Days 103 and 104,Wick to Banff and then another red line! September 6th and 7th, 2018.

After waiting for the Wick Marina office to open at 9am ( we had to pay our mooring dues ) we left our berth at 9.25am. A pleasant sunny morning with a NW breeze, we headed out into the open waters of the Moray Firth heading south east. Strange… the Met Office had forecast NW winds of up to force 5…. but did not see or feel anything above about 8 knots.

Looking back at Wick, yes no rain when we left and lots of blue sky. By 2pm this had all disappeared and we were back to grey and gloomy.

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We had noticed massive wind turbine blades and huge supports all wrapped in a type of white plasticky cling film on the harbour wharves in Wick….. so we were not surprised to see a huge wind farm in the process of being constructed out at sea. Certain areas were restricted to vessels …. usually marked by cardinal buoys… so we did our best to avoid passage through…. but did manage to transgress when it came to a working oil field for about an hour. The charts were very misleading. No voice on channel 16 VHF, no helicopter hovering overhead and no fast power boat came out to shoo us away!

We had a long debate about which port to spend the night…. firstly Whtehills had been the first choice, then followed Banff and Macduff…. which were located close by. We dismissed Whitehills as being too small and there were depth issues. Macduff seemed to be more of a cargo, fishing port so Banff was finally selected.

We were off Banff by about 4pm. Mike made contact by mobile phone and we were asked not to enter until at least 5.30pm. The wind had got up and there was rain in the air. Holding station out at sea for over an hour is not an easy operation. Mike finally got the harbour master to agree to 5pm on the basis of our lifting keel.

Bannf turned out to be a very small marina… serving the needs of very small fishing boats and small yachts enclosed by  huge stone walls which looked very 18th century. Space was very limited, manouvering was out of the question…. you could only go in a straight line …. forwards or backwards. So with keel up we navigated to very tight corners and two very narrow entrances. We finally moored up on a strange hammer head berth at 5.15pm. Looking around the marina, it was clear that we were the largest boat in Banff marina.

Banff Marina on the south coast of the Moray Firth. You can see straight away why Poli Poli is the odd one out…. the tallest mast gives it away. Tomorrow we have to reverse through that narrow gap behind Poli Poli in the photo…. somehow turn her round to go out to sea… note rocks.

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Distance sailed from Wick to Banff: 53.8 n. miles.

Total distance sailed from Eastbourne to date: 1,979.9 n. miles.

Another photo of Banff Marina in Aberdeenshire. She does look somewhat out of place…. yet Poli Poli is not a big yacht by South coast standards.

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Friday…. 7th September 2018. A rest day forced upon us by a red line and strong wind warning. A deep low pressure cell has formed in the North Sea. Getting out of Banff marina by reversing back through two narrow entrances and then a tight right handed turn back out to sea… with rocks on one side would require much more settled weather conditions than we have had today…… and of course, a bit of high tide water in the actual marina!

Tomorrow Saturday 8th September, we will try for the port of Peterhead.

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