Staff fitting the new gate cable at Maryport Marina
The marina’s sea gate was fixed this morning so our Neptunus 133 motor cruiser should now remain afloat at low tide again.
The cable on the gate that holds water in Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK, snapped a month ago today (Friday). Since then, the marina has drained down every time the tide went out.
Marina staff replaced the cable this week and divers checked the hinges and attached the new cable to the gate this morning.
We also took Ravensdale out on the Solway Firth on Monday which gave us a chance to try out our new VHF aerial.
And Ruby found herself a proper staffie stick 😊
The new cable arrived at the marina on Tuesday
The new cable for the marina’s sea gate arrived Tuesday lunchtime.
Marina staff fitting the new cable
This work was carried out around low tide this morning (Friday) so the gate should now keep water in the marina again when the tide goes out this evening.
The previous cable snapped on June 19, which meant it was no longer possible to close the gate to maintain a good depth of water in the marina.
It will be good to have water back in the marina again after a month of Ravensdale sinking down into the mud every time the tide went out.
Her mud baths don’t seem to have caused her any problems, but she sometimes settled further from our boarding steps than we would've liked.
If we were around when the water level started to drop, we pulled her in to bring her closer to the pontoon then slackened the ropes off again when she’d settled. However, if we were off the boat or she went down into the mud at night, we just had to accept where she ended up.
Also, the ramp to the marina facilities became very steep at low tide.
And it seemed decidedly weird when Ravensdale was static for a good part of the day, rather than floating, so it will be really nice to get back to our life afloat.
The dive team that came to fix the cable this morning (Friday)
A closer view of the dive boat
Ravensdale out on the water
We considered going over to the Isle of Man for a few days when we saw the weather forecast was good from Saturday to Tuesday inclusive.
At that stage, the weather was due to break on Wednesday.
However, by Saturday morning, the forecast for Tuesday was less good so we decided to wait for a longer period of good weather as it is almost 50 nautical miles from Maryport, and we’d rather go when we will be able to spend a bit longer there.
Meanwhile, we decided to take Ravensdale out on a little fishing trip on Monday.
It also gave us an opportunity to test our new VHF aerial.
We left the marina at around 9.20am and headed straight out across the Solway Firth from towards Three Fathoms Bank, which is 5.5 nautical miles from Maryport.
Ravensdale leaving Maryport
The further we got from Maryport, the choppier the water became and, when we were about four miles out, we decided it was going to be too bumpy to sit comfortably at anchor so we turned back and headed for the area of Allonby Bay where we’d had some good cod the previous week.
Ravensdale on the way to Allonby Bay
We dropped anchor and Phil set up four fishing rods.
The best cod Phil caught on this trip
He soon caught a reasonable cod and we were hoping we were in for another good catch, then something strange happened.
As he was pulling in the next codling, we could see that it was being chased by a tope, which is a member of the shark family.
The tope chasing the cod Phil had hooked
And, as he lifted it out of the water, the tope bit off and disappeared with most of the codling leaving just the head and a small section of the body hanging on the hook.
The remains of the cod that was attacked by a tope
It was a bit gruesome, but it just goes to show how sharp their teeth are.
This happened again a bit later one. This time it was a slightly smaller codling and all that was left of it was the head.
Phil also caught a codling that was too small to keep and was returned to the water and a few dogfish and he had several good bites from fish that got away before he could get them to the boat.
Phil setting up one of his fishing rods watched by Ruby
And he was pleased to catch a tope, even if it wasn't the biggest he's ever caught.
Phil with the tope he caught on this trip
Fishing aside, it was a beautiful day to be out on the water – warm and sunny with a light wind that made sitting out on deck more comfortable than it would’ve been without the breeze.
Ravensdale returning to Maryport
We returned to the marina soon after 1.30pm after more than four hours out on the water during which time we’d travelled 10.9nm.
So, we may not have made it to the Isle of Man or even to Three Fathoms Bank this time, but at least we’d given Ravensdale a good run.
Turning back also meant we discovered that 1,300 revs gave us eight knots against the tide and 11 knots with the tide.
And our new VHF aerial worked well. We were told that our transmissions were clear, as were the messages we received, so we now know our communications are in good order again.
We later discovered that one of the other berth holders here had taken a couple of photos of Ravensdale while we were out on the water. Thanks Alan! 😊
Ravensdale out on the Solway Firth
Replacing exhaust cover screws
Phil putting sealant into screw holes in the exhaust cover before replacing the screws
Phil was pleased to get a job done this week that he'd been meaning to do for more than two years.
Last time Ravensdale was lifted out of the water and then back in again in the marina’s boat hoist, the straps lifted the exhaust cover on her starboard side. This dislodged two of the screws holding it in place and carbon has been escaping around them when the engines are running ever since.
At the weekend, Phil got our dinghy out and paddled around to the starboard exhaust cover.
Using a rope to hold the dinghy in place, he removed the damaged screws, filled the holes with white sealant and replaced the screws.
He had already removed the carbon when he cleaned that side of the hull while checking the damage caused by the recent rock-throwing incident.
And we were delighted to see that no carbon escaped around the screws on our latest outing.
Ruby of Ravensdale
Ruby on lookout duties on Ravensdale's aft deck
Ruby leads the way up the overgrown path up Mote Hill
What I hadn’t realised was just how overgrown the path would be as last time I went up there it was clear.
Once we reached the top, I took her to the highest viewing area so she could look out over Maryport and I wanted to get a photo of her up there. Thankfully, before Ruby went in there, I noticed that someone had left broken glass all over the ground, so I immediately called her back.
We then walked back along the main road at rush hour.
It was very busy with both people and traffic and she was really well behaved, so I was very proud of her.
Another thing that Ruby’s started doing that I’m really pleased about is sitting, without being told to sit, when we reach the edge of a pavement.
Since she was very small, we’ve been telling her to sit before crossing roads and she seems to have got the message as, the minute we stop at the edge of the pavement, she sits then looks up at us for praise and/or a treat.
It doesn’t happen every time as she’s still quite easily distracted by people and other dogs, but I think we’re getting there 😊
Ruby chilling out in her life jacket in Ravensdale's saloon
Ruby was very chilled when I put her life jacket on her while we were out on the Solway Firth in Ravensdale again on Monday.
She really has accepted trips out on the boat and wearing her life jacket as part of her normal life now, which is good because that’s exactly what they are 😊
Ruby making herself comfortable in the saloon while Ravensdale was out on the Solway Firth
Ruby found herself a proper staffie stick while she was out for a walk with Phil and I on Wednesday morning.
It looked more like a lump of fence post and I really thought it would be too heavy and chunky for her to carry around, but she brought it with us for at least half of her walk before she decided to dump it.
Ruby with her staffie stick
The worst thing when she’s carrying a stick is when she runs past us and catches the back of our legs with it, especially when wearing shorts. Ouch!
And I was even less impressed when she found a rotting dead dogfish in the long grass and ran off with it, totally refusing to bring it back to me and swap it for a treat. I wasn't at all surprised as I'm sure dead dogfish was far more interesting.
I eventually got her to bring it to me by sounding really interested in what she'd found then managed to retrieve about two-thirds of it, half of which she'd apparently swallowed whole ☹
I quite expected the rest to return later but it never did.
Ruby with her new red Kong ball
Meanwhile, her latest favourite toy is her new red Kong ball, which she uses to get us to play her version of fetch. This involves her dropping the ball down the steps from the saloon into the galley, so we have to get it and give or throw it back to her.
It turns out we’re better at playing fetch than she is as she’s great at running after it and finding it but rubbish at bringing it back 😊
Ruby trying to persuade Phil to play ball with her
Where’s our washing?
I totally forgot that I’d done the laundry on Friday until we were just about to go bed at around midnight.
I couldn’t find the towel I wanted then realised that I had left all the washing in the tumble drier in the marina’s launderette.
I always set alarms on my phone to remind me to go up and move our laundry from the washing machine to the tumble drier and then another for just before the drier is due to finish, so I don’t forget to collect it.
Well, this time I did – forget to collect it, I mean 😊
I remember the alarm going off while I was in the middle of doing something on Ravensdale, so I decided to go and collect the washing as soon as I’d finished doing whatever I was doing (I’ve forgotten what that was now too – guess it must be an age thing 😊)
Having realised my mistake, I decided it just had to be collected before we went to bed so we both went up to the launderette to fold it all up and bring it back to the boat.
Unsurprisingly, I didn’t bother putting it all away until the following morning.
The biggest joke was that I hadn’t even intended to do the laundry until Saturday.
I decided to do it on Friday afternoon instead because we were considering going over to the Isle of Man for a few days and I wanted to make sure everything was clean to take away with us.
If I hadn’t remembered the washing late on Friday night and we’d gone away on Saturday morning, we would’ve gone without all our clean clothes, etc., which would’ve been a total pain.
The cygnet waiting for food near Ravensdale
We hadn’t seen any swans in the marina for weeks when one of last year’s cygnets turned up on Tuesday evening.
I fed it and it was either still here or back again on Wednesday morning looking for food. It was in the marina again yesterday (Thursday) so I’m wondering if it’s going to become a more regular visitor again.
The larger heron fishing in the marina
One of the two smaller herons fishing at the bottom of the slipway
There is usually only one heron fishing there and two looked a good bit smaller so we’re thinking that the regular heron may have young. I only managed to get a photo of one of the smaller herons as the other one flew away.
Another shot of the larger heron
Polar Bound at marina boatyard
Polar Bound on the boatyard hoist
An unusual and interesting boat is currently undergoing work at the boatyard next to the marina.
Polar Bound arrived while we were out on the Solway Firth on Monday, so I didn’t get a chance to photograph it passing Ravensdale.
But I’ve been up to have a look at the 48-foot aluminium motorboat on the hoist at Bollard Proof (formerly MPM North West).
She belongs to David Scott Cowper, a British yachtsman who was the first man to sail solo around the world in both directions.
He was also the first to successfully sail around the world via the Northwest Passage single-handed.
Polar Bound is shaped like an egg and reinforced to ensure she won’t crack under the pressure of 65 tonnes of ice.
She’s also well insulated to enable Cowper to survive the extremely cold temperatures he encounters on his Arctic voyages.
Another view of Polar Bound on the boat hoist
I have taken literally hundreds of photos this week, most of which were of Maryport Carnival on Saturday.
I got home to discover that I had more than 800 photos to go through, which was a pretty painful experience with my bad arm.
I finished sorting through them and processing them the following day then took a load more photos while out on the Solway Firth on Ravensdale the following day.
Gang Warily on the Solway Firth
Commercial fishing boat Our James returning to Maryport
Raingoose on the Solway Firth
Mistral and Raingoose by part of Robin Rigg Wind Farm on the Solway Firth
Charter fishing boat Venture West on the Solway Firth
Maryport from the Solway Firth
Another view of Maryport from the Solway Firth
I took my camera for a walk around the harbour and up to town yesterday (Thursday) afternoon.
The River Ellen from The Settlement in Maryport
Looking out towards the Solway Firth from The Settlement
Colourful fishing boats in Maryport Harbour
Jean Paul in Maryport Harbour
This week’s topic for the Practical Photographer magazine 52-week challenge was “phone photo” so I’ve been trying to get a decent photo on my mobile phone.
I didn’t have my camera with me on Tuesday when I saw Jean Paul, one of the local boats, being towed back into the harbour by a Maryport fishing boat, so I took a few snaps of that with my phone.
Jean Paul being towed back to Maryport by Solway Prospector
Another view of Jean Paul being towed back to Maryport
And, on Tuesday evening, I took this photo of sunset at the marina with my phone camera. The quality isn’t great, but I quite liked it anyway.
Phone photo of Maryport Marina after sunset
Taking more photos with my mobile this week has made me think that it must be time to upgrade my phone and, this time, I’m determined to get one with a decent camera.
And I almost forgot to include this photo of me that was taken by a friend during the carnival. Thanks Roy! 😊
Me and my camera at the carnival
Beautiful summer weather at Maryport at the start of this week.
The first half of this week was warm, dry, sunny and relatively calm.
But the weather took a turn for the worse on Wednesday with wind and heavy rain.
Saturday was dry, warm and sunny with a top temperature of 19C (66F) and a top average wind speed of 14mph.
Sunday was another dry and sunny day with a little cloud around lunchtime. The temperature reached 18C (64F) and the top average wind speed was 8mph but it was much calmer in the evening.
Calm conditions on Sunday evening at Maryport Marina
It was warm, dry, sunny and calm on Monday morning with a little more wind during the afternoon.
The top temperature was 19C (66F) and the top average wind speed was 15mph at St Bees Head, which is our nearest weather station.
The wind speed while we were out on the Solway Firth was 11mph-15mph at St Bees Head, but it was definitely less than that here.
Light cloud at Maryport Marina on Tuesday afternoon
Tuesday was another dry, bright, sunny day with more cloud during the afternoon. The top temperature was 19C (66F) and the top average wind speed was 13mph.
Rain through Ravensdale's windscreen on Wednesday
Wednesday was dry and breezy. We had a light rain shower in the morning and heavy rain from mid-afternoon.
The top temperature was 16C (61F) and the top average wind speed was 21mph.
Yesterday (Thursday) was cloudy and windy with a little light rain at times. The temperature reached 17C (63F) and the top average wind speed was 16mph.
And, so far today (Friday) the weather has been cloudy with outbreaks of rain.
The top temperature was 16C and the highest average wind speed at St Bees Head was 22mph, gusting 31mph, but it hasn't been anywhere near as windy as that here.