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Date: 25 May 2010 17:17:00
Title: Alongside the pier in Stornoway

58:12.421N 006:23.352W Monday Night

We're off to the Faroes tomorrow!

Set off from Erisort this morning into drizzle and wind but our getting mooring lines back onboard was much more discliplined than the last time so that was great. It only took an hour or so to reach Stornoway and I asked on the VHF if they could give us a berth. A long pause. Then we're told to go along pier #2 ahead of another yacht. It turns out that pier #2 used to be the fishing boat pier but is not pretty well abandoned and it was low water when we arrived so it looked intimidating. We diddled around while we set up all our fender-boards and daisy-chained the other fenders in the gaps and then came alongside. It worked out OK, really, as the other yacht crews helped by putting our lines over the bollards on the dock way above us. All safely alongside and no harm done or drama. I was relieved as it's the first time I've been alongside a commercial quay in Saxon Blue and the fender-boards worked very well.

Then it was a day of sorting things out. The Port Authority guys were really friendly. The one filling out the forms said "You came from Erisort". I asked if he'd tracked us on the AIS and he said that, no, he'd seen us out of his front room window last night and thought "what a lovely boat". We could only be seen from one house so that was some coincidence. His mate then took me off on a tour of town to get some diesel in a small can to use for replacing our primary engine filter and told me all about island life. He knew and waved to at least half the people we passed and he's only lived here for two and a half years. They couldn't have been more helpful and they're on duty on a rota 24/7 to help, if we need it. All for the princely sum of £9:20 a night. The solent was never like this.

Greg arrived exactly on time at 14:10 and we went to the Fishermen's Co-operative to get some rope and stuff we needed. A huge shed and a cross between a chandlery, a working gear store and a market stall. We got everything we wanted so don't knock it. Andrea did the laundry, Kali did the shopping and then we had a Latte in the arts centre. Back to Saxon Blue for more sorting things out and then out for a great Curry. I think it could be the last one for some time - apart from home-made ones, of course. It's great to have Greg here and we're now ready for the off and very excited. People have been doing this same thing for thousands of years. Getting the crew and the gear ready on a boat ready for a voyage into new waters. I get a satisfying feeling of connection to all those mariners. We have a far easier time of it than most of them did but emotion is the same.

Andrea has posted some more videos on YouTube so follow the link from our site to view them.

That's enough now, I'm off to bed to get up at 3:30 tomorrow morning and slip lines at 4:00

Goodnight

Harvey

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