Ruby keeps a lookout while Phil removes the dirty dodgers for cleaning
The past week has been mainly about maintenance and cleaning as it was yet another week in which Ravensdale didn’t leave the marina due to the weather.
Sadly, we missed an opportunity to take our 43ft Neptunus 133 motor cruiser out on the Solway Firth in Cumbria, UK, on Monday as, for once, the weather was actually better than the forecast.
By the time we realised that it was staying calm enough to go out, it was too late to get sorted to go. Oh well, as Phil always says, it just means we’ve saved the diesel for another day 😊
Meanwhile, Ruby can now get on the boat without any assistance from us.
Ruby climbing the steps to board Ravensdale
Yesterday (Thursday) was the first time she had climbed our boarding steps and jumped on board without any help or encouragement and she has done it every time she has got back on the boat since.
Phil scrubbing Ravensdale's dodgers on the pontoon
This morning (Friday) Phil removed the dodgers from around Ravensdale’s aft deck to clean them.
They’re supposed to be dark blue but were turning green so were definitely in need of a spring clean.
Before cutting the cable ties that held them in place, he sorted through the hundreds of cable ties we have on board to see if he had any of the correct size. As usual, the answer was no, or rather not enough.
Ruby wondering where the dodgers have gone
Rather than paying the extortionate price charged for marine cleaning materials, we bought a bottle of concentrated awning cleaner that is sold for caravans from the local hardware shop at a cost of just £6.25 for one litre.
Ruby looked a bit confused when he removed the dodgers as it meant the deck was completely exposed and she began barking at the cygnet that she usually can’t see most of the time when she’s out on deck.
I was a bit concerned about her being out there when the dodgers were off, but she seemed pretty confident and didn’t go too close to the edges, so we just let her get on with sitting and watching.
During the past week, Phil has spent a good bit of time in Ravensdale’s engine room.
He’s working his way through all the jubilee clips down there changing all the clips that hadn’t been changed in recent months.
He also greased the throttle and gear cables on Ravensdale’s two 300hp Volvo Penta engines. My job was to operate the throttles while he was doing this to make sure they were properly coated.
The electrician fitting the new fuse
He was replacing an old type of fuse and holder for which we had no spare and we were a bit bothered that it would blow while we were at sea and we'd be unable to fix it. The old fuses are very expensive, if you can even find them.
The electrician pointed out that the old fuse was only 80A when he considered a 200A fuse was needed. He’s now going to get us two more of this particular fuse so we’ll have spares and, as he’s changed the holder, it will be a simple job to replace it when it blows.
Another task that Phil tackled this week was topping up the hydraulic fluid in Ravensdale’s trim tab system as one of the trim tabs had stopped working.
This involves lifting the mattress on our bed in the aft cabin to get to the hatch in the base of the bed that provides access to the inside of the transom, where the trim tabs are mounted.
Ruby watching Phil clean Ravensdale
And the big spring clean of Ravensdale is continuing inside and out.
Phil washed the boat, concentrating on some of the areas that needed extra attention, and he got out the carpet and upholstery cleaner to do the carpets in the saloon and galley and the saloon upholstery.
I took Ruby to the beach while he was doing this to keep her out of his way (that’s my excuse for not helping and I’m sticking to it 😊)
The dinette seating will be done on the next dry, sunny day as he puts the cushions outside to dry.
Meanwhile, I’ve started taking down and washing the curtains. I can only do a few at a time due to not having the space to dry them all at once.
Those I’ve done so far look so much better so I’m looking forward to doing the rest asap, but they will also have to wait for a good drying day as I can’t put them in the tumble drier in the marina’s launderette.
Ruby of Ravensdale
Ruby jumping onto Ravensdale from our boarding steps
I’m sure it won’t be long before she’s doing that too and then we’ll be trying to work out how to stop her jumping off when we don’t want her to 😊
She’s still teething and, at times, it’s very obvious that her teeth are a bit uncomfortable.
We found another of her puppy teeth that had fallen out and I saw two teeth coming through while I was trying to clean her teeth this week.
She loves the taste of the doggy toothpaste but is more interested in biting the toothbrush that covers my finger than in having her teeth cleaned with it.
Perhaps this will become easier when she isn’t teething.
Ruby chewing her new antler
Meanwhile, she loves the new antler we bought her at the local pet shop last weekend as chewing antlers seems to relieve her teeth and stops her wanting to chew other things that we don’t want chewed.
She already had two antlers, the first one was quite small, and she’s gnawed some of it away so it’s even smaller now.
She still chews on the second antler but likes the latest one best because it’s been cut down its length so she can scrape away the bone marrow from the inside.
Ruby playing the recorder 😊
It amused me when I saw the way she was holding it in some of the photos I took of her as it looked as though she was playing a recorder.
She’s been enjoying spending time out on deck again this week.
Ruby on Ravensdale's foredeck
When the sun comes out, she seems to find it difficult to decide whether to sunbathe indoors in comfort or to sit out on deck and watch the world go by.
Ruby sunbathing in the saloon
That said, now she’s getting bigger, she can see what’s happening on the road opposite Ravensdale from the seats in the saloon and enjoys watching the people, dogs, seagulls, etc. from the comfort of the couch 😊
Ruby watching people and birds from the couch in Ravensdale's saloon
Ruby might be growing fast but she still looks like a baby when she's getting dried after a shower.
Phil drying Ruby after her shower
Meanwhile, Phil is working hard at training her to walk on a lead as she still wants to pull or sits down and refuses to move.
Phil taking Ruby out for a training session
But, when she’s down on the beach, we let her off the lead so she can run free and enjoy all the sights and smells.
Ruby on the wet sand at low tide
Ruby on the pebbles when the tide was in at Maryport
Ruby digging for buried treasure on the beach
We only put her back on the lead when there are other people or dogs around so she doesn’t run up to them.
But some people are happy for us to let her off so she can play with their dogs.
Ruby playing with Larry the chocolate labrador on the beach
And we had some friends visiting from Scotland yesterday (Thursday) along with their Cockerpoo, called Sid.
It was the first time Ruby had met Sid and she wasn’t very sure about him being on her boat, but they had great fun running and rolling around together on the beach.
Ruby and Sid playing on the beach
To say she was tired afterwards would be an understatement. She slept most of the time after they left, only waking up to eat her dinner and to go out to do the necessary.
She still seemed pretty shattered this morning so we’re giving her a bit of a quieter day today (Friday) to recover 😊
No more power cuts
The power cuts that have been plaguing us over recent weeks at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK, seem to have stopped.
We haven’t had an outage on the shore power for almost two weeks so we’re really hoping the problem has been sorted.
The last one – or rather two – happened on Saturday March 16.
Marina caravan site
The caravan site next to Maryport Marina car park
The caravan site attached to the marina is due to open for the 2019 season on Monday.
Staff have removed the fencing across the entrance and exit and have been erecting signs numbering the pitches ready for next week.
They've also attached port and starboard navigational buoys to the fence along the side of the site between the entrance and exit, presumably to give it a nautical theme.
Navigational buoys attached to the fence around the marina's caravan site
And, a couple of weeks back, work was carried out on the site to lay new grass on some areas in preparation for the start of the season.
Workers laying turf on the caravan site last week
While I know it earns much-needed extra cash for the marina, I'm not looking forward to it opening because it means the toilets and showers will be less clean than when they’re just being used by berth holders during the winter months. This is despite staff checking and cleaning them more often.
I know there are also less berth holders around during the winter than the spring and summer, which would make a difference even if the caravan site didn’t exist.
I also know that I’m a bit spoilt because there are far fewer boat-related women using the toilet and shower block than men.
That said, Phil tells me the men's facilities are also less clean when they're being used by the caravan site customers as well as berth holders compared to the months when there are only boaters around.
Mr pigeon arriving at the hole with nesting material
The pigeons that nested in the drainage hole in the harbour wall near Ravensdale last year are back again carrying nesting material in through the opening.
This is despite the fact that their nest was washed away many times during heavy rain in 2018 meaning that they had to keep starting all over again.
The hole also disappears during spring tides when the water level rises above it.
The pigeons wondering where the hole has gone at high tide
And the pigeons sit on the top of the wall looking confused until the water drops sufficiently for them to be able to get back in again.
You would think that, by now, they would’ve learnt that it wasn’t a great place to nest, but obviously not ☹
A poor quality photo of the swans on the River Ellen this morning (I was too far away)
Meanwhile, we haven’t seen the adult swans in the marina this week, so they’re presumably busy nesting up the river, which is where I saw the pair this morning (Friday).
The lone cygnet that often turns up at Ravensdale looking for food
The two cygnets that paired up haven’t been around this week either, but the third cygnet, who’s now on his or her own (I'm not very good at telling the sex of swans), turns up at Ravensdale most days looking for food.
Silver Stream arriving at Maryport in choppy conditions
Local fisherman Tom Watson contacted me to let me know he was bringing his new boat home and asked if I could take some photos of her arriving at Maryport.
I was really pleased to be asked and happy to do it so asked him to let me know his ETA when he got closer.
He messaged with the time and I hurried around to the pier to catch the boat coming in after its voyage from Plymouth on the south coast of England.
Another view of Silver Stream approaching Maryport
By this time, the wind had got up and I got soaked by spray being blown across the pier when I walked out to the end to take the first of these photos, so I was very glad they came out OK 😊
Thankfully, I didn’t get hit by the spray on my way back along the pier so only the left leg of my jeans got wet.
I hurried back along the pier walking over the wet areas as I didn’t want to slip, then jogged back to the lighthouse to get a few shots of Silver Stream entering Maryport harbour.
I was about to head home when I decided I just had to go and get a few shots of the waves crashing onto the beach while I was there.
Silver Stream entering Maryport harbour
I also took quite a few photos when I took my camera for a walk around the harbour, along the River Ellen and up over Mote Hill on Saturday.
Maryport Harbour looking across to the Aquarium
Fishing boats in Maryport Harbour
Another view of Maryport Harbour
Colourful fishing boats in the harbour at high tide
When I reached the path along the side of the river, I discovered that the flood gate had been closed due to the flood risk caused by the 9.3m (30ft 6in) high tide.
This meant I had to either walk back around the road or climb the gate. I chose the latter although regretted my decision slightly when I almost got stuck half way over. I was so glad there was no one taking photos or videoing my rather pathetic attempts at climbing the gate 😊
The junction of King Street and Shipping Brow in Maryport
The Maritime Museum in Maryport
The River Ellen in Maryport. The flood gate was closed at the far end of this path
The River Ellen from Mote Hill, Maryport
View across the harbour to the lighthouse from Mote Hill
Ravensdale at sunset on Saturday
Maryport Lighthouse at sunset on Sunday
A wider view of Maryport basin at sunset
However, on Sunday and Monday we were returning from Ruby’s beach walk around sunset, so I was able to take photos of the sun going down over the Solway Firth.
Reflections in the wet sand on Maryport beach just before sunset
Sun breaking through the clouds over the Solway Firth just before sunset
Another view of the sun going down over the Solway Firth
Clouds reflected in the wet sand on Maryport beach
The sun going down over the Solway Firth
Another view of the sun going down over the Solway Firth
And, as usual, I took more landscape photos during Ruby’s walks and this photo of Phil and Ruby waiting for the sunset.
Phil and Ruby waiting for sunset on the shore at Maryport
Waves sweeping onto the shore at Maryport
Big waves crashing onto the beach by Maryport pier
A fisherman braving windy conditions on Maryport pier
The weather had been much better this week and has felt a bit milder than previous weeks although the temperatures don’t seem to back this up.
We’ve had considerably less rain than recent weeks, but there has still been a good wind most of the time.
Saturday was dry, bright and breezy with a top temperature of 7.7C (46F) and a top average wind speed of 16mph. It was much calmer during the evening.
Blue sky and sunshine over the River Ellen in Maryport on Saturday
We had blue sky and white clouds first thing on Sunday morning, but it clouded over and the wind got up late morning. This was followed by a heavy shower mid-afternoon before the weather brightened up again.
The temperature reached 8.2C (47F), with the average wind speed peaking at 29mph, gusting 40mph.
We awoke to a clear blue sky and flat calm conditions on Monday morning.
Calm and sunny conditions at Maryport Marina on Monday morning
The cloud increased a little and a light breeze had got up by midday. This was followed by sunshine with light cloud during the afternoon.
Another view of the marina on Monday
The wind speed was forecast to increase to 10-11mph, gusting 16-18mph, while we would’ve been out on the water, which would not have been comfortable while sitting at anchor so we decided against.
As it turned out, the wind speed remained fairly low while the gate was open so we sort of wished we’d gone, but didn’t mind too much as we got other things done.
The top temperature was 9.1C (48F) and the top average wind speed was 16mph.
Tuesday was overcast but dry and breezier than the previous day with the temperature reaching 8.5C (47F) and a top average wind speed of 18mph.
Bright and breezy on the shore at Maryport on Wednesday
Wednesday was dry and bright with varying amounts of cloud and remained fairly breezy. The top temperature was 9.9C (50F) and the top average wind speed was 17mph.
Yesterday (Thursday) started bright with sunshine and light cloud first thing.
A sunny start to the day at Maryport Marina yesterday (Thursday)
The top temperature was 9.6C (49F) and the average wind speed peaked at 18mph.
And, today (Friday) the weather has been dry and bright with a good breeze. The top temperature was 8.6C (47F) and the top average wind speed was 17mph.