A Change Of Latitude

We’ve just returned from two weeks in the western isles of Scotland, carrying out a short basking shark survey, our first in the area since 2006. Fortunately for us, the weather came good, and we had two weeks of light to moderate winds, with just the odd bit of wind

The Best Of The Old World

It has been so good to be underway again, after a long, forced spell ashore. Not that it wasn’t without its positive side, but there are only so many weeks in a boatyard you can endure, even when it’s in a country as warm and friendly as Portugal. And it

Sailing The West Coast Of Scotland, Part 2

Sailing ‘off-grid’ is all about getting away from the crowds, and the west of Scotland can certainly offer that – during my first fortnight in charge of a charter boat in the Hebrides back in the spring of 1992 we saw one other yacht in two weeks. And in those

Sailing The West Coast Of Scotland, Part 1

A hardy perennial in sailing magazines has always been some well-known individual describing their ‘favourite secret anchorage’. I’ve never fully understood the rationale for taking part in such an exercise.  After all, if it’s no longer a secret, won’t that make it as busy as any other place as a

Glenarm, Ireland

I’ve only ever seen one sailing magazine article by the great writer and sailor Jonathan Raban, but the first sentence of that article may explain why: “Marina is a word like rubella—it sounds far nicer than the thing it describes.” And for many marinas, maybe that’s the truth. Practical, convenient, yes, but it would be hard to describe what in many cases is just a boat park, in other than utilitarian terms.

Shetlands And Iceland, 2003

Well, we finally made the break from Norway and leaving was as hard as we expected it to be. Especially since we left the coast at Ålesund, one of the most beautiful of Norwegian cities and especially beautiful in the long golden light of late evening with a perfect rainbow framing the city thrown in for good measure!

Leaving Norway, 2003

Our last newsletter ended with our decision to spend a second winter in Tromsø. What a good idea that was: We cemented the friendships we made our first winter and made new friends; we improved our skiing, though we are still nowhere as good as the Norwegians; and we realized that Tromsø, Norway, and Norwegians, have worked their way into our hearts.

Finnmark And Arrival In Svalbard (Spitsbergen), 2002

As I write this we are anchored in a small harbour formed by an old moraine, on the west coast of Spitsbergen, about a mile from the snout of a glacier. It is very different than Greenland in that the glaciers are much less active (smaller ice cap) and so we can get a lot closer to them. There is a bit of ice sloshing about with the tide, but generally small pieces, so not too much of a worry.

The Dark Time, 2002

The sun has returned to North Norway and we are out sailing again, although there is little sign of spring yet: The locals say that if you can walk on the crust of the snow on June 15th it will be a late spring! Yesterday was our first sail of the season, a boisterous beat into 20 to 25 knots through a wide fjord surrounded by snow-covered peaks. Beautiful, but we were glad to get in and retire below to the heater.

Lofoten And Vesterålen, 2001

Well, Morgan’s Cloud came to Tromsø, and so did winter. We tied up at our winter berth last Saturday, October 20th, and were greeted with 6″ of snow over the next several days. Needless to say, we were hoping to have at least a week’s grace to get the boat ready for winter before the snow came.

Arrival In Norway, 2001

We are finally in Norway after 14 months of trying—we initially sent off our application for temporary residence in May of 2000 and we received our permission, ten months later, in March of 2001, just as we were leaving our winter home at St. Katharine Dock, London, England.