Ravensdale leaving Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK, on Tuesday morning. Photo by Glyn Jones
Ravensdale was back out on the water on Tuesday giving Ruby her first experience of a bumpy ride on the boat.
The weather forecast was for single figure wind speeds and the water in the marina was very calm, so we made a spur of the moment decision to take our Neptunus 133 out on the Solway Firth in Cumbria, UK.
It would be an understatement to say it wasn’t the most successful fishing trip ever.
But at least it gave Ravensdale’s two 300hp Volvo Penta engines a run and hopefully helped to keep her bottom clean 😊
It also gave Ruby a further insight into what her new life with us on the boat is going to be like.
Meanwhile, the marina Wi-Fi is driving me crazy again ☹
Tuesday’s fishing trip
Another photo of Ravensdale setting off from the marina on Tuesday morning by Glyn Jones
We knew Tuesday was probably going to be our only chance to take the boat out this week as a forecast of single-figure winds coincided with the roughly five hours that the marina gate would be open over the high tide.
Ravensdale heading out of the marina gate. Photo by Malcolm Keeler
However, when we got up on Tuesday morning to see that the water in the marina was almost flat calm, we changed our minds.
We knew we couldn’t be ready when the gate was due to open but weren’t too worried if we only got a couple of hours so decided to go for it anyway and rapidly prepared for the off.
Ruby was no trouble while we were packing up this time.
She seemed quite happy to go in her cage just before we set off and appeared to be totally unperturbed by the sound of Ravensdale’s engines when Phil started them up.
Ruby sitting in her cage while Ravensdale heads out onto the water
We left the marina at around 10.50am and, when we headed out between Maryport’s twin piers, we discovered that the water was a lot choppier than we’d expected.
Ravensdale on the way down to North Workington
We motored down to north Workington where we dropped Ravensdale’s anchor in about 5.8 metres of water.
Phil set up his two uptide fishing rods on the aft deck and I poured us a cup of tea before I let Ruby out of her cage and put her lifejacket on her.
I then took her out onto the aft deck on her lead so she could see what was going on.
Ruby wearing her lifejacket on Ravensdale's aft deck
As on the last trip, she was initially more interested in Phil’s fishing bait, but she also had a good look around.
Ruby checking out Phil's fishing gear
Ruby looking at the water
I didn’t take her round onto the foredeck this time because of the motion of the boat.
After a while, she decided she wanted to go back indoors and looked so funny as she walked from the aft deck lockers to the door into the saloon staggering from side to side like a little drunken sailor 😊
Thankfully, she took it all in her stride and didn’t seem upset by the experience.
I went back inside with her, played with her for a while then cuddled her to sleep while Phil continued trying to fish.
The boat was rolling a lot and kept turning around tangling Phil’s fishing lines.
This meant there were times when we were sideways on to the tide, which never makes for a comfortable ride, and at times we ended up facing in the same direction as the tide, which never really seems to make any sense.
Phil decided to pack up his uptide rods and had a go at downtiding instead but that was no more successful, and he didn’t have a single bite – not even a dogfish, which are usually such a nuisance.
It wasn’t long before he decided to give up on fishing and to head for home.
Ravensdale heading home with Ruby safely back in her cage
We returned to the marina just after 1pm after two hours 15 minutes out on the water during which time we travelled 5.8 nautical miles, reaching a maximum speed of 10.9 knots.
When I recorded our time at sea on our return, I realised it had been the 40th time we’d taken Ravensdale out on the water taking our total number of hours at sea on her to almost 160.
I was also pleased to discover that other people had taken photos of us leaving the marina and heading out onto the Solway Firth that morning.
That said, I'm definitely not showing my best side in my favourite photo of Ravensdale from this outing - check out the image at the top of this blog post and you'll see what I mean (I was stowing the stern rope at the time) 😊
Phil steering Ravensdale out of the marina. Photo by Glyn Jones
Me checking my camera as we left the marina. Photo by Glyn Jones
Our Vodafone Wi-Fi box
When it seemed that it couldn’t be fixed, we decided we had to try to deal with the problem ourselves.
So, we went to the nearest Vodafone shop and signed up for a 12-month contract for 50MB of Wi-Fi a month.
The Vodafone Wi-Fi worked well, but we quickly realised that 50MB was not going to last the month, especially as we like watching Netflix.
A couple of months later, we thought we’d made a mistake as the marina Wi-Fi was working well again.
And we were a little bit annoyed that we’d signed up for a 12-month contract.
Results for speed check on Wednesday
This worked fine, but we were hardly using the Vodafone Wi-Fi box…until recently.
The marina Wi-Fi has become a problem again so we're relying fairly heavily on our Vodafone connection, so much so that we're getting concerned that our 50MB will run out before the end of the month.
Broadband speed tests on the marina signal over the past week have given readings of 2.88 – 8.83 mbps for downloads and 0.18 – 0.78 mbps for uploads.
We’re really hoping the marina signal will improve soon.
Until then, we’re having to be a bit more careful with the amount of time we spend online.
Phil cutting a batten to support the shelves in the galley cupboard
The cupboard is now being put to good use
So, I was delighted when we gained an extra cupboard this week.
A couple of weeks ago, we bought a new pedal bin that we put in the forward cabin, which is usually used as a storage cupboard rather than a bedroom.
And, this week, we bought some MDF and he put a floor and a shelf in the cupboard, which is now used for storing our slow cooker, which was previously dumped in the forward cabin when not in use.
It has also provided space for the Karcher window vacuum, the handheld rechargeable vacuum cleaner, spare kitchen rolls and washing liquid and fabric softener.
It’s great being able to get to all these things more easily so I’m very pleased with this latest little project.
Ravensdale on Saturday morning when there was ice on the surface of the water
After reading my last blog in which I mentioned how cold it had been onboard when our heating broke down in January 2017, a local Facebook friend sent me a lovely message.
She said they had a spare bed and that Phil and I (and Ruby) were welcome to stay with them if anything like that ever happened again.
She also said we could take advantage of their spare room if it was too windy to stay onboard.
I thanked her profusely for her kind offer and told her I hoped that situation would never arise.
I really do hope we will never need to take her up on this, but it was lovely to be asked.
I’ve said it before, and will no doubt say it again – Maryport folk are some of the nicest we've come across anywhere we've ever lived.
It was fate that brought us here as we'd never heard of the town until we bought our boat, which just happened to be here, but I’m so pleased we found this place 😊
Ruby relaxing on Ravensdale
Our Staffordshire bull terrier puppy, Ruby, who will be 15 weeks old on Sunday, has been with us for nearly seven weeks now and I really can’t imagine life without her.
We’ve had puppies before, but Ruby is our first staffie and she is totally different to our previous dogs.
She is very sweet-natured and a real character.
Ruby with her favourite cuddly toy that I've already had to repair many times
She is also a little monkey and destroyed her first bed, so we had to go and buy her a new one last weekend.
The remains of Ruby's bed after she ripped and chewed the bottom out of it
Ruby looking cosy in her new bed
Great offer on this online dog bed 😊
We considered buying one online but decided it was going to be better to buy it locally so we could replace it sooner.
One thing’s for sure, we wouldn’t have bought this one from Amazon, even if it was supposed to be a bargain at a 1p reduction on the normal price of £19.99, which didn’t sound like much of a bargain to me 😊
It also amused me that the only suitable bed that would fit in her cage in the local shop we went to was called the “Ruby dog bed”, which seemed more than a little appropriate 😊
Sadly, poor little Ruby was a bit under the weather last weekend after we gave her a worming tablet on Friday night.
She developed a bad tummy, so we fed her on rice and chicken all day on Saturday and it soon cleared up.
Meanwhile, she has been enjoying her walks
She loves running on the sand but is less keen on getting her feet wet and asked to be picked up when a tiny wave almost reached her on yesterday’s walk.
Me giving Ruby a stroke on the beach
Ruby trotting along beside me on the wet sand at Maryport
Ruby reflected in the wet sand
Phil and Ruby on the shore at low tide
Ruby playing with her ball on the beach
Phil holding Ruby after she asked to be picked up when a wave almost reached her
We saw an incredible sight when the water in the marina was covered with ice at the weekend.
I was making the bed and Phil was about to take Ruby out for a walk first thing on Sunday morning when he called me up to the saloon.
“Come quick. You’ve got to see this,” he shouted.
I dived up the steps from the aft cabin as it sounded like something I wouldn’t want to miss, and I was right.
A large, silver-coloured fish was thrashing around on the surface of the ice with seagulls circling overhead.
We decided that the fish must have jumped out of a hole in the ice and couldn’t get back in again.
Sadly, neither of us managed to get a photo of it as it disappeared while we were grabbing our cameras.
So, we don’t know whether the birds got it or it managed to find its way back into the water.
Meanwhile, it seemed the swan family had stopped visiting as we hadn’t seen them for well over a week.
The cygnets looking for food near Ravensdale
I was beginning to think they'd stopped coming because they didn’t like Ruby as they hiss at her, but they were back on Tuesday afternoon calling for food.
The cygnets look to be fully grown now and have quite a lot of white feathers.
I guess it won’t be that long before their parents throw them out and tell them it’s time to fend for themselves.
The swan family feeding near Ravensdale
And Phil spotted the kingfisher by the marina gate as we left to go out onto the Solway Firth on Tuesday.
Again, there was no chance to get a photograph but it’s good to know it’s still around.
Windfarm boat repairs
MV Achiever at Maryport Marina
A wind farm boat called MV Achiever has been undergoing repairs in the marina this week after a collision with a wind turbine.
She was supposed to be going up on the slipway on Saturday, but staff from the MPM North West boat yard next to the marina managed to carry out the work while she was in the water and she left on the evening tide on Monday.
Final repairs being carried out before MV Achiever left the marina
While she was moored on the harbour wall down by the sea gate it looked as though the boats at that end were all colour coordinated as there were already three red boats in that area 😊
Colour coordinated boats at Maryport Marina with MV Achiever in the distance
Our trip out on the Solway Firth on Tuesday gave me the opportunity to take photos of Maryport from the water, which always provides a different perspective on the town. I was particularly pleased with the mono image below.
Maryport from the Solway Firth
Another view of Maryport from the water
Cormorants on a navigation mark in the Solway Firth
The entrance to Maryport basin from the Solway Firth
Maryport's old lighthouse at the entrance to the basin
And I’ve taken my camera along while out for walks both with and without Ruby on most days this week.
Last Friday, I took photos of the snow at the harbour during the morning. I also took a few close-up shots for a change.
Colourful fishing boats in Maryport Harbour with a dusting of snow
Close up of mooring ropes in the harbour
Close up of ropes on a fishing boat
An old pallet in the harbour with a thin covering of snow
The frayed end of a bright blue mooring rope
I took further photos during a walk along the shore with Ruby in the afternoon but for a change they were all looking inland.
The Settlement at Maryport from the coastal walk to Flimby
The housing development around Maryport Harbour from the path along the sea wall
And I grabbed a few shots of the harbour at sundown on my way over to the fish and chip shop to buy a chippy supper.
Sunset at Maryport Harbour at low tide
Saturday was another bright, cold day so I just had to take some more photos of ice on the water in the marina.
Ice on the water at Maryport Marina
Another view of ice on the water at Maryport Marina
On Monday, I photographed reflections in the wet sand on the beach during Ruby’s walk along the shore in the afternoon.
Reflections in the wet sand on Maryport beach
Maryport pier at low tide
And yesterday (Thursday), I took photos during two walks along the shore – one with and one without Ruby as we have to be careful not to over exercise her while she’s so young.
An old groyne on the beach at Maryport
Maryport pier on a sunny day
Another view of Maryport pier on the same day
Sunset over the Solway Firth
The cold weather that had been affecting this part of the UK last week continued into the weekend.
It then became milder bringing wet and windy conditions for the rest of the week and the arrival of Storm Erik today (Friday).
Friday night into Saturday was a cold night with the temperature falling to -1.1C (30F).
We awoke to a cold, bright morning on Saturday with ice on the water and frost on untreated pontoons. The ice was making a lot of noise scraping against Ravensdale’s hull as the tide came in.
Ice on Maryport Marina on Saturday morning
There was bit of cloud first thing. This soon cleared to give us clear blue skies and bright winter sunshine.
The top temperature was 3.3C (38F) and the top average wind speed was 16mph.
Overnight Saturday/Sunday was another cold night, with the temperature falling to -2C (28F).
Sunday started cold and bright with ice on the marina.
The cloud thickened and it started raining mid-morning. The rain then continued for most of the day.
It was breezy first thing and the wind increased as the day went on. The temperature reached 5.9C (43F) and the top average wind speed was 25mph, gusting 33mph.
Sunday night into Monday was very wet and windy with a top average wind speed of 29mph, gusting 41mph.
It was a mild night compared to previous nights with the temperature only falling to 5.9C (43F).
The rain had stopped by the morning, but it was still pretty breezy.
Monday was a dry, bright day with a top temperature of 6.5C (44F). The top average wind speed was 25mph, gusting 34mph at 9am but the wind dropped off during the day to just 5mph at 6pm.
Blue sky and sunshine at Maryport Marina on Monday
It was overcast but calm first thing on Tuesday morning.
The wind speed and the temperature increased as the day went on and it started to rain around lunchtime.
The temperature at 8am was 3.1C (38F), rising to 7C (45F) by 6pm.
The average wind speed at 8am was 15mph at St Bees Head increasing to 28mph, gusting 39mph, at 6pm.
A heavy sky over Maryport as we headed out onto the Solway Firth on Tuesday morning
Weather data for St Bees shows the average wind speed to have been 23-26mph, gusting 34mph, while we were out on the water, but it was nowhere near as windy as that here.
Wednesday was grey and windy from the start with rain arriving around lunchtime. We then had very heavy showers of rain and hailstones.
Wet weather at Maryport Marina on Wednesday
The weather brightened up during the afternoon, but it stayed fairly windy.
The temperature reached 7.3C (45F), with a top average wind speed of 23mph, gusting 33mph.
Yesterday (Thursday) was windy and cloudy with more sunshine as the day went on. The top temperature was 6.5C (44F) and the top average wind speed was 25mph, gusting 38mph.
Sunny but windy at Maryport Marina yesterday (Thursday)
And, first thing this morning (Friday), the weather was very wet and very windy as Storm Erik started to make its presence known. The rain stopped during the morning but the wind continued with a vengance.
Waves whipped up by high winds on Maryport shore at high tide today (Friday)
The top average wind speed so far was 36mph, gusting 54mph, but we're expecting higher wind speeds overnight tonight and tomorrow (Saturday). The highest temperature recorded today was 8.8C (48F).