Ravensdale leaving Maryport on Saturday afternoon
Calm, sunny weather over the Bank Holiday weekend gave us the chance to take Ravensdale out on the water twice.
Our outing on Saturday afternoon and evening was fantastic - the weather was perfect, and the fishing was good.
But Monday’s early morning fishing trip was less successful – there was very little wind, but a big swell made sitting at anchor uncomfortable, so we returned home early.
Meanwhile, we’ve got a new mobile Wi-Fi deal that gives us unlimited data for less than we were paying for 50GB so we have a reliable internet connection that we can use as often as we want 😊
And poor little Ruby has been unwell. She developed a stomach upset the night before she was due to go to the vets to be spayed.
Saturday’s trip out on Ravensdale
Phil and I leaving Maryport Marina on Ravensdale on Saturday afternoon
We were really pleased to get some calm weather last weekend after the high winds we’ve had here in Maryport in recent weeks.
And we were delighted to be able to take Ravensdale out on the Solway Firth on Saturday afternoon.
As we weren’t going out until later in the day, we had plenty of time to pop over to the Aquarium on the harbourside to buy fishing bait and for me to pack up all the stuff inside Ravensdale at a leisurely pace.
This made a nice change from all the rushing around I usually end up doing to get packed up before the marina’s sea gate opens so we can take full advantage of the four-five hour period that we can get in and out of the marina.
Ravensdale leaving Maryport Marina
We untied Ravensdale’s mooring ropes at about 4.10pm and headed out onto the Solway in lovely calm conditions.
Phil headed up to Allonby Bay to the spot that provided him with some good fishing on our last trip and we were not disappointed.
Phil baiting a hook
He set up his fishing rods and, within the first 10 minutes, he got a good bite.
He pulled in a good-sized tope. I was struggling to get the landing net under it because my right arm was hurting when I tried to reach over the side, so we swapped over and I held the rod while Phil scooped the fish up in the net.
Phil with the tope he caught on this trip
Phil had put new batteries in the digital scales he uses for fishing, but they still refused to work so we measured it instead and found it to be 1m (3ft 3ins) in length.
His next catch was a pair of mackerel, followed by a single mackerel and then five more arrived at the same time.
He then caught a codling that was large enough to keep.
Phil said he wanted a bass next, but I said we needed another codling to make a good meal and that’s exactly what we got 😊
Phil with one of the two codling he caught on this trip
He also caught three dogfish, which he could’ve done without, but at least there were only three of them.
The weather was fantastic the whole of the time we were out – sunny, warm and lovely and calm.
The Scottish hills across the calm Solway Firth
The view from Ravensdale's galley as the sun was going down
Ravensdale turned smoothly when the tide turned and Ruby and I enjoyed sitting out on the aft deck in the evening sun.
Ruby relaxing on Ravensdale's aft deck
I was watching the golden light dancing on the water as it dropped down low over the Scottish hills, but Ruby was more interested in Phil’s bait and any fish that he caught 😊
We headed home a bit earlier than the time the gate was due to close as we know it varies depending on the depth of water over the sill.
We were also aware that the gate had been opening a bit later and closing a bit earlier than expected over the previous couple of tides.
Me enjoying the evening sun on Ravensdale's aft deck on the way back to Maryport
We were back in the marina at 7.55pm after three hours 45 minutes out on the water, during which time we travelled five nautical miles.
Phil drove Ravensdale alongside her mooring really smoothly and I used our docking sticks to get the lines on and managed to get the boat perfectly lined up with our boarding steps, so no adjustments were needed when we disembarked.
We both agreed it was one of our best unaided docking procedures yet, but sadly there was no-one around to see it. Typical! ☹
Monday’s trip out on Ravensdale
Ravensdale heading towards the sea gate at Maryport Marina on Monday morning
I’d left everything packed up after Saturday’s outing as it looked likely that we’d be going again over the next couple of days.
The tide times meant we either had to go early morning or during the evening, which would mean returning home after dark. The other option was to go out before the gate shut in the morning and stay out all day, returning when it opened for the evening tide.
Neither of us really wanted to go for the full day so we decided to try an early morning trip for a change and set the alarm clock to wake us up at 5am.
Phil drove around to the pier to check the sea state. He couldn’t see much as it was still quite dark but said it didn’t look too bad next to the pier and the water in the marina was really calm, so we decided to go.
I had very little to do by way of preparations as everything was still packed up, so I took Ruby for a quick walk then made a flask of tea to take with us while Phil sorted the mooring ropes and the engine room.
Ravensdale in Maryport Basin on our way out onto the Solway Firth - taken from the flybridge
We left the marina at around 6.15am and headed to the spot in Allonby Bay where Phil had done so well on the previous trip.
We could see there was a good swell, but it wasn’t a problem while we were underway.
However, it was more noticeable at anchor.
Phil set up his rods then came in for breakfast.
Phil setting up one of his fishing rods on Ravensdale's aft deck
When we went back outside, the boat was rolling so much that we couldn’t even tell whether he had a bite as it was impossible to see whether the tips of the rods were moving due to fishes or because the boat was moving around so much.
He sat it out for a while and caught one dogfish. He didn’t bother to set that rod up again and, soon afterwards, he decided to reel the other one in and head for home.
The calm water in Maryport Marina on our return
We were back in the marina at 8.10am after just under two hours out on the water during which time we travelled five nautical miles.
And it was weird to see just how calm the water was in the marina when we returned given what we had just experienced out on the Solway Firth.
Our new mobile Wi-Fi router
We were discussing our Wi-Fi problems with my oldest son, Ed, when he and his lovely family came to visit us in April.
I didn’t think any more of it until he messaged me last week to say that they’d switched to Smarty for their home Wi-Fi and suggested it could be a good option for us.
We took out a 12-month contract with Vodafone for mobile Wi-Fi a year ago because the marina Wi-Fi here in Maryport, Cumbria, UK, was so unreliable.
As the contract was up this month, it was the perfect time to look around and Smarty seemed to be the answer to all our Wi-Fi problems.
We were paying £25 per month for 50GB with Vodafone and some months it ran out before the end of the month, despite our only using it when the marina Wi-Fi let us down.
Smarty had a special deal on which gives us unlimited data for £18.95 a month for life, including a free month as a welcome gesture.
An example of our mobile Wi-Fi connection speeds with Smarty
The signal’s a bit variable, but most of the time it’s much better than we’ve ever had using the marina Wi-Fi and, even at its lowest, it’s still usable.
And, best of all, we can use it anywhere we have a 3G signal and as much as we like without having to worry about running out of data.
It should also mean we can watch films on Netflix without our internet connection dropping out at the most annoying moment.
In fact, it's better than we ever had when we lived in a house so it really is "life-changing" for us 😊
Ruby of Ravensdale
Ruby sitting on Ravensdale's aft deck in the hot sun just before she headed indoors to cool off
Ruby met her first ever horse on Tuesday and she was not impressed.
We’d walked around the harbour when I decided to take her across the main road and along the River Ellen.
As soon as we’d crossed the road, I saw a horse pulling a caravan coming towards us.
I didn’t have my camera with me, so I tried to take a few snaps with my phone but had to stop because Ruby was going crazy.
The horse that gave poor Ruby a scare
She looked totally terrified of the horse and was trying so hard to run away that I was scared she was going to slip her collar.
There were a lot of people around and other traffic on the road, so I crouched down with her, got hold of her collar as well as the lead and just cuddled her until she calmed down and we continued our walk.
We had to take Ruby back to the vet on Tuesday to complete the treatment for her ear infection, which now seems to have cleared up.
The vet also confirmed that the ear had healed sufficiently for them to be able to go ahead with spaying Ruby yesterday (Thursday).
Ruby all tucked up in a blanket and feeling sorry for herself after being ill in the night
However, she developed a tummy upset on Wednesday evening and was very unwell overnight so I called the vet yesterday morning and was told they would put off her operation until next Thursday. So, fingers crossed she’ll be OK then.
Phil and Ruby by Maryport Lighthouse
Phil clipping Ruby's lead onto her collar as she looks out to sea
Ruby sitting in the long grass by the lighthouse with Maryport Basin and the marina in the background
Ruby by the River Ellen in Maryport
Meanwhile, she’s been enjoying her walks on the footpaths along the sea wall to the lighthouse, on the beach, by the river and over the meadows and up the coastal walk towards Flimby.
Grey mullet at Maryport Marina
The swan family has been visiting us for food again this week and the grey mullet were very active in the marina during the warm, sunny weather over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Some of the flock of starlings that were feeding on the weed on the harbour wall
A more unusual sight this week, was a flock of starlings clinging to the seaweed on the harbour wall in the marina at low tide. I have no idea what they were eating but we've never seen them feeding there before.
Two more of the starlings on the harbour wall
And we came across this colourful caterpillar on a recent walk with Ruby. Fortunately, she didn't spot it or she'd probably have thought it would make a tasty snack 😊
I looked it up when we got home to discover that it was an Emperor Moth caterpillar.
A colourful Emperor Moth caterpillar
As usual, I took loads of photos while out on the Solway Firth this week, but only on our first outing on Saturday.
Maryport from the Solway Firth
Local boats out on the Solway Firth with Maryport in the background
A row of trees stand out against the northern fells
The sun going down over the Solway Firth with the Scottish hills in the distance
Another view of the sun going down over the Solway Firth
Maryport Lighthouse and the town in the evening sunshine
Yacht Cicely on the Solway Firth
Yacht Skipsea Witch on the Solway Firth
Skipsea Witch and fishing boat Argonaut with the Iggesund paperboard mill in the background
Yacht Cicely on the Solway Firth
Sadly, my camera, which has been working fine for the past week, decided to play up again as we were leaving the marina on Saturday, so I had to dive indoors and nick Phil’s.
It was cloudy and a bit misty for our early morning trip out on Monday and we didn’t stay out very long, so I didn’t take many photos and those I did take are very grey.
Maryport through a sea mist on the Solway Firth
A wider view of Maryport from the Solway Firth
I’ve been using Phil’s camera ever since and we keep meaning to have a proper look at mine to see if we need to send it off for repair, but never seem to get around to it.
I took my camera along when I took Ruby for a walk around the harbour and basin just after sunset on Saturday.
I was disappointed to have missed the sunset because we were still sorting out the boat after returning from our fishing trip but was quite happy with the images I got just after sunset.
Maryport Harbour just after sunset
View across Maryport basin to the Solway Firth just after sunset
A lovely, horse-drawn gypsy caravan with a “Climate Crisis Emergency Response Vehicle” sign on the back visited Maryport on Tuesday afternoon.
I didn’t have my camera with me when I first saw it while out walking Ruby, so I took a couple of snaps with my phone.
The Climate Crisis Emergency Response Vehicle heading into Maryport
When I got back to the marina, it was parked there so I grabbed my camera and went and took a couple of proper photos.
The same horse-drawn vehicle at Maryport Marina
Another view of the horse-drawn caravan
The Climate Change Emergency Response Vehicle leaving Maryport Marina
I then took my camera for a walk along the River Ellen, but the light wasn’t great.
The road bridge over the River Ellen at the bottom of Shipping Brow in Maryport
Wildflowers on the banks of the River Ellen
Footpath along the River Ellen at Maryport
On Sunday, I took my camera along when Phil and I took Ruby for a walk and captured some photos of Maryport Inshore Rescue team members taking part in a training exercise.
Maryport Inshore Rescue Team boat being towed around to the beach at Maryport
Another view of the rescue boat heading for the beach
Launching the rescue boat by Maryport Pier
Another view of the rescue boat being launched
The rescue boat heads out onto the Solway Firth
I also took a few shots along the paths to Maryport Lighthouse that are on one of our regular dog walks.
Dog walkers on the old railway line by Maryport Lighthouse
Looking in the opposite direction along the old railway line at Maryport
View across Maryport Marina from the walk along the old railway line
This week’s topic for the Practical Photography 52-week challenge was patterns and textures so I took lots of snaps of the light reflected on the calm surface of the Solway Firth while we were out on Ravensdale on Saturday evening.
The evening sun reflected on the Solway Firth
Light patterns on the Solway Firth
More Solway Firth reflections
Clear blue sky over the Ellenfoot Bridge across Maryport Harbour on Sunday
After more than a week of wet and windy weather, summer made a very welcome return to Maryport over the Bank Holiday weekend 😊
Sadly, normal service has since been resumed and we’re back to wet and windy weather again ☹
Saturday was dry, warm, sunny and calm all day. The temperature was 18C (64F) at 9am, rising to a high of 22C (72F) during the afternoon, and the top average wind speed was 15mph.
This was the data recorded at St Bees, which is our nearest weather station, but it was definitely warmer and less windy here.
Maryport basking in the warm glow of the evening sun on Saturday
Sunday was another dry, warm and sunny day with a top temperature of 24C (75F) and a top average wind speed was 14mph at St Bees Head.
Maryport through the sea mist early on Monday morning
Monday started grey and cloudy with a sea mist or sea fret, as they call it here 😊 The cloud thinned during the morning to give another warm sunny day.
Maryport Marina on Monday morning
Unfortunately, I totally forgot to check the Met Office website for the UK weather over the last 24 hours until late on Tuesday so I have no record of the top temperature and average wind speed on Monday, but I do know that it was a fairly calm day.
Calm conditions at Maryport Marina on Tuesday afternoon
We had a calm, dry start to the day on Tuesday. The morning was bright and sunny, but it clouded over during the afternoon with a little light rain, which soon cleared to give us a sunny evening. The top temperature was 18C (64F) and the top average wind speed was 13mph.
There was a grey start to the day on Wednesday and it started to rain around lunchtime. It was much windier than recent days with a top average wind speed of 24mph, gusting 34mph, at 8am. The temperature only reached 15C (59F).
Sea cadets canoeing in Maryport Marina on Wednesday evening
Yesterday (Thursday) was bright first thing but it soon clouded over. It stayed dry but was very windy all day. The top temperature was 16C (64F) and the top average wind speed was 29mph, gusting 39mph.
Maryport Marina yesterday (Thursday) morning
And, so far today (Friday) the weather has been very wet and very windy. The top temperature so far has been 16C (64F) and the top average wind speed was 30mph, gusting 46mph.
The view through Ravensdale's windscreen at 3pm today (Friday)