Fair Isle 59:32.298N 001:36.203W

Frans & Sarah Toonen
Mon 10 Aug 2015 12:15
Monday 10th August 2015. 44.9nm. 5.4 engine hours. Southerly 2-3 and a little South Westerly (just so it’s on the nose). 

We motored into wind to be 5 miles east of the race at Sumburgh head and to improve our wind angle towards Fair Isle. We only managed 2 hours without the motor but at least we could motor sail the remainder. The North Harbour was deserted except for the resident seals, eider and black guillemots. 

We have never seen the Good Shepherd out of the water before and hauled up into her shelter in the cliffs she is spick and span below and above the waterline. The crew came to help us moor (limited chatting options on Fair Isle) and explained that she is never anti-fouled (out of respect for all the birds) but hauled and cleaned off every 2 weeks. Strong winds and rain are forecast for Tuesday morning and as we have to leave on a morning tide we will wait until Wednesday to move on. Getting the detailed weather involves visiting the bar in the Bird Observatory every night - such a chore! 

Tuesday afternoon was sunny so we had a good walk all around the cliffs of the north part of the island. We sat in a hollow very close to the sheer cliff edge above the Fulmar nests. With the strong westerly the nests were in shelter and the birds seemed to be playing in the updrafts. Fulmars are not shy and regularly circle the boat being nosy so they came very close. No zoom lens required. They were amazing to watch, using their tails to steer and with their feet splayed out like a cartoon character for balance we were entertained. One birds had only one leg and a stump and he came particularly close. Being so bold might be why he has one leg. They can live for 40 years and raise only one chick in the same place each year. The sheep were also entertaining as they strolled around the vertical cliff face despite there being plenty of grass up top. 

The white specks on the grass are sheep not birds

The Arctic Skuas won’t move off the tarmac until you nearly step on them

Frans with propeller envy - very big and very shiny and feathering too!