Nothing much to report really.
Since the Grand Denouement the pump-out pump has performed in a docile, even enthusiastic manner, doing what comes naturally with great vigour, much to the pleasure of marine life. Other potentially rebellious members of the sanitary community have performed well, the wash-basin strum box being a particular star. This reformed object used to be a prime agent provocateur, filling the engine room bilges with Grey Water, “grauwasser” in German, not to be confused with “schwarzwasser”, unspeakable substance to Germans, who will not admit that they pump tons of this “stoff” into the Rhine. But we digress.... The only cloud on the horizon is the forecabin toilet pump, which is showing signs of leaking despite the stop cock being closed.
So that's that.
Oh, wait a minute.... Oh Yes! We have been up the coast from Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, through Kylerhea, the narrow sound of the 100-knot tide, through to beautiful Plockton, nestled in shelter under the magnificent mountains of Skye - the Black Cuillins, which create their own (bad) weather. Then we sailed up the East coast of the island of Raasay and through Rona Sound, a beautiful passage to the east of Skye. This coast is marked by brooding cliffs rising vertically over 2000 feet from the sea (bit small by Norwegian standards, but impressive nevertheless). All the time the jagged 3500 foot sharks' teeth tops of the Black Cuillins brood in the near distance, plumes of cloud streaming from their tops. We stopped in at Portree the capital of Skye and sat in the harbour in the wind, venturing into the dinghy to get wet and nearly thrown out by the waves.
Thence to Mallaig, a rather grim fishing port. On the way in, the brave Broontroosers, ignoring cries from Princess Sha and Navigator Totty of “Pass him to Starboard: to Starboard!!” confidently cut across the bows of a very large ferry. “No problems”, said he blithely, “He'll miss us by a mile”. This did not seem to be the view of the ferry captain who swerved and then ploughed on, missing the brave Deneys by a small margin. The next ten minutes was spent speculating on the conversations on the ferry's bridge. Broontrooser's version was “Well, I admire that chap's judgment, only a truly skilful seaman would cut it that fine. Bravo that man!”
From Mallaig back to Tobermory, to more action-packed days:
- Day one: Tied up at pontoon, rain vertical stair-rods, visibility 10 metres. Take ferry to Ardnamurchan or somewhere. Go for walk in sheeting rain. Broontroosers forgot his waterproof trousers. New meaning of “wet trousers” discovered. Crew moderately happy, because not at sea, and the Mishnish Inn just down the road.
- Day Two: Tied up at pontoon, pouring with remorseless rain; visibility between nil and 100 metres, cloudbase 100 feet. Go for walk and meal in “Cafe Fish”, the best (fish) restaurant in the world. Bloody freezing - 48 degrees inside boat. Put on heater to avoid hypothermia. Crew not very happy - no end to rain in sight.
- Day Three: Still tied up at pontoon. Pissing with rain, visibility nil. Crew happiness quotient decreasing. Sound of occasional hoarse anguished cries and splashes as invisible yachties drown themselves in despair. Go for walk and get covered in mud.
- Day Four: Becoming a fixture tied up at pontoon. Wonder about joining yachties in harbour. But cheered as Tobermory Harbour authority vote us “Least mobile boat of the year” and give us a 10% reduction in harbour fee. Siling with rain, bloody freezing. Surviving yachties go home as they can't see the fun in cruising amongst invisible but peerless scenery, dressed in diving kit. (exception is truly dedicated hard men/women, who seem to like sitting at a funny angle in cockpits full of water having buckets of green sea chucked in their faces and being drenched by spray). Broontroosers seeks counsel about developing habit of buttonholing any passer-by and recounting wonderful tales of week upon week of calm warm weather in the Baltic Sea. Totty likens him to the Ancient Mariner.
- Day Five: Bartlett foretells of hot sunshine, crystal-clear air and balmy zephyrs!! But like the pub that advertises “Free beer tomorrow”, is cautious about when this idyllic state of affairs will happen. But he assures us it is likely to be within our lifetimes. Thus energised hire car to explore the insides of low clouds on the stunningly beautiful Isle of Mull. Clouds lift suddenly to reveal wondrous beauty indeed. But why bother with boating? Any ideas?
We finish with some hot news...”Church of Scotland breaks new ground with appointment of gay minister. 12,000 sign protest petition”. It's all happening in Bonny Scotland!!