Returning home on Ravensdale
Fabulous spring-like weather encouraged us to take our floating home out onto the water on two consecutive days in the past week.
We could’ve gone again the next day but, by then, Phil had two fishing rods out of action, so we decided to give it a miss.
And, I have to confess that, much as I love taking Ravensdale out onto the Solway Firth in Cumbria, UK, I was quite happy not to go as I’d been suffering from a bad back for a few days and was grateful for the chance to have a bit of a rest.
Sadly, it seems the mild, dry, sunny, calm conditions we enjoyed the first half of the past week has come to an end and we’re expecting normal service – wet and windy weather – to return this weekend ☹
Fishing trip on Sunday
Calm, misty conditions at Maryport Marina on Sunday morning
The forecast for Sunday had been good for days but we never really believe it until we see it and, as the marina’s sea gate wasn’t due to open until lunchtime, we decided to wait until Sunday morning before deciding on whether to go out fishing.
We awoke to a lovely calm morning here at Maryport in Cumbria, UK, and the water in the marina was like glass.
Experience has shown that calm water in the marina definitely doesn’t mean it will be calm when we get out onto the Solway Firth, so we took a quick trip around to the pier to check out the sea state.
It looked fine so we went home and started preparing to take Ravensdale out as soon as possible after the gate opened.
We left the marina at about 12.45pm and headed down the coast towards Allonby Bay.
Ravensdale leaving Maryport and heading for Allonby Bay
There was a bit of sea mist about, and the water was very calm. It was also surprisingly warm for February.
Phil dropping Ravensdale's anchor
Phil baiting a hook
Phil set up his fishing rods while I sorted lunch and we ate it before I put Ruby’s life jacket on her so she could go out on deck.
Me enjoying the winter sunshine on Ravensdale's aft deck
Ruby wearing her life jacket
The mist cleared and the sun came out soon after we dropped anchor and it was warm enough to sit around outside without having to wrap up to keep warm.
Ruby wandered around quite happily and, as usual, the main attraction was the basket containing Phil’s fishing bait 😊
She was also very busy licking any fishy residue off the aft deck.
Ruby cleaning up the aft deck
Ruby keeping watch
I always keep her on a lead while we’re out on the water as I would hate her to fall off the boat.
We let her stay out until she’d had enough then I took her back indoors and played with her for a while until she climbed into her bed and fell sleep.
I then closed the door to her cage and left her to sleep in there while I went back out to have a cup of tea with Phil.
By the time I got back out there, the mist had returned, and the temperature had started to drop so we put on our jackets before we got too cold.
Phil seemed to be forever reeling in fish, but it certainly wasn’t the most successful fishing trip ever as most of the fish he caught were dogfish (I lost count of them after I reached 10 😊)
Phil landing a dogfish
He also caught a small codling and four whiting, one of which was big enough to keep. The rest of the whiting and the codling were returned to the water.
Phil with the largest whiting he caught on this trip
The small codling caught on this fishing trip
While we were out fishing, the ring on the top of one of Phil’s uptide rods cut through the line as he was casting causing him to lose most of the line and all the tackle.
This meant he was down to one uptide rod and his two downtide rods.
Phil fishing with one of his downtide rods
Ravensdale heading home
We were back in the marina at 4.40pm after three hours and 55 minutes out on the water during which time we travelled a total of 6.8 nautical miles.
Ravensdale’s top speed on this trip was 14 knots.
We usually travel at nine to 10 knots, but Phil sometimes likes to take her a little faster to give her two 300hp Volvo Penta engines a bit of a blast.
As the forecast for the following day was also very calm, I left all the loose stuff that I pack up inside Ravensdale before taking her out on the water packed away to save me having to do it again if we decided to go out again.
And, I was very glad I did…😊
Fishing trip on Monday
We awoke to another bright sunny day on Monday morning but without the mist that had made for a damp feel to the air on Sunday morning. It also felt a good bit warmer.
Before making a decision about taking Ravensdale out again, we took Ruby for a walk on the beach to see what the water was doing.
It was very calm, so we decided it was too nice not to go out fishing and started getting ready as soon as we got home.
This time, we had lunch before we went as the gate wasn’t due to open until after 1pm so lunch would’ve been rather late if we’d waited until we were at anchor.
Ravensdale leaving Maryport Marina in flat calm conditions
Ruby trying to get the bait
We stayed even closer to home this time, anchoring off Bank End Farm, where we knew another fisherman had caught some decent cod the previous day.
The water was very calm again and there was next to no wind, so the boat turned fairly smoothly as the tide turned.
Ruby spent a bit longer out on the aft deck with us while Phil was fishing.
She seems to like any spot that gives her a view of the water below us.
She also liked it when I let her sit on my lap for a while so she had a better view of our surroundings.
Ruby sitting on my lap on the aft deck
The fishing was a bit more productive than Sunday and he caught two bull huss and a whiting along with the inevitable pile of dogfish.
Phil with the whiting he caught
Unbelievably, Phil’s remaining uptide rod did exactly the same thing that had happened to the first one on Sunday and, again, he discovered that the ceramic lining in the top ring had broken leaving a sharp edge.
At this stage, he was down to his two downtide rods and decided it was time to call it a day and head home.
I told Ruby we were going home then realised we were home (yes, I talk to the dog 😊) so decided that, in future, I would have to say we were “taking our home home” 😊
Heading home to Maryport
We returned to the marina at 5.35pm after four hours out on the water, during which time we travelled 3.8 nautical miles. Our top speed for this trip was 10.2 knots.
This was our fifth time out on the water this year and the fourth outing in February so we’re not doing too badly for the time of year, especially as Ravensdale was out of action for the first couple of weeks of January while we were waiting for repairs to the exhaust elbow on her port engine.
We could've gone out again the following day as the weather was lovely and calm again but Phil wanted to fix his fishing rods and I was grateful for a day off to give my back a chance to recover.
Ruby relaxing on Ravensdale
Two trips out on Ravensdale on consecutive days should help Ruby to become more accustomed to life out on the water.
Both outings were really calm this week, but it will all help to get her used to the experience.
Ruby enjoying a stroke during a fishing trip
Phil and Ruby on the aft deck
She’s getting more confident getting around Ravensdale and much better at negotiating the interior steps.
Ruby on Ravensdale's foredeck in the marina
She happily goes up and down all the steps except the ones down into the aft cabin, which we’re not going to encourage.
She has also yet to attempt jumping off the boat onto our boarding steps or the return journey.
I’ve had a bad back this week and I think it was caused by lifting Ruby on and off the boat.
I took a couple of days off from doing it and it started to improve so hopefully I will be able to carry her again very soon as I’ve been missing all the kisses and cuddles I usually get when I pick her up 😊
Meanwhile, she’s been down to the beach for one of her daily walks every day over the past week.
The stand off - Phil waiting for Ruby to fetch the ball while she waits for him to get it 😊
Ruby gets a treat for coming back when called
Ruby sitting for a treat
And she’s met lots of people and other dogs both out on walks and around the marina.
Ruby with one of the dogs she met on the beach this week
She’s also very pleased with her new toy – the end of one of Ravensdale’s mooring ropes that had become worn and had to be cut off.
Ruby with her new favourite toy - a length of worn mooring rope
I was going to throw it away, but she spotted it and wanted to play with it, so I let her have it and it’s her new favourite toy.
I reckon playing with a length of mooring rope makes her a proper boat dog now. I just hope she doesn’t take a fancy to the ones tying Ravensdale to the pontoon 😊
The pigeon Phil tried to rescue from the marina
Phil tried to save a pigeon that ended up in the water in the marina last Friday afternoon.
I heard a splash and saw the bird flapping around in the water.
Phil asked another berth holder if he could board his boat so he could reach the bird with our landing net, but it had very obvious head injuries and was dead by the time he got it ashore.
While walking Ruby on the beach on Saturday, we came across a very friendly crow that seemed to take a liking to us.
The friendly crow on the beach at Maryport
It came in much closer than we would’ve expected, especially as we had a dog with us and seemed to want to hang around, so we tried feeding it puppy treats and it loved them.
Hopefully, Ruby didn’t notice that it was getting her treats or I’m sure that she wouldn’t have been impressed 😊
The crow with one of Ruby's puppy treats
The swans and cygnets have been visiting the marina separately this week.
We also saw the three cygnets between the piers while we were on our way out onto the Solway Firth on Ravensdale on Sunday.
There were two cygnets down on the shore on Monday morning and we saw two cygnets with the adults in the basin on our way home on Monday.
Two of the cygnets down on the shore
All three cygnets were in the marina on Tuesday morning and they took off to fly out of the marina, but one didn’t make it over the wall and ended up staying in the marina on its own until the gate opened during the afternoon.
A single cygnet, possibly the same one, was in the marina again on Wednesday and yesterday (Thursday).
And two of the three cygnets turned up looking for food this afternoon (Friday).
The lone cygnet in the marina
And, on Wednesday, we saw a sparrowhawk carrying what looked like a blackbird.
It landed in the water in the marina, presumably because the blackbird was proving rather heavy to carry. It was surrounded by gulls that were hoping to take advantage of a free meal.
It eventually flew off out of sight, still followed by the gulls so we have no idea whether they took the bird away from the sparrowhawk.
Spring cleaning the marina
Pressure washing the pontoons at Maryport Marina
A closer view of the pressure washing operation
Marina staff have been taking advantage of the good weather this week to pressure wash the pontoons.
They do it every year in preparation for the boating season and the marina certainly looks better for it, although Ruby really didn't like it when they were doing the pontoon alongside Ravensdale. She rarely barks, but she barked almost continually while the pressure washer was being operated next to our boat.
The pressure washer approaching Ravensdale
Sadly, it won’t take the seagulls, pigeons and heron long to mess it up again. In fact, the heron set about the job as soon as one of the pontoons had been cleaned.
The fisheries vessel, North Western Protector, and the range safety vessel, Triton, left on Monday because the lock gate at Whitehaven had reopened. We saw the fisheries vessel leaving while we were out on the Solway Firth.
Tinkerbell, a catamaran that had been undergoing extensive refurbishment on the hard-standing was lifted back into the water by crane on Wednesday.
Tinkerbell being lifted back into the water
She then passed Ravensdale on her way to the hammerhead at the other end of the marina where she is currently moored.
Tinkerbell passing Ravensdale on her way to her mooring
Andromeda also returned to the water on Wednesday after undergoing maintenance work on the hard-standing.
Andromeda stopping for fuel before passing Ravensdale
And Rosie Harte, a yacht moored just along the pontoon from Ravensdale, passed our boat when she was briefly moved over onto the harbour wall for work to her mast.
Rosie Harte on her way to the harbour wall
Most of my photos from this week were taken while out on the Solway Firth on Sunday and Monday.
Ravensdale's wake on a calm Solway Firth
Maryport from the Solway Firth
The sun reflecting on the water by Maryport pier
Late afternoon sun over the Solway Firth
Misty morning sunshine over Maryport from the basin
Maryport Marina sea gate from the basin
Trees on a hilltop from the Solway Firth
A small fishing boat on the Solway Firth in the late afternoon sunshine
Colourful fishing boats in Maryport Harbour
A wider view of Maryport Harbour
A dapled sky over Maryport Harbour just before sunset
Another view of the harbour just before sunset
I went down to the shore to photograph the sunset on Friday evening.
Sunset over the Solway Firth
Maryport pier at sunset
The sunset reflected in the wet sand on the shore at Maryport
A closer view of the sunset
And I just had to grab a few snaps of the daffodils growing by the River Ellen on my walk over to the nearby Lidl supermarket on Monday.
A taste of spring - daffodils by the River Ellen in Maryport
Other photos were taken during Ruby’s beach walks.
And I’ve been busy looking for suitable subjects for abstract photos this week.
A close up of part of Ravensdale's wake while travelling on the Solway Firth
Reflection of masts in the water at Maryport Marina
Blue sky and clouds reflected in the calm surface of the Solway Firth
Patterns on a wet pebble found on the beach at Maryport
I really want to try to take more of this type of photo so will try to keep this in mind whenever I’m out and about with my camera in future.
We had lovely spring-like weather for the first half of week and I was almost fooled into believing Spring had sprung 😊
Then I remembered that we live in the north of England and realised that it was a false spring which will inevitably be followed by more winter weather before the real spring arrives and, as if to prove me right, the weather soon became cooler again ☹
It seems almost impossible to believe that this photo was taken a year ago today (Friday) when the UK was in the grip of the Beast from the East.
Phil bringing us water on March 1 last year when this area was affected by the Beast from the East
Last Saturday started sunny, dry and mild but it was still fairly breezy after the windy weather we had the previous week. The sky clouded over, and it started to feel a lot cooler mid-afternoon.
Sunny but breezy on the beach at Maryport on Saturday
The top daytime temperature recorded locally was 9C (48F) with a top average wind speed of 21mph, gusting 29mph.
A misty start to the day at Maryport Marina on Sunday
Sunday was calm with a heavy sea mist during the morning. The sun came out when the mist cleared giving a top temperature of 11.9C (53F).
The top average wind speed was 19mph at St Bees Head but it was definitely much lower than that here. It was supposed to have been 8-15mph while we were out, but there was virtually no wind here.
Monday was bright, sunny and calm with the temperature reaching 12.7C (55F).
Maryport basking in the sunshine on Monday
The top average wind speed was recorded as 11mph at 5pm, but most of the time we were out on the firth it was 3-7mph at St Bees Head and probably even less than that here.
Tuesday, which was another bright, sunny, calm day, was the warmest day of the year so far.
It was also the warmest February day in the UK since records began with a temperature of 21.2C (70F) at Kew Garden in south west London.
Maryport beach on Tuesday - the warmest February day on record in the UK
The top temperature at St Bees Head was 12.9C (55F), but it was definitely warmer than that where we are.
The average wind speed peaked at 9mph, but it was just 2-3mph for most of the day.
Wednesday morning was dry, bright, sunny and very calm first thing, but the wind speed increased as the day went on and it clouded over and felt cool and damp from about 3pm.
Another sunny day on the beach in Maryport on Wednesday
The top temperature was 9.9C (50F) and the top average wind speed was 14mph.
Yesterday (Thursday) was grey and overcast but it was still very calm and stayed dry throughout the day. The temperature only reached 7.8C (46F), which felt quite cool after the previous warmer days, and the top average wind speed was 6mph.
Grey cloud on Thursday at Maryport Marina
And, so far today (Friday), the weather has been grey and cloudy again but at least it has stayed dry. The top temperature was 7.6C (48F) and the top average wind speed was 16mph.