Saturday, 11 February 2006


<![CDATA[ Well, it was too good to last, wasn't it. A fortnight without any significant wind or rain. And those gorgeous sunsets of the past few days should have been a warning. So, last night the wind grumbled in the chimney and the rain clattered against the window. Fortunately, it was all in the hours of darkness. By daybreak, things had dried up. The wind is still going at a good old 27 knots sustained windspeeds (10 a.m.), with gusts up to 37 knots, which is a gale. This is very photogenic weather, particularly because visibility is excellent. The lifeboat went out as I was having breakfast, at 10.15 (it's a Saturday, okay?!), and it battled against huge seas by the Arnish Lighthouse. Even the gastanker, which went out an hour later, was pitching and heaving in the seas. It is quite busy this morning with shipping, with a French fishingboat from Lorient coming in. I'm not sure, but it might be for a crew change. Two other Frenchmen came into the port this week for the same purpose. If they manage to do that within 24 hours, they get a 25% reduction in harbour dues. The reason Stornoway is so convenient, is that the airport is only 4 miles down the road. So, the fishing company charters a plane which takes the fresh crew up to SY. As soon as the old crew comes off the boat, they are immediately flown back to France. The boat stays in the area, doesn't have to travel thousands of miles and it saves a lot of money. On the subject of the gastanker, she came in yesterday with a pilot on board, and went out with one today. Don't see the pilot boat out that often, the previous time was with the Celtic Spirit, the timberboat that developed a list off the north coast of Scotland back in November.

Lifeboat going out; tugboat heading in same direction
Lifeboat encountering heavy seas at the Arnish Point bar
Jack Abri (Lorient) entering Stornoway Harbour; Arnish Yard in background
Sigas Champion coming into port (yesterday, 10 Feb)
Spray jumping up to the right of the lighthouse


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