After sourcing the issue with the leaking water tank, which I discovered was my fault - the seals hadn't been lined up properly on the connecting hose, I'm just glad I didn't get too bothered about it...
Even though it was my fault, I'm still pleased the issue was easily taken care of without any additional expenditure. And with that done and dusted, I had a look at replacing the wind instruments on this vessel.
I had a look - and that was all - dunno why everything has to be so expensive, I can just live without knowing the exact wind speed. We'll just fix it later.
I wasn't sure what we were gonna go next, but what do you know... somewhere turned up, and now we're going to check out an abandoned island...
Information about this place, more specifically - the harbour, was minimal, and I got different reports from different people regarding the actual state of the harbour. The only way we're going to find out the exact situation was by actually just going there.
Checking the weather for a dead calm day or days, and then waiting to see what actually occurs is a frustrating process - you get ready to go, then the wind changes, or the weather just does something totally different altogether...but eventually, the planets aligned, and we made our way on over to this spooky place.
I suppose we didn't need perfect conditions as such, but if things were to go awry, I didn't want the weather making things worse...
We left with the falling tide one afternoon as we wanted to arrive in time to see what low tide looked like on the pier, as we were hoping to tie up to the pier for the duration of our stay, and at first, all seemed ok.
This pier has not been serviced in a very, very long time, nor has the harbour been dredged or cleaned during that very long time, so what lies on the bottom is anyone's guess, could be nets, ropes, rocks, bits of discarded metal from whatever has been going on over here...
As we approached the island, a small yacht nipped into the bay before us - typical I thought - the one day we decide to go here, someone shows up...lol But, once we got in the harbour we saw that they had just anchored in the harbour as opposed to tying up to the pier...
We entered the harbour dead slow, in neutral - only using the prop if needed as we'd been warned about ropes trailing from the pier - the last thing you want here is to get tangled up in some crazy underwater hazard, the stuff of nightmares - but we made our way on to the only usable ladder on the pier and got some lines ashore.
I checked the tides and our depth and all the numbers said we should be ok, I double-checked it, and still, I was not convinced. Exploring would have to wait until the scope of our situation would be revealed by the falling tide.
And as the time passed and the tide fell, I heard a little bump from the stern that I wasn't expecting and with the water now being much shallower, I could now see that we were going to have to leave, and leave fast, what looked like soft mud was silt-covered rocks and boulders.
I wasn't expecting it as the depth was reading 1.5m under the keel, but that was because the sensor was reading in between what I could now see was piles of rocks and boulders.
With only inches between the rudder and rocks - I can assure you, I wasted no time in getting us off of that pier. Having the rudder pushed through the hull is a fate I'd rather enjoy not having to experience.
As I got slightly away from the pier, I could more clearly see the source of the rocks. The large metal girders that were used to construct the pier and retain the rubble and stonework that makes up the breakwater foundations - is failing in many places, and has failed entirely in others! The entire base of the inner breakwater is crumbling.
This just means that we would just have to anchor off and that I would be reduced to having to blow up the dingy and row ashore for my adventuring, but as there was already a yacht anchored in the harbour I would have to anchor a bit further out, but better safe than sorry...
Anchoring was a straightforward affair, and as soon as we were settled, I set the anchor alarm and set about getting the dingy ready. Phoebe loves going in the dingy, she will happily leap from the boat into the inflatable for a mini adventure - but not today.
I always forget how much effort it takes to blow the dingy up. And I always think, this is just going to take a minute, but after 5 minutes of considerable effort, I remember why I don't haul it out all the time...
With the dingy inflated and launched - I grabbed a few things, but in my haste, I forgot to grab my GoPro and the spare camera battery...there's always something, right?
I did, however, give my phone number to the other yacht in the harbour, just on the off-chance our anchor started to drag, or should I need to return for whatever reason - just so they had a way of reaching me.
This couple, Charlie and Linda, were just having a night here also, and although they opted not to go ashore, they were happy to keep an eye on the boat while I was away - so I had the whole island to myself....noice.
After getting ashore, I took a picture of their boat - you can see Charlie on his boat, on anchor, in an abandoned harbour just having an ice-cold beer, just watching the birds....be like Charlie.
Once off the pier and on to the main 'path' there is a lot to take in, gulls flying everywhere, ducks on the ground sitting on nests, baby chicks hiding all over the place, you really have to be careful. The birds have overtaken the place, there are also rabbits, and even a few chickens doing their thing.
There are also dead animals all over the place. The black gulls are savages, and they hunt baby rabbits, and anything else that'll fit into their mouths...life on the island seems pretty medieval for the animals that call this place home.
I didn't have too much time to meander as it was after 5pm before I even got ashore... But here are the pictures from the first trip ashore...I also found a small plastic monkey, the only thing I took from the island, he will live with my cactus from now on.
There is a lot of crumbling concrete and rusted out things on this island, and climbing anything is pretty dangerous but the views from here are pretty nice...
There is every kind of hazard you can think of here, tunnels, open shafts, flooded chambers, just all kinds of accidents just waiting to happen, but it sure is purrrdy.
Now, we also got some video, but remember I only had my phone and a dying camera battery... There's a lot that I didn't film due to those limitations
But, I put it all together - I do apologize for the poor editing and I know mobile phone footage is cringe but, it's all I had, and here it is...
After all that, it was back to the boat - and on the way back I stopped by the other yacht to let them know I was heading back and that they were 'off duty' from watching my boat...they invited me aboard for a cheese roll and a beer, how could I refuse!
A short time after, the sun was beginning to set and I was getting a bit chilly and having said our goodbyes, I headed back to my own boat. It's been a full day, and now it's over.
As the night rolled in, all the lights from the city start to be the only source of light, but there are no lights on the island, except for the operational lighthouse - so it's very dark, and spookily quiet, and other than the odd squawk from some bird it's actually kinda eerily peaceful.
Like the title suggests, this is just 'Part 1', I am working on part two and will post it as soon as it's ready - pretty sure I got more video on day 2, and more pictures for sure!