Departed Eyemouth Harbour around 06.00 Monday 9th August with mixed feelings – we hope to remember the fishing vessel that gave way when we entered Eyemouth Harbour and the HM who instructed the returning fishing vessels to wait before we cleared the Harbour when leaving. Prayers were answered for some south in the wind when we left the mooring which pulled the bow round to turn through 180 degrees – the commercial cats had moored up against our bow and stern as their final gesture. It was notable that one of the cats had only used two lines to secure their vessel.
We had light variable winds forecast which gave some concern has to how long the passage across the Firth of Forth would be. Infact we made reasonable progress with sail and engine, there was an unmarked wind farm development on the Navionics chart – but was shown on the Visit My Harbour charts and Live Charts. There were some curious maneuvers made be a vessel constrained by their draft around the wind farm which placed us inside the development but no one appeared overly concerned. The Isle of May was sighted in the distance, and then the mark for the Bell rock and the mast further East.
There was a minor panic at one point as the bilge alarm for the heads sounded, there was no obvious site ingress of water, and when pumped out with our battery portable pump there were clear signs of soap bubbles. We were unable to work out how two buckets of water had go into the bilge – but it was fresh water – don’t ask how we discovered that.
Lunon Bay was to be our anchorage for the night and we had the anchor set by 20.00 BST, followed by tea and bunks. The anchorage was a little uncomfortable but provided a welcome rest. The anchorage bay was departed on the 10th August 2021 around 06.30 BST with Dolphins spotted playing. There was little or no wind and we drifted along the coast with the engine on tick over. We just managed to make the anchorage at Stonehaven before the south going tide was in full flow. We had the anchor set for around 13.00 BST, which gave the opportunity to take lunch and have a rest before taking the next tide.
The anchor was weighed around 16.30 BST even though there was still some south in the tide it meant we would get the full north going tide. There was a friendly wave from an inbound yacht to Stonehaven. The winds were light and variable but we did get some westerly wind to get us across Aberdeen bay. The forecasts were changing every time they came through, but no stronger winds were forecast until the following afternoon – and it was clear we were not going to make Peterhead before the tide turned. We decided to anchor at Cruden Bay, there was little or no wind as we set the anchor around 01.00 BST. The next weather forecast suggested the wind could get up before the previous forecast – we decided to take some rest before proceeding to Peterhead. It was just that some rest not sleep as we both constantly were assessing if the wind was getting up. The alarm must have woken us from a doze around 05.00 BST and thankfully we were lying in a very light SE wind – we should really have taken our opportunity and set off, but the call of a warm bunk tempted us to take another hour. Once again when the alarm sounded we felt comfortable even though the wind was picking up – the crew offered sausages for breakfast – an the next hint we should have moved was the crew felt a little sick – the sausages were still calling so the skipper stepped in, but as the cooker burner was being pricked it started to feel a little bumpy. Breakfast was postponed and attention focused to departing the anchorage. When the snubbing line was removed from the anchor chain, the real state of the sea was felt, the bow was burring itself in waves – thank goodness for the life jackets which require full immersion before inflating. Our hand signals worked perfectly as did the windlass, now named Georgia. As the bow dipped Georgia pull the slack chain in, and once free we headed out of the anchorage full steam ahead. Even though the wind was only F4 we made slow progress, and the rocks either side of us ceased to become protection but a possible threat – luck was on our side and we gained some sea room. It was raining and we were wet and cold, but safe and only had a few miles to make Peterhead. We should have left at fist light, but were able to demonstrate we can leave an anchorage quickly when required. Once a couple of miles from Peterhead we called up as required and gave our intentions to enter the marina. The wind was actually the top end of a 4 and touched 5 on occasions but we were safely tied up by 10.30 BST on the 11th August 2021. The sausages which still lay in the pan were cooked and eaten for lunch.