More sphincter-tightening adventures in the western isles of Scotland
Subject: More awesome dangers
This year sees the crew of the brave Twin Screw Motor Yacht (TSMY) "Deneys Reitz" preparing for yet another quest into the West. This year held rich hopes for Broontroosers, who has recently qualified as a PADI-trained scuba diver. PADI, for those coarse people who might infer meaning into the nationality of the instructors, is not Irish: "Ah shure, de quickest way to de bottom? Just don dese lead boots, hold yer nose, jump and ye'll be dere in no toime at all, at all, so". No, PADI stands for Professional Association of Diving Instructors, and Don has been carefully trained and examined by these extraordinarily competent people and confirmed as Fit to Dive! The purpose of all this is of course to plunge for scallops, lobsters, giant mussels and other edible delights that teem in Scottish waters. Alas! Towards the end of the rigorous training, the PADIs dropped a bombshell - no diving wiithout a "dive buddy"; insurance nullified etc. Disaster! Especially as the Navigator, on being approached to be Broontrooser's "Buddy", made one condition and one observation; to wit:
- Condition: The purchase and installation on the boat of a Maritherm 'Antarctic' oil-fired hot water heated diving system complete with fully enclosed suit, integral piping and electric backup,
- And the observation: "Why the hell do you want to swan around underwater in bloody freezing seas when there are plentiful supplies of scallops, lobsters, crab and fish of many hues in every West Coast harbour??"
So that's the end of that fine dream. All that's left is to sail North, visiting the Small Isles (Muck, Egg, Rum and Canna), circumnavigating Skye and thus via Plockton and Ullapool to the invitingly named "Summer Isles" (apparently so called because nobody in their right mind would dare go there in the winter).
Readers can expect three possible forms of communication:
- Short, in the case of beautiful weather
- Non-existent in the event of drowning at sea
- Lengthy and often drunken whinges by Broontroosers bemoaning the Scottish weather and the inadequacies of the crew; in the event of a "normal" summer's cruising
So there we are. the crew is limbering up, the boat is hopefully still afloat (latest reports are positive) and the Strategic Support and Backup team is on standby. The members of this vital group are:
- Met Ace Bartlett,(Motto,"Ye shall surely perish").
- Ships medical advisor, Dr Harold Shipmate who has tuned his computerised electronic telephonic Liver Function Tester and his battery of Seafarers' Sanity Tests and is ready to go.
- Expert in marine sanitary systems, June Barnes, who has a new fully automated diagnostic and prognostic kit: "Does it smell terrible and is foul water running all over the place? - computer says it's blocked".
- Resident Philosopher and linguistic geographer, Professor (The Prof) Markus Alexandrov, who has already unerringly located us half way up the Yangtse River.
Watch this space for thrills and spills
PS Just arrived in Ardfern; pissing with rain and blowing hard. Bloody good start.