Having spent a day trying to figure out our next move, it was time to go again. I figured we would go to Edinburgh - but where in Edinburgh? There are a few neat little anchorages in the Firth of Forth, and after careful consideration, I decided to go to Granton. (pictured below)
Granton is actually where I bought this boat a few years ago, and sadly, I haven't been back there much. When I got the boat I also joined the Yacht Club there, and was given a key for the facilities - but I have no idea if it'll still work - I guess I'll find out soon enough.
I managed to email one of the members for the current pontoon access details, and well, that was that... All that was left to do, was leave here.
I feel never I spend enough time in some places, I feel that I get somewhere, find out where things are - then leave. But right now, if we don't leave today the winds will switch on us making our passage up to Auld Reekie, an unpleasant one, and we can't have that.
As luck would have it, we wouldn't have to leave until the afternoon. Some bonus time for Chloe to birdwatch...
Dunbar is a sketchy place to get into, but as long as you line up properly it's actually not too bad. As I understand it, they don't get a lot of visitors - I feel most are put off by the charts and the rocks.
There are stories of yachts getting it wrong, trying to cut corners, and ending up on the rocks...When it comes to rocks, we don't play dice. We follow the rules - no exceptions.
It was soon time to take in the lines, and we slowly slipped out of the harbour without incident, passing between the rocks, and back into deeper water, beginning our short trip to Granton.
I tried to take some video on this leg, but yeah it didn't work out... I clipped the camera in a different location and the vibrations from the engine as we were leaving made the footage unusable...I'll try again on the next leg.
We were flying up the coast and before long we could see the Bass Rock. An old 'prison island', kinda Scotland's version of a 1600's Alcatraz - if you were a bad person - you did not want to go there.
I probably mentioned this place last year in the blog, but it's an impressive place worth a mention, it kinda reminds me of what I imagined Château d'If from the 'Count of Monte Cristo' looked like before I learned that Château d'If was actually a real place! (In my defense, I was only a kid when I read the story)
Getting closer to the Bass Rock, you can begin to see the lighthouse and the old castle walls. Also the very distinct white top, and no - that's not limestone.
For comparison, here's a before and after. You can see one of the Northern Gannets sleeping in the water in the picture. (below-right) (Drawing Source: Wikipedia)
By far, the coolest thing about the place is all the birds! It is the world's largest colony of Northern Gannets, and the closer you get, the more birds you can see.
Although they're not all Gannets, there are a lot of gulls and a few other species that inhabit the place - but the sky just fills with them - and once you get downwind of the place there is a strong smell of ammonia from all the droppings, as I said, that's not limestone.
It seems that every available surface has a nest on it and nothing seems to grow here, not one bush or tree - that I could see.
This island belongs to them, just an incredible amount of birds... Described as one of the wildlife wonders of the world, with just soo many birds...
I guess I was just busy watching all the birds, but the island seemed to fly by - before I knew it, we were past the island and entering the Firth of Forth
It was time for some more coffee, so I went below - it may look like a sunny day, but it's still colder than you would think, or at least colder than it looks...I took one last picture of the island before putting the kettle on...
Sometime later, the wind and tide changed and our speed dropped to only a knot or two - the waves were beginning to bully us a bit, and it was just getting a tad bumpy.
Hoisting the mainsail soon took care of that as we'd only had a bit of the genoa out as the current was doing most of the work up to that point, with the extra canvas up we were well on our way again...things smoothed out and the sailing was nice...for a while.
We were only about two hours from Granton, when all of a sudden we were, I won't say attacked, but set upon by thousands of bugs. They didn't seem to be of the biting variety - thankfully! It started as just a few, but soon the entire boat, from bow to stern, was covered in them! I, like a real man, hid below decks from the bugs...
They were everywhere, and they just kept coming - every time I looked there were more! I have no clue what these bugs were doing two miles offshore, some sort of a bug convention or something...
After a while, they seemed just to leave on their own, but quite a few, seemingly deceased ones, littered the boat, but about 85% eventually left, the rest would need to be hosed off once we get to the dock...
As we neared the city, you could see the skyline beginning to take shape, the coast becoming more and more built up, and just before we veered off toward Granton, you could just see the Forth Road Bridge that they are perpetually painting...we'll probably go under it at some stage...and probably under the other two bridges behind it...
Granton is a tidal harbour and we arrived a few hours after low water. I would've preferred to arrive a few hours later when there's more water, but I did check everything, and the math says we can do it, so - we're gonna go for it, the bottom is just mud anyways, no rocks to worry about.
I know the deepest water is at the end of the pontoon, and the further up you go, the shallower it gets and as long as the stern clears the end of the pontoon, we'll be fine...and as we headed in, all seemed as expected.
As we approached the pontoon the depth got pretty shallow, as expected...once in the harbour the water was very calm and the wind was minimal and as the bow passed the end of the pontoon we had 0.3m under the keel, the stern cleared with 0.2m.
We got a boat length further on and the depth went to 0.0m and we slowly ground to a halt as we grounded out in the soft mud. I just got us tied us off to the pontoon where we had stopped, and that was that - trip over.
I checked on the crew, I found phoebe laying about in a very unladylike way, and Chloe was in her cabin snuggled into some spare sailing jackets...
I let the engine idle for a few minutes before shutting it down, and by the time I had a coffee, it was almost dark. I went ashore to see if my key still works, and after two years away - it still works.
Getting back to the boat, and after a quick tidy-up, it was time to put my feet up for a bit before getting some sleep.
We're not sure how long we're going to be here for, but I think we'll be here for a week or so, but we'll just have to see how things pan out, this is a crazy tight month, and resources are, uh, at best, low...
But it's OK, it might be a tight month, but we're more than halfway through it, our bills are paid, and we're doing 'fine', hopefully, by the end of this month, we should be able to start putting some serious miles under the keel...
I'm still not sure where or what we're going to do this year, but these things have a way of revealing themselves at uncommon hours on unexpected days, but we have a leaky water tank that needs looking at before we can go anywhere, plus I'll need to look into replacing the wind instruments, perhaps, once I do those these things a direction will reveal itself...maybe.