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Archive of entries posted on July 2005

Seabirds Galore




Seabirds Galore

Originally uploaded by arctica.

Fair Isle lies midway between Orkney and Shetland, and is renowned for the diversity of its bird life – indigenous and migratory. The RSPB Bird Observatory offers dinner, a bar and showers for visiting yachts and, in our case an address at which mail can be collected. Of all the seabirds the puffin is the most endearing, and these chaps are typical – they can be approached to within an few feet.

A Visit from Oscar Charlie




A Visit from Oscar Charlie

Originally uploaded by arctica.

We were off Sumburgh Head, heading for Fair Isle with a following wind and lumpy sea when we were overflown by the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter. The VHF came over “Helicopter Oscar Charlie – request permission to land a winchman aboard as a training exercise”. Of course we were delighted to help and excited at the unexpected activity. We turned close hauled on the port tack and Oscar Charlie slowly closed in – with less downdraught but much more noise than expected. The high-line was lowered and hauled in, then the winchman was lowered and pulled aboard. Too noisy for speech, but thumbs-up were exchanged. All too soon the procedure was reversed and we resumed course for Fair Isle. We appreciated familiarisation with the procedure, but hope never to require the Coastguard’s services for real.

Salmon Fish Supper!




Salmon Fish Supper!

Originally uploaded by arctica.

Bad news: had to pay harbour dues at Whalsay. Good news: we were gifted a fantastic 10lb salmon – see photo.

Whalsay Regatta 2005




Whalsay Regatta 2005

Originally uploaded by arctica.

With the atypical Northerly wind continuing, we decided to go with the flow and had a great sail south west to Whalsay. Unfolded the bikes and set off round the island to see what was what. Discovered that our arrival coincided with the annual island regatta, which opened with a parade of Vikings, brass band and floats – complete with seemingly unnecessary police escort. Later youthful water bomb fights suggested earlier police presence was amusingly well judged. The ice cream van saw inexplicably roaring trade, and at 9.30pm, while Mr Whippy was queueing for the return ferry home, we gave in and had the chilliest 99s on record.

To the Out Skerries and beyond..!




To the Out Skerries and beyond..!

Originally uploaded by arctica.

Anchor dragged at midnight so we decided to head down to Lerwick even earlier than planned! Collected Innes off the ferry from Aberdeen then did battle with the northerly wind as we motored north to the Out Skerries. Saw this scallop fishing boat as we arrived – a typical local enterprise. We tied up at pier that featured a heated shower block – joy!

Plenty of Puffins at Noss




Plenty of Puffins at Noss

Originally uploaded by arctica.

Sailed down from Vassa Voe to the island of Noss – drifting en-route as we watched gannets skilfully diving for fish. Anchored in Nesti Voe and set off on foot around the island, hotly pursued by inquisitive seals. Turning a corner, we shook off the seals and stumbled upon a plethora of puffins (what is the correct collective noun for puffins?). We soon realised they were unfazed by our presence and crept closer, spending an exciting half-hour watching and photographing their comical antics. Heading back to the boat, we survived the concerted attack of a squadron of Skuas being overly protective of their young. Early start on the cards for tomorrow as we return to Lerwick to meet Innes off the ferry at 7am…

Welcome to Shetland for J and Fin




Welcome to Shetland for J and Fin

Originally uploaded by arctica.

Fin and J joined Arctica on Shetland yesterday for a week’s holiday. From balmy London to blustery Lerwick – the clean sea air offsets the appreciable drop in temperature. With the Arctic Circle just 6 degrees further North, being a bit chilly comes as no surprise! The Northerly wind has today eased to Force 5, so we decide it’s worth leaving the shelter of Lerwick harbour to head further up the coast to a more peaceful anchorage. After stocking up on generous quantities of wine and whisky (purely in the interests of warmth :-) , we motored North through Cat Firth to Vassa Voe.

Another photo of Arctica

Another photo of Arctica

Originally uploaded by arctica.

Testing again – this text and photo posted using email via Flickr.

Flickr

This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

First post – testing, testing, 123…

This is the first post on Arctica’s weblog.

Arctica - 36 foot Westerly Corsair

Arctica - 36 foot Westerly Corsair