More years ago than I care to admit, I made my first foray into my favourite cruising ground, the western isles of Scotland. Not only did it have a special resonance for me as a Scot living in exile, but it also offered a vastly different experience from my usual haunts in the western Channel. [...]
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So how do you unwind from a long and challenging voyage across the Atlantic to Brazil by sailboat? Well, if you are Colin, you do a long and challenging science project by...you guessed it, sailboat.
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 and rain to remind us [...]
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 was even more enjoyable, knowing [...]
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 days there was a kind [...]
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 result? As someone once wisely [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Since our last newsletter, sent shortly after we arrived in Norway, our summer has evolved, some might say degenerated, into the slowest and most relaxing cruising we have ever done—a real contrast to our usual expedition style trips. Since our landfall in Norway we have traveled just 800 miles up the coast in two months. [...]
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. Then began the boatyard saga! We had [...]