After our one and only episode of mal de mer, we were all aware of how quick we could go down if we took our mind off the subject so kept ourselves well medicated with Kwells and Scopolamine patches.
Day 9: Friday 14th June. Our sail to the Shetlands was uneventful. The winds and sea state were moderate, sky lightly clouded with a foggy morning. All were nothing new. Too get a 100 percent clear sunny day was rare. We left Inverness at 10:55 arriving into the Shetland capital, Lerwick on Day 10, Saturday 15th June 14:40. The weather slowly worsened so Philip and James decided to sit it out on Sunday and Monday, leaving Tuesday as early as possible.
Carrie and I ventured around the streets and lovely little shops. We sunk ourselves into the Shetland Times Bookshop. Beautiful books and plenty of reading matter for the trip ahead. Coffee and scones never as good as my mum’s. This really surprised me as English tea, scones, jam and cream had always rung a testament of quality. English royalty, upper crust type of thing!!! Through all our travels the scones were dry and much fluid needed to wash them down! No wonder the English drink so much tea!!!
Day 12: Monday 17th June. We woke to a beautiful day! The elusive Puffin was high on the agenda. Philip and I had searched on our way passed Wales, in water ways and islands including Puffin Island without success. The skies had cleared so the four of us hired a taxi to drive us to see Puffins wherever they were. Our taxi driver was an encyclopedia of information. He stopped at sites and explained the history and culture of the Shetlands… and he took us straight to the puffins! What a gem!
Puffins are very social little birds living on cliff edges, feeding on eels, herrings and other small fish. We were surprised when our paddling friend, Kerry Moore sent a text asking what is a group of puffins called. We didn’t know! ‘A circus of puffins’ she text back. How funny. They do look like little clowns!
A first time experience was stopping at traffic lights while a small air craft taxied along the run way in front of us. As soon as it was clear, the green lights gave us the go ahead and our taxi proceeded at right angles to across. We looked straight down the run way with a strange insecure feeling like we shouldn’t be doing this!
Two qualified yacht masters on the same yacht can be quite a challenge. Philip and James decide James will do the weather and navigating and Philip will take overall responsibility for the safety of everyone on board and ultimately all decisions made.
Weather reports and synoptic charts are favourable for the next week. James was to fly home to Amber and the children from here but decided to head straight to Svalbard while the weather was good, winds were a low 10 knots.
Saturday: We grew curious at the crowds gathering on the street above. Mingling and asking questions, we were told a Parade of Vikings was on its way. It’s an annual fund raising event. We had seen the pirates attack Conwy and felt privileged to witness the Vikings.
They passed in groups or maybe their clans showing off their ancestry costumes. It was wonderful!
Participants even traveled from Norway as the Shetlands were once belonged to them. Back in the 8th and 9th century, the expanding population of Scandinavian countries shifted the Vikings attention to invading their neighbours, the Shetlands included. During the 1400’s the King of Norway, Christian I, pledged the Shetland Islands as a security against a payment, the doury of his daughter, Margaret, betrothed to James III of Scotland. The king couldn’t afford the doury so the unpaid debt fell on the Shetlands which soon belonged to Scotland. Two hundred years later 1978, oil was discovered off the east and west coast. Fishing, crude oil and natural gas are their main revenue producers. We were told there is zero percent unemployment in the Shetlands. Their oil terminals are the largest in Europe as we soon saw for ourselves sailing between the platforms. The Norwegians mustn’t be too impressed with old King Christian now!
Like all of Europe and the UK, there is so much history here. We have had a great time. We need a good sleep tonight as tomorrow is an estimated 10 day sail, 24 hours a day on 3 hour shifts. We don’t want to leave Carrie on her own yet so her and I do our shifts together. The weather forecast looks good but who knows what we are in for heading into the North and Norwegian Seas.
Good night! Sleep tight! Don’t let the bed bugs bit!