After a blowy night we a woke to calm morning in Fair
Isle. The dock was already busy as the Good Shepherd departed for
Shetland at 7.30. We planned an early start but finally left just before nine
after a long chat with our rafting neighbour - sailing singlehanded in a
Vancouver Pilot 34. Amongst other things we learned that the great skuas
that dive-bombed us yesterday are known locally as Bonksies, and are probably
marginally less aggressive that the arctic skuas. We made our way out of
North Haven between large groups of puffins - very entertaining when they try
I had downloaded some more weather via sat phone and what
was supposed to be a quiet no wind day, has transformed to a NW force 4
or 5 - which when you're sailing SW is pretty much perfect. so rather than
motoring all day we sailed almost the whole way, with a little engine support
for an hour when the wind died away. This was also a day for getting the
tides right - we are on full springs at the moment and we got it spot on.
Just west of Kirkwall we had 4 kts of tide running with us and hit an
impressive 11 kts SOG. We have been keeping informal company with a
handsome Norwegian ketch (German Frers designed - as is Swallow) - our
neighbour for 3 days in Lerwick and then again last night in Fair Isle.
They left a few minutes after us and were in sight most of the day - arriving
in Kirkwall 10 minutes ahead of us.
Kirkwall has a relatively new and very fine marina.
The weather will be poor over the next few days with SE and SW near gales
forecast - so we were delighted to find a vacant spot on the main hammerhead
where we could lie bow to S - should keep the cockpit dryish and the wind out
of the boat. We will rig our sprayhood extension (for the first time)
which basically converts our very large cockpit into a sort of conservatory -
so we should be completely dry. We were welcomed to the marina by a
Fair Isle émigré and presented with an enormous and comprehensive welcome
pack, charged the very modest sum of £87.50 for marina and harbour dues
throughout Orkney for the next 14 days and told to head into town to hear/see
two pipe bands (Kirkwall City and Thurso) that were marching up and down in
front of the cathedral, bagpipes screaming and snare drums rattling. A
splendid sight and sound.
The massed pipe bands of
Kirkwall and Thurso - 90th Anniversary Parade
Our first sight of Kirkwall impressed - and being stuck here
whilst the storms abate will not be a hardship