The Friday night forecast was not good for our inshore waters area. It rained through the night and we woke on Saturday morning… to more rain and a strong north west wind. But the 6am met office forecast had modertated somewhat. Attending the showers ( facilities ) at 7.45am in Banff I was mistaken for the “watchman” and ended up helping the lovrely Scottish elderly lady work out the code on the ladies loos…. so that she could clean them… all in the pouring rain… plus of course, the grey, leaden skies and strong winds.
We had to make a plan to get out of the very small, crowded Banff marina and then to catch the east flowing tide to Rattray Head and then southwards to Peterhead…. about 35 n.miles. We departed Banff by reversing out along the harbour wall and then a three point turn in one of the gaps between pontoons…. and out into the most westerly part of the Moray Firth or Forth … which is it. We were observed by the locals…. some of whom gave us a cheery wave as we executed the ‘escape’.
Poli Poli about to depart Banff Marina on the Moray Firth.
A roly poly roller coaster ride followed as we surfed the tide and waves all the way past the big fishing port of Fraserburgh….. 9.9 knots at one point. We passed through a number of light rain showers whilst the entire landscape was one of shades of grey and gloom. Far away to the south we could see a little brightness…. which once we turned south round the lighthouse at Rattray Head….. turned into, believe it or not….. sunshine.
Not long after passing the lighthouse, we noted from the chart that we would be crossing over a large number of natural gas pipes on the sea floor. We assumed this was where the natural gas supplies came ashore from the gas fields in the North Sea. At the same time we spied what we thought was, at some distance a huge buoy, but turned out to be a security patrol tug. We maintained our course, but felt intimidated as it left its station and came rather close to Poli Poli…. with no radio contact or signal as to what it was or its function. Hey ho…. memories of being chased by a tug not so long ago on the north west coast of Scotland when trespassing into a submarine torpedo testing area!!
Peterhead Marina looking NW …the good view! Poli Poli mast height in competition with Moby Dick III.
We entered the huge harbour at Peterhead at about 4pm. The sun was shining and there was even some blue sky…. and the nor westerly had finally calmed down. After reporting in to Harbour Control by VHF radio we motored across the harbour to Peterhead Marina. Lots of space and plenty of “wriggle” room as we sailors call it. We berthed near a big German ketch called Moby Dick III…. on its way to Norway via the Orkney Isles. At 4.30pm Poli Poli was put to bed for the night.
Peterhead harbour looking north east showing the fish docks and fish market.
The marina is backed by two rather large sets of buildings….. one is a huge North Sea Oil refinery…. and the other, with the outer perimeter fence not 300 yards from the marina, by the high security Peterhead Prison. Nice.
Peterhead Prison above the marina.
Distance sailed today: 35.12 nautical miles from Banff to Peterhead.
Distance sailed from Eastbourne: 2,015. 02 nautical miles.