MARLIN trip to 4 Countries (Piel, Ravenglass, Isle of Whithorn, Kirkcudbright, Douglas, Amlwch, Rhos) 2016

Jump to Piel; Ravenglass; Isle of Whithorn; Kirkcudbright; Douglas ; Amlwch.

I mainly use tides favourably (this helps a lot) and motor at my displacement speed (5 to 7 knots). I have an auto-pilot but use a kitchen timer set on 10 minutes (or less) to help me keep a regular look out. I always stop overnight -- since I am single-handed.

Friday 13 May. Weather favourable for a few days with mainly N winds so I planned to go to the sheltered Galloway coast.
Leave Liverpool Marina near HW [4:38 8.2m] at 6.10. Leave by the main shipping channel then cut north across the training wall near buoy ALPHA. Wind was mainly E so fairly calm except when crossing Ribble estuary and Morecambe Bay.
Off the Ribble, I spotted a pod of dolphins. There were at least 4 but they were too far away to photograph.

Lune Deep buoy with windfarms behind.

Follow the buoyed channel into Barrow and enter the moorings at Piel Island at 12:20, intending to go to the Ship Inn for refreshment. There was quite a strong easterly blowing, so I did not fancy rowing ashore in my little tender. The Piel Ferry (which usually takes foot passengers from Roa Island to Piel Island) came by and suggested a suitable mooring and agreed to ferry me to/from shore.
With the wind and tidal current, I miscalculated and the mooring pickup buoy got trapped under my boat. I did not want to get rope around my prop, so I opened up my "weed box" to take a look: and saw that reversing would clear the problem. John from the Piel Ferry helped me by keeping my boat on station while I inspected. Thanks John.
Ashore for grub and a pint, then wait for Piel Ferry to take me back aboard Marlin. While standing on the jetty waiting, I noticed that a canoe (open Canadian type) tied up there was getting trapped under the jetty as the tide rose. I had had a similar experience with my tender last year, so kept the canoe free while the owners were sought.

Marlin moored at Piel Island; view of Roa Island with lifeboat slip; seals inside Walney Island

Set off at 2:15 pm for Ravenglass. I increased revs while leaving Barrow to counter the incoming tidal current. I arrived off Ravenglass at 5:15 and was in and, after sorting out the mooring chain and ropes, moored by 5:45 with 2.1m under my keel. I intended to dry out overnight and the pool is very sheltered. The moorings were quiet - except when a train crossed the nearby iron bridge. By 8:30 I was aground. At low water, I could inspect the channel and also test the seabed - which seems to be a layer of mud on firmer sand. I did not fancy wading through the mud, so stayed aboard.
A guide to Ravenglass

Ravenglass: View up-river from my mooring near LW; village and railway bridge in the morning near HW.

Two legs: 44.1 and 26.5 nm.

Saturday 14 May: leave Ravenglass at 5:50 near local HW in very calm conditions. Proceed to the Isle of Whithorn since I expected to be able to go ashore there near LW: either at an alongside berth or by anchoring and rowing ashore to the new slip. At 11:30 I could see that there was still some water around the outer part of the harbour wall so I nosed in gently and found that I could tie alongside with 0.8m under my keel. It was a neap tide (Liv LW 12:48 2.6m; local LW 12.54 1.8m). I went ashore to shop (in the Community Hall) and to eat in the Steam Packet Inn (which serves from 12:00) and has a view over the harbour. The inside of the harbour wall was dry at LW: so I could not have reached it.
See also
here for previous trip to Isle of Whithorn.

Sellafield and Black Combe (mountain between Ravenglass and Duddon).

Isle of Whithorn: Marlin alongside outside of harbour wall; inside of harbour wall at LW neap; leading marks (yellow diamonds in a garden).

At 12:54, I was back aboard with little depth under my keel. I waited until 2:08pm when, with 1.2m under my keel, I was confident that I could turn around without grounding. A local had shown me where a sandbank was located near the outer harbour wall. I set off and headed for Kirkcudbright (pronounced Cur-coo-bree). There was quite a strong westerly wind and some chop had built up when clear of the shelter of land.
It is recommended to enter the channel up to Kirkcudbright no earlier than HW-2:30. Local HW was 18:52 with 5.6m, so after 4:22pm would suit. After passing Little Ross Island (with its conspicuous lighthouse), I entered the well buoyed channel after 4pm and had a least depth under my keel of 2.4m. A small trawler came in soon after me.
I reached the pontoon mooring by 4:40 and tied up. The drill is to call the Harbourmaster on his mobile number and he gives you the gate and toilet block codes. Payment is by honesty box in the toilet block. Several yachts came in later -- and some rafted up. I went into the town for a meal (Kirkcudbright Bay Hotel) and then retired early: sunset behind a hill at 8:30.
here for previous trip to Kirkcudbright.

Little Ross lighthouse (Island in Kirkcudbright Bay); at Kirkcudbright: Marlin on the pontoon; trawlers alongside.

Kirkudbright: morning mist near the pontoon; 2 views (looking inwards) of buoyed channel.

Two legs: 41.5 and 16.6 nm.

Sunday 15 May. I set off about an hour before local HW at 6:00. By 6:30 I was leaving the buoyed channel and I set course for Maughold Head on the Isle of Man. The wind and waves were fairly slight and I decided to take the direct route crossing the charted sandbanks (Ballacash and Bahama). Current was adverse for a while. By 10:52, I was at Maughold Head (conspicuous lighthouse with the peaked mountain North Barrule behind).
As I approached the Isle of Man, my mobile provider sent a text with prices (higher since not in EU) and welcoming me to Guernsey. Whoops.

Isle of Man: North Barrule; Maughold Head (with Clay Head beyond); Douglas Head(with harbour wall to right).

I headed on down the coast passing Laxey and Clay Head to arrive off Douglas at 12:20. A cargo vessel (Arrow) was anchored in Douglas Bay. Douglas Harbour (VHF 12) gave me permission to enter (the ferry Manannan was moored up) and I tied alongside the visitors pontoon. This has been lengthened since my last visit. I was the only visitor at that time: so no need to raft up.
After watching the Lifeboat being recovered, I walked into Douglas and had a light meal and coffee at the NOA Bakehouse. I was back aboard by 1:45pm and set off for Amlwch on Anglesey.

Anchored vessel (Arrow) in Douglas Bay; Marlin on the pontoon; Lifeboat recovery.

There was a fair amount of shipping about, so I combined AIS, radar and eyeball to keep a non-collision course. The wind was NW 3-4 and the sea state built up as the shelter from the Isle of Man was cleared. The visibility was excellent and, when only a few miles from the North Anglesey coast, I could still see the Isle of Man.
I heard Holyhead Coastguard giving advice to a diveboat Karma 3 about decompression treatment: this is the same boat that issued a mayday last time I was in that area.
I entered Amlwch harbour at 8:00pm and, within the harbour, there was very little wave motion. Of the two "pens", the inner is now reserved for the Liverpool Pilot service, while the outer has commercial boats (fishing, diving, etc). There was room for me to enter the outer (seaward) pen and I tied alongside a fishing boat. One of the main activities based at Amlwch is whelk fishing. The trawler BS188 was unloading bags of whelks which, apparently, end up in Korea. Whelking involves using rotten fish as bait: so the harbour can be a bit "pongy".

Amlwch: Marlin in the pen; view of two pens with Pilot Boats in inshore one; entrance to inner harbour.

I walked past the harbour to the Vaults for a drink. Since I was rather scruffy, I sat in the bar (not lounge) where there were 3 others. It turned out that they were Nautical Archaeologists whom I had previously corresponded with by e-mail. Small world.
Two legs: 45.5 and 44.7 nm. Breakfast in Scotland; lunch on Isle of Man; drinks in Anglesey, Wales. Three countries in one day.

Monday 16 May A very peaceful night (apart from a small fright when a nearby boat had its automatic bilge pump come on in the middle of the night). The fishermen appeared about 6:00 and left at 6:30. I was in no big hurry, so left at 7:20. Current would be favourable after LW at around 3:00pm, so I proceed slowly against the current. This adverse current was noticeable passing Point Lynas. I then followed the Anglesey coast, inside Dulas Island, taking a break off Traeth y Ora (a favourite spot of mine), past Moelfre Island, past Traeth Bychan and then Red Wharf Bay. The wind was westerly but waves were from NW, so there was some jumping about.

Point Lynas; Traeth y Ora; Dulas Island.

Rock stack off Moelfre Head; Traeth Bychan (moorings in old quarry); Red Wharf Bay (Traeth Coch) with moorings.

After passing Puffin Island and Great Orme's Head, I headed into Llandudno Bay to get a bit of favourable current from the back-eddy. I then passed Little Orme's Head to enter Rhos by 12:20. I had planned to go ashore at Rhos to get something to eat. I was especially keen to visit the Beach Caffi (Bryn Williams) which has an excellent reputation (and I have been there myself) and is just east of the dilapidated pier. The wind and waves were sufficient to make the prospect of rowing my tender seem unattractive. So I anchored, ate a snack meal and took a siesta.

Colwyn Bay: Porth Eiras watersports centre (beach access lane) and Beach Caffi (Bryn Williams)(to right).

I set off again at 3:00 and with favourable current, headed south of the Hoyle Windfarm and then in via the Rock Channel to the Mersey. Much construction work is underway for the extension of the Burbo Bank windfarm. One curious looking vessel was busy at the western end of the site.
Off New Brighton I met two groups of sea-kayakers. There was a "tall ship" leaving Liverpool: two-masted. I locked in to Liverpool Marina at 7:20.

Vessel (Crane ship Svanen) working on the Burbo Windfarm Extension; two-master (Brig Stavros S Niarchos) leaving the Mersey.

60.0 nm run.

Overall 280 nm run, with four countries visited.

A record of the depth and track of my voyage is available from teamSurv

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