Atlantis alongside in Lerwick
Another bonus of a stopover was the time it allowed to catch up with Richard Pattison; a previous military colleague but now skipper of the restored 1900 herring drifter 'Swan' now operated by a charitable trust and used for sail training. Richard and Swan's boatswain Scott very kindly assisted us with local knowledge, support and a tour of Swan. She is a lovely vessel and so immersed were we with the tour we overlooked the time; discovering only after arriving to eat at the local hotel that the kitchen had closed. Ever ready to be flexible we opted for an even better alternative with a mongolian (ie self-cooked) fresh cod dinner drummed up in Swan's galley and eaten on board. Thank you Richard and Scott for your help, hospitality.and assistance.
Apologies for the prolonged absence from reporting our progress to the interweb but there has not been a great deal of progress to report! Late on Saturday night we tied up at Victoria Pier in the heart of the Lerwick in the Shetland Islands. Our main reason for dropping in was to pick up a large kedge anchor that had been pre−ordered for us; so that we shall have the ability to set two anchors. This has two advantages. When set fore and aft (front and back of the boat) it means that we can moor without needing the room to swing to the wind and tide in smaller channels and inlets once we get to Svalbard. Having two anchors also gives confidence that if weather is poor we can better secure the boat or, in extremis, prevent being blown onto a lee shore.
Sadly, the anchor had not yet arrived − mañana does not have a direct translation into the norse and gaelic derived local dialect; but it possibly should. Having been reassured that the anchor could arrive by Saturday and would definitely by Monday we made best use of the time we had on our hands with maintenance chores and some local exploring.
Key amongst our achievements has been a full service of the main primary winches. These operate at times under considerable loads; failure of either could be dangerous and, no less importantly, severely compromise our ability to set and trim sails. Besides maintenance, we explored Lerwick's fascinating museum and enjoyed people~watching the various groups of quay walkers and other crews stopping by on journeys of their own. We've been watched too and it is a sign of the times that the attendant of the dockside public conveniences had been watching our approach since rounding Sumburgh Head on Saturday night on his AIS terminal and therefore expecting our arrival! I cannot think of another port in the world where initial tourist information is provided during one's first trip to the shoreside 'facilities'.
By Tuesday morning (28 May) it was apparent that the long awaited anchor was not going to materialise, so we opted for an alternative solution, topped up fuel and water and put to sea into an initially boisterous south-easterly breeze with a lumpy sea. By evening the breeze had settled to a gentle but unhelpful northerly and we enjoyed our first night back at sea with a series of windshifts determining the direction of travel -none perfect.
Only in the Shetlands?