of up to 30mph.
And, so far, today (Friday) the weather has been grey and damp.