My pathetic first attempt at rowing our dinghy 😊
I think I’m going to have to refer to our fishing trips as mini-cruises from now on.
Or, at least, until we've started catching some real fish again 😊
That said, Saturday’s fishing trip – sorry, mini-cruise – may have been a dead loss on the fishing front but it was a really lovely day to be out on the water.
And we’ve had a lot of fun this week playing with our dinghy, including my first attempt at rowing it on my own, which I was told would not have been out of place in a Carry On film 😊
Saturday’s fishing trip/mini cruise
Calm conditions in Maryport Marina, Cumbria, UK, on Saturday morning
Flat calm conditions tempted us out onto the Solway Firth in Cumbria, UK, on Saturday.
Phil had packed his fishing rods away after an unsuccessful fishing trip the previous week declaring that we wouldn’t be going fishing again until the big fish arrived in the summer.
But the weather over the Easter weekend was just too good to miss so he set up his rods again and we went over to the Aquarium to get some more bait.
While we were there, Phil joked that he might as well take the bait straight into the Aquarium and feed it to the fish in there because that was all he ever did with it when he went fishing.
We both hoped he would be wrong on Saturday’s trip and that he’d catch something worth having for the first time in weeks – make that months ☹
I packed all the loose items inside away while Phil did his preparations in the engine room and removed all but the bow and stern mooring lines, which he looped around the cleats on the pontoon so I could throw them off easily from the boat.
We put Ruby in her cage and set off shortly before midday.
Ravensdale in Maryport Basin heading out towards the Solway Firth
Ruby laying quietly in her cage as Ravensdale left the marina
We headed for a location in Allonby Bay that had been recommended to us as a good fishing spot and dropped anchor in lovely calm conditions.
Phil set up three rods while I poured us a cup of tea then let Ruby out of her cage and took her out on deck with us.
Phil setting up one of his fishing rods
Phil having a cup of tea on the flybridge while waiting for a bite
Ruby and I enjoyed sitting in the sun while Phil pulled in one dogfish after another. I lost count after a dozen.
Me enjoying the sunshine on Ravensdale's aft deck
Ruby sunbathing on the aft deck
Among the many dogfish he caught on this trip were three doubles AKA BOGOF (buy one get one free) or double trouble along with a few other names that I wouldn’t dream of repeating here 😊
Two dogfish being reeled in at the same time
It amused me when Ruby barked when she saw the tip of one of Phil’s fishing rods moving because he had a bite.
I joked that was because she knew there was a dog on the line, and she wasn’t wrong 😊
She also barked at the fenders sitting in the gunwhale on Ravensdale's port side.
Ruby barking at the fenders
We headed back to Maryport a little bit earlier than planned after Phil gave up on fishing because he was fed up with the dog-fest.
Ravensdale returning to Maryport
And, on the way back to the marina, he pushed Ravensdale a little bit harder than he’s taken her before reaching a top speed of 18.8 knots.
Phil at the helm of Ravensdale
Ravensdale doing 18.6 knots - I didn't manage to capture the 18.8 knot top speed
We returned to the marina at around 3pm after four hours and 10 minutes out on the water.
On the way back into Maryport Basin, I was surprised to see a road narrows sign floating in the water.
I know the channel in the basin is filling up with mud and therefore considerably narrower than it used to be but I don't somehow think the sign was meant to warn us of this 😊
The road sign floating in the water at the entrance to Maryport Basin
We’d previously decided that we would fill up with diesel when we got back as the cold wet weather over the winter and until recent weeks meant we’d used a lot of fuel to keep the boat warm.
The fuel berth is only a short distance from the pontoon where we’re currently moored, but it was easier to do it while returning to the marina than moving just to fill her up.
Phil topping up Ravensdale's diesel tank
We tied up at the fuel pontoon expecting to put 600 litres in but had to stop at 500 litres as the tank was full.
Testing our dinghy
Me trying to work out which oar to use to turn the dinghy around
Last week, Phil got out our dinghy, inflated it and hung it from Ravensdale’s davits.
And, last Friday, he decided to try the 2.5hp outboard we bought for the dinghy as it hadn’t been started for over a year.
He was going to put it in the barrel that the marina keeps for the purpose, but it wasn’t available, so he decided to take the dinghy for a ride around the marina.
Phil steering our dinghy past Ravensdale using the outboard
He was amazed when it started first pull.
Phil drove it around the marina then picked me up and took me for a ride.
We'd been getting on and off the dinghy from the pontoon next to Ravensdale so, when we got back, I suggested that we needed to practice doing it from Ravensdale’s bathing platform.
I tied her onto the platform and climbed onboard Ravensdale. Phil then attached the outboard to the winch on her port davit and I operated the winch from the aft deck while Phil guided the outboard onto its mounting and tied and locked it in place.
He then climbed on board and winched the dinghy back up on the davits and tied it securely in place.
On Easter Monday, there was very little wind, but we didn’t want to go fishing again so we decided to practice rowing the dinghy.
Phil rowing our dinghy down to the far end of the marina
Phil rowed it around the marina then came back for me. I put on my lifejacket thinking that he was going to take me for a ride again when he announced that I should have a go at rowing it myself.
I wasn’t convinced it was a good idea as I could see me getting stuck in the middle of the water unable to get back to the side but said I’d give it a go.
Me trying to get the dinghy heading in the right direction
I kept going around in circles despite my best attempts to get from A to B.
It was hilarious. So much so that one of the other berth holders here whose boat I passed on several occasions - not all of which were intentional - said it “looked like something out of a Carry On film” 😊
He also told me there were two things I needed to know about dinghies – that they have a mind of their own and are homicidal.
I now totally agree with him on both counts 😊
I eventually managed to get the dinghy to head in vaguely the right direction and got back to our pontoon but I’m going to need a lot more practice before I would be confident at rowing the dinghy on my own anywhere other than in our marina.
Ruby of Ravensdale
Ruby on Ravensdale
It seems impossible to believe that Ruby will be six months old on Sunday and she just keeps on growing.
When we took her to the vet for her new puppy check at eight weeks old, I asked the vet what her adult weight was likely to be and was told around 14-15kg.
A closer shot of Ruby on Ravensdale's foredeck
Well, we now know that she’s going to be considerably bigger than that as she weighs 15.8kg and is still growing rapidly.
She's been enjoying the good weather again and spent a good bit of time sunbathing on the aft deck although she does seem to have the sense to move into the shade or go indoors if it gets too hot.
I don't usually lay out on the deck but the weather was so good at the weekend that I made myself a makeshift sunbed out of one of the cushions that goes on the aft deck lockers covered with a towel and took out a cushion to put my head on.
Ruby laying in the shade while I baked in the sun
For a while, Ruby seemed happy laying nearby playing with her toys before she started trying to climb all over me. And, when I got up to go and make a coffee, I discovered that she'd nicked my sunbed before I got back. She looked so guilty that I burst out laughing and just had to take a photo before reclaiming it 😊
Ruby waiting to be kicked off my sunbed
Ruby cooling off in the saloon after deciding it was too hot out on deck
This week, we started leaving the door to Ruby’s cage open at night and when we go out during the day.
This was partly because we noticed that she likes to stretch out on the floor or seating on Ravensdale and she doesn’t have room to stretch out in her cage.
Ruby stretched out on the seating in the dinette
We also felt that we’d have to start trusting her to have the run of the boat at some stage and now seemed as good a time as any and, so far, she hasn’t let us down while she’s been alone.
We leave her cage door open so she can go in and out as she wishes, and we usually find her in her bed in the morning and often when we go out – unless the sun’s shining in which case she will be in the sunniest spot 😊
Although she’s been good indoors, outdoors is a different matter.
Ruby was in the doghouse yesterday (Thursday) after she pulled some of the black caulking out of the aft deck.
Phil went to replace it to discover that the tube we had on the boat had dried up, so he cut the tube open and found some useable caulking to repair the area that she'd stripped out.
Phil replacing the caulking that Ruby pulled out
Also, despite us keeping her on her lead during walks - rather than letting her off to run on the beach - she still keeps stopping and refusing to move, which makes it very difficult to walk her.
And, when she does walk, she pulls but I’m loath to call her back because, if she stops moving forward, she’s likely to refuse to move again.
I’m sure we’ll get there eventually but walking her is hard work at the moment.
Some of the crabs and the silver eel caught in the prawn pot
In the first few days, we caught a silver eel that was about two feet long.
And every time it has been lifted it has been full of crabs.
He catches crabs for summer fishing as they're great for catching smooth-hounds – the best thing being that the dogfish aren’t interested in them, so he doesn’t spend his whole time taking them off his hooks.
We took a few of the crabs with us when we went fishing on Saturday even though it's really too early for the smooth-hounds to be here and, as expected, caught nothing on them.
A closer view of the silver eel we found in our prawn pot
The lone cygnet waiting to be fed
The lone cygnet still comes into the marina looking for food and the pair of ducks were around again this week.
Two cygnets feeding by the slipway in Maryport Basin
I hadn’t seen the other two cygnets that seemed to have teamed up over the past week, then yesterday (Thursday) evening I saw them feeding at the bottom of the slipway in the basin.
A closer view of the two cygnets by the slipway
A trip out on Ravensdale on Saturday gave me the opportunity to take more photos of the coast from the Solway Firth and of other boats out fishing at the same time as us.
Maryport from the basin
A small fishing boat returning to Maryport from the Solway Firth
Maryport from the Solway Firth
One of the other fishing boats out in Allonby Bay on Saturday
I took my camera with me when I took Ruby for a walk around the harbour on Saturday evening and yesterday (Thursday) evening.
Fishing boats in Maryport Harbour at low tide on Saturday
Another view of Maryport Harbour at low tide
Maryport Harbour at low tide
Working fishing boat Silver Fern in Maryport Harbour
Fishing boats in Maryport Harbour yesterday (Thursday) evening
A wider view of Maryport Harbour
A closer view of some colourful fishing boats in the harbour
And there were some lovely reflections in the marina on Monday afternoon and again yesterday evening (Thursday).
Boats reflected in the still water at Maryport Marina on Monday afternoon
Boats at Maryport Marina
Another view of boats at Maryport Marina
Reflections of clouds just before sunset at Maryport Marina yesterday (Thursday) evening
More marina reflections
Another view of the marina just before sunset
A yacht passing a small fishing boat by Ravensdale
Warm, sunny, relatively calm weather meant Maryport Marina was much busier than usual over the Easter weekend.
It was lovely to see so many folks going out on or working on their boats.
And, as always, the good weather put everyone in a really good mood.
Here are some of the boats that passed Ravensdale over the bank holiday weekend.
A local returning from a fishing trip
Another fishing boat setting out from the marina
A group setting off on a fishing trip
A cruiser returning from a trip out on the Solway Firth
Another small boat heading out on a fishing trip
Harbourside caravan site
The marina caravan site full up on Good Friday
The 10-pitch caravan site run by our marina was packed over the Easter weekend.
This is great for the marina as it brings in extra cash but not so good for us berth holders as the caravaners share our facilities, which means they're much busier than before the caravan site opened.
On more than one occasion over the past weekend, I saw women waiting to use the three female showers in the toilet and shower block.
Rudolph costume on the wall by the slipway 😊
I was surprised to find what looked like a Rudolph the reindeer fancy-dress costume neatly folded up on the wall by the slipway in Maryport Basin on Tuesday evening.
I have no idea what it was doing there and can only assume that Rudolph must have gone for a swim 😊
The poor quality photo is due to me only having my phone with me and not being able to get very close so I had to zoom in, which my phone never does well.
Sunshine at Maryport Marina on Good Friday
The beautiful spring weather we’d been enjoying last week continued throughout the Easter weekend but dropped off towards the end of this week.
Last Friday was dry, warm, sunny and fairly calm with a top temperature of 19C (66F) and average wind speeds of up to 14mph.
Saturday was warm, dry and sunny with the temperature reaching 17C (63F) and a top average wind speed of 11mph.
Rape fields through the hazy sunshine on the Solway Firth on Saturday
Me enjoying the sunshine while out on the Solway Firth on Saturday
Sunday was another warm, sunny day with a bit more breeze. The top temperature was 21C (70F) and the top average wind speed was 17mph.
And Monday was yet another warm, sunny day with a top temperature of 20C (68F) and a top average wind speed of 23mph.
Hazy sunshine at Maryport Marina on Easter Monday
Tuesday was less sunny than the preceding days but was still bright despite cloudier skies. The sun came out around lunchtime to give another warm day, but it was very breezy. The temperature peaked at 22C (72F) and the top average wind speed was 18mph.
Blue sky and wall-to-wall sunshine at Maryport Marina on Tuesday afternoon
Wednesday was fairly windy and felt cooler. It remained dry and bright during the morning with light rain early evening. The top temperature was 19C (66F) and the highest average wind speed recorded locally was 17mph.
Yesterday (Thursday) started cloudy, but dry, bright and considerably cooler than recent days. The cloud increased during the afternoon with thunder, lightning and heavy rain late afternoon before the weather improved again during the evening. The temperature only reached 13C (55F) and the top average wind speed was 21mph.
Storm clouds over Maryport Marina yesterday (Thursday)
And today (Friday) the weather was grey but dry and bright first thing. It then started raining around lunchtime. The top temperature, so far, was 9C (48F) and the top average wind speed was 29mph.
By the way, the reason, I can no longer include information on the top speed of the gusts of wind each day is because the Met Office information on weather for the last 24 hours in the UK has changed and no longer provides this data.