Friday, 28 June 2013

There will now be a short break in transmission........

I safely made it into Liverpool Marina this afternoon after a sleepless night.  The lock here has a 5 hour window of use, so things were not so time critical to get in and out.

As I said before, I am now taking a week off to catch up on other things.  I have been on Brown Eyes for a month now and have covered over 850 nautical miles, so I need a break; after yesterdays long sail I feel like I have taken a bit of a kicking.  Hopefully I can repair my auto pilot before I set off again, I am really missing that!

So far this journey has been great: challenging, tiring, frustrating, wet........but one big adventure!!

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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Holyhead to Glasson to Liverpool....

Holyhead bridge.. 
The view from my cabin on Brown Eyes.

It had always been my intention to stop off at Glasson Basin Marina on the River Lune near Lancaster - I was planning to leave Brown Eyes there for a week whilst I caught up on my life, put in some training for my other challenges and did some other fund raising.  The only problem with this is that there is a very small time/tide window to get in there. The River Lune dries out at low tide so there are lock gates to maintain a certain water level in the marina and the adjoining dock.
Tanker dodging again.
The lock gates are open approximately one-and-a-quarter hours before high tide until high tide - so a 75 minute window!
This looked like a giant pawn from a chess set? Anyone any ideas what it is?
I had over 70 miles to cover from Holyhead to Glasson to get in before the gates closed at 3.08pm.  I missed that window by 30 minutes despite a 3am start - this time the tide was not kind to me and I had struggled to get past Anglesey in the earlier part of my journey.
The lock would not be opening again until the following afternoon.  I then had to make a decision on where to go and by now the wind had really picked up and so had the sea swell.

Having studied the charts before setting out I knew there were very few opportunities for picking up a buoy or anchoring; particularly with the on-shore wind and heavy swell.
I made the decision to go south again; to Liverpool.  With a force 7 now blowing I reefed in the sails (reduced their size) and set off.  Brown Eyes really did take a hammering as the swell increased, but she fought on well and we made it to the entrance channel to Liverpool.  The massive wind turbines were quite confusing as they didn’t appear on any of my charts, but they were mentioned in the yachting almanac so I knew which way to go.  
Special guest appearance by Blackpool Tower as Lighthouse of the day!
It took over an hour to wind my way into the main part of the Mersey and luckily I saw some bouys being used as small vessel moorings on the starboard side of the river and I managed to pick one up as the light faded.

The wind continued to blow through the night and the river was quite choppy which didn’t help me catch up on my sleep at all.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Pwllheli to Holyhead....

Forgot to put this up before - the route to Pwllheli.
Three ugly ducklings.
After 5 days of being weather bound at Pwllheli it was great to see a break in the weather finally arrive.  I had planned an early start in order to use the favourable following tide to get through the Bardsey Sound.  If I caught it wrong I would be battling against a 6 knot current and that would mean I would have to go around the island, costing me time.

As I tried to leave the marina I soon found that there was quite a bit of silt build-up around the visitor berths and I was unable to get to the main ‘cut’ leading out of the marina until the tide had come in a little further which gave me the clearance under my keel.  In the end I had to wait 45 minutes, but I was still on time to catch current.

As I approached Bardsey Sound Brown Eyes really picked up speed and I was soon racing along at over 14 knots and it stayed this way for nearly an hour!!
Heading to Bardsey Sound.....
The SPD (speed) is how fast I am moving through the water, measured by a little paddle wheel in the bottom of the hull and the SOG (speed over ground) is measured by GPS - so the current carrying me is almost 7 knots!
Todays route.
 That helped us make good time and we soon arrived at Holyhead on Anglesey and a welcome overnight berth.
Lighthouse of the day (note the path down to it!)

Entering Holyhead Harbour.

Holyhead Marina

Friday, 21 June 2013

Skomer Island to Pwllheli.....

I was awake soon after 4 and after a quick breakfast I was pulling up the anchor and by 5 and heading off.  I needed to catch the tide, putting it to use to get through some gaps in headlands and therefore saving myself some time and distance.
I wouldn't fancy mowing their lawn!!
Unfortunately there was next to no wind and so, again, I had to resort to the engine.
As I passed through Jack Sound and then Ramsey Sound, riding the tide, I was treated to a lovely sunrise.
Rocks to to be avoided.
My own personal flypast.
More rocks.....
I wanted to get to the north of Cardigan Bay and I had the choice of the long route of following the coastline or taking the straight line route, which meant going through the middle of the range area there. A quick phonecall to the range authority told me there was no firing planned for the day, so I was able to take the shortcut.  Along the way I passed quite a few target-barges moored out on the water and was pleased I had made that call and that it was a non-firing day.
Going for the gap.
The day was filled with many more seabirds and a single dolphin; but millions of jelly fish - not a place to go for a dip.
Jellyfish......millions of them!!!

Safely in Pwllheli
Pwllheli Marina was a welcome site and I was very pleased to moor up and switch off the engine; I had covered 95 nautical miles.......I think I need a day off....
Lighthouse of the day.

Milford Haven to Skomer Island and Puffins!!!

With my other 2 challenges in mind I managed to squeeze in a run this morning, out along the coast past all the picturesque oil refineries and associated pipe works!  I couldn’t leave Milford Haven Marina until after 1pm as the lock gates have a few problems and they are currently only opened for a couple of hours around high tide, allowing vessels to ‘free-flow’ in and out.  High tide was at 2pm and the gates were to be open 1-3pm.

Lighthouse of the day.
This restriction obviously affected how far I was able to go and I settled for a short leg to an anchorage in a small bay on Skomer Island.  And I’m glad I did!
Sunset in the cove.
I had previously been quite pleased to see a single puffin on my crossing from Padstow a couple of days earlier, but as I arrived at the bay I was greeted by thousands of puffins and many other out:

He doesn't look happy
Mine, mine, mine.....
We have lift-off....
If you ever get the chance, it is a lovely place to visit.
This is where I anchored for the night.
A long day planned for tomorrow, there is more bad weather on the way and I need to get some miles done.
Tourists coming to spoil the peace and quiet(ish)
With all those seabirds flying overhead, Brown Eyes has been peppered with their droppings.......I could do with some rain now to clean her up a bit.
Twitchers walking on Skomer Island