After the frustration of breaking my skeg yesterday afternoon, I was up fairly early today to try and fix it. I had never undertaken this operation before but had been given expert instructions from Johnny who can fix or make anything you could think of. Once I found where to stick my 2.5mm alan key, removing the skeg and wire was easy, but the wire was in a sorry state. There’s a kink in my wire
Mackayak was keen to get out today so a small group rendezvoused in the boat shed. Icy roads were our main concern, as was the easterly wind and swell. We opted for St Margaret’s Hope as it has easy parking and a slip, perfect for getting Mackayak safely to the sea.
We thought we’d head to the Altar which is one of my favourite Orkney caves.
We launched from the Hope and headed to the west side of the bay, having to go round Needle Point as it was then dry. Turning west we had a light breeze behind us as the sun shone. This piece of coast isn’t in itself hugely interesting but today there were fantastic views across Flotta to the hills of Hoy which are still covered in snow (but guess who forgot their camera). Carrying on to the Dam of Hoxa, we were passed by the Longhope lifeboat heading out into the Flow. We could also see ‘the yellow thing’ so we went to investigate. It is yellow, is like a platform and has lots of big gauges, but I still have no idea what it does. Me at the yellow thing – but what does it do?! (photo- Mackayak)Yellow Harry, yellow Mary, yellow thing….. (photo- Mackayak)
We then carried on towards Croo Taing, playing in the small waves as we went. As we started to head towards Hoxa Head itself, we saw the Pentalina catamaran coming in and passed close to a fisherman tending his creels. At the head there was a fair swell around, but as there was no wind, it made it fun to play in. There are quite funny tides around the Sound of Hoxa so I think those may have contributed to the water state. I had lots of fun staying close to the rocks, playing in the rising and falling swell and went to investigate a few caves too.
Reaching the entrance to Widewall Bay, the wind could be seen coming over the Dam of Hoxa and the effects of the tide were visible here too. Conscious of time, Mackayak wisely suggested we turn back for home, with a stop on the way.
Yesterday, I tried making toast with a chef’s torch, only to discover that this was more than useless. Today, Peter whipped out an industrial sized plumbers’ blow torch instead! He had experimented with scones at home and found that the outsides got singed while the middle remained cool but the results were more promising than the previous attempt. Incognito toaster (photo Mackayak)Check out my tea loaf (photo Mackayak)
Although the outsides of the tea loaf did get a little singed, especially when Peter got distracted and set a piece on fire, the result was toast like and tasty. However, we all agreed that there is still room for improvement in the mobile toaster design.
Heading back towards the Hope meant paddling into a head wind, with me cursing my 16’ boat. Eventually we made it over to a more sheltered coast, turning into the Hope as dusk fell. We passed the Pentalina moored to our right and headed towards the lights of the village where the cars were parked.
All round a very relaxed and enjoyable trip in good company.
Tonight we had our first pool session of the new year. I started by practicing hip flicks off the side of the pool. Mackayak then realised she had forgotten her spraydeck and went home to get it, returning 10 minutes later with ‘the magic paddle’. So I tried rolling with the magic paddle and it was easy peasy, so I tried with her Werners (I don’t think anyone else would be allowed to borrow them!!!) and that was fine too. I tried a few more and realised that all my thinking about keeping my head down had really paid off.
Later, after Mackayak had rolled beautifully herself, I tried my wrong side, which bizarrely for me is my right hand side, despite being right handed. The ‘magic paddle’ was utilised again, and magic it was, then the Werners – clunky roll but I was up. Mackayak then had to leave and took both magic paddles with her. I rolled with a pool paddle on my left no problem but lost the right side completely. I tried a few times but couldn’t get it back so I went back to rolling on the left. I went round and round and round so many times, I now feel a little queasy! This week was a GOOD rolling week, but everyone knows the rollercoaster of rolling!
Oh and today I can just about talk, but I sound very, very, very husky indeed!