Life at the end of the road

September 27, 2012

Watching the ships go by :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:03 pm

Seven PM and a clock has just stuck somewhere to the west or north, that will be the one I heard last night at 4:00am so I’m not going nuts after all Smile You can tell that the weekend is approaching as the ‘Village’ is getting busier, though still no sign of any penny farthings or Mini Mokes yet Smile

1965 Austin Mini Moke 

However, on the subject of unusual modes of transport I’ve just seen one heading to Gdansk, probably full of Nissan’s


The ‘City of St Petersburg’ is (and I hate this word) an ‘eco friendly’ car transporter with a rather unusual, for a ship at least ‘round nose’ which is claimed to reduce wind resistance by up to 50% and save 800 tons of fuel a year.

It’s also to save the environment some 2500 tons of CO2, though the logic of that escapes me somewhat, how do you get 2500 tons of CO2 in 800 tons of fuel?? Strikes that Nissan would save a whole lot more CO2 if they left the cars in the UK and we shipped 2000 less ‘Kia’s to Newcastle’ so to speak Smile Still, it’s good to see them making an effort, even if it is only a PR one and it’s good to see something being exported and not imported from China Smile

The 21,000 ton car carrier was not the only unusual ship I saw



you could hardly describe Frederlink’s container ship Clonlee as attractive

MV Clonlee

or indeed the DFDS Princess Seaways

004 She plies between Newcastle and Ijmuiden in Holland and has the distinction of being the same age as my Land Rover and the Loch Striven, 1986!!!!! Though she was originally launched with the ridiculous name of Peter Pan so perhaps she’s just not grown up yet Smile

Anyway, that’s just about it from down here in ‘The Republic’, it’s not quite 20:00 and I’m gonna sit down in front of a DVD, the last of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s masterful trilogy ‘Three colours red’

It’s still wrapped in the cellophane and wifey bought it me as a birthday present many years ago Sad smile If it’s anything like ‘Blue’ and ‘White’ it will be awesome Smile

Whoops, there’s a catalogue inside from 2003!!!! so I’ve probably had it since long before I hit fifty Smile

But just before I go and that infernal clock strikes eight I’ll show you my days labours at the college



I have to say that I’m really proud of it but can’t help thinking that my time would not have been better spent learning about computers, if this new ferry breaks down it will be a satellite link to Holland or Sweden that is required and not a hacksaw and file, as you can see I can already use one of those Smile


  1. H Paul, Why would you need to ask Sweden or Holland for help if the ferry is being built in Hunter’s Quay? Or are they only building the hull? Can’t help feeling it all sounds pretty horrible down there but they say a change is as good as a holiday so it’s probably doing you good! Get your Skype up and running & Molly will be able to wave to you!

    Anne Macdonald

    Comment by Anne Macdonald — September 27, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

    • Hi Anne, the generators, which are in effect the main engines can only really be fixed with a direct satellite (or at least Internet connection) to the mainframe in Sweden. All the control systems are supplied by a Dutch company so I’m pretty sure the same will apply.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 27, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

  2. Nice to see that at least you can still see ships and get info on them.
    Your metalwork skills are certainly up to scratch, looks machine made which I think is the highest praise I can give to you.
    Enjoy the DVD and hopefully a good nights sleep!


    Comment by Thomson Caravans — September 27, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

    • Hi Graham, the DVD was great, my eyes are red raw with crying and how I love films with subtitles 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 27, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

  3. you’ve found a great vantage point for watching the shipping … is that from The Village or from the College ?

    Comment by cazinatutu — September 27, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    • Hi Caz, the view is from my Thompson window 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 27, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

  4. Re: how do you get 2500 tons of CO2 in 800 tons of fuel?

    From my resident secondary school science teacher – the mass of the combustion byproducts is in laymans terms the fuel + the oxygen consumed in the reaction. Nissans claim looks plausible.

    Comment by Matt — September 27, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

    • You’re dead right Matt, I just Googled it 🙂 Still think they’d have saved far ore CO2 by not sending the cars to Poland though 🙂 and better still leaving the KIA’s in Korea 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 27, 2012 @ 9:08 pm

  5. Don’t think of it as “learning computers”, no. Think of it instead as putting the Foxcomm computer specialist out of work!

    Comment by drgeo — September 27, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

  6. Hi Paul, Good to see you “settling in” at the extortionately priced caravan park. I’ve been on these sort of courses where you find yourself wondering just “WHY” and then finding as things progress that – yes, this is interesting and I am learning something I didn’t know. The very fact that your tutor/s take the approach that they do can ease things greatly. I’m sure that when you get a chance to “educate” them on how life on an island works – especially “off grid” – jaws may drop. They might even want to visit just to see if it’s all true. They’ll probably come anyway just to see the ferry “in action” then check you out. I’ve now moved from Skye to the “far east” of Scotland and like you am living in a caravan – of 1989 vintage – till I get the house “fixed”. I’ve lots of friends on Skye so I’ll be back – maybe via Raasay – visiting from time to time.

    Anyway, all the best and cheers for now, Arthur. (Vintage gas lamp supplier)

    Comment by arthur — September 27, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

    • Glad you got sorted Arthur and hope you’re not in that caravan for too long 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 27, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

  7. Hi Paul

    I reckon the loch striven could save a few tonnes of co2 if the crew wore aerodynamic pointy headgear, like cyclists. You would of course have to always face into the wind to get the benefit.

    My brother Matt beat me to the explanation of co2 versus carbon – I spend my working life counting co2 savings for SSE.

    Nice bit of filing and sawing, will you be allowed to make something useful on your course? Must be very frustrating making practice pieces when you could be doing something worthwhile.


    Comment by stephenmillward — September 27, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

  8. Chuckle chuckle chuckle. did you blue it first so the scriber marks show up better that was how I was taught. brings back a few memories of my apprenticeship.

    Comment by Yorkshire Miner — September 28, 2012 @ 8:23 am

    • Hi Dave, things have moved on from ‘engineers blue’ though I did spot a tin, they now use a friggin great felt chisel tip pen, much cleaner and simpler 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 28, 2012 @ 11:56 am

      • Cleaner and simpler, chuckle chuckle chuckle, what’s the betting that they have included a computer chip in that pen somewhere too control the flow so that the thickness of the layer is consistent and uniform. A paint brush and a few minutes on the radiator worked well for this Neanderthal. Keep up the good work, you make my day when I switch on my computer in the morning.



        Comment by Yorkshire Miner — September 28, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

  9. Ever the prof, I was going to explain the CO2 post, but someone beat me to it. But I’m glad to see that they still give fitter’s metalwork/fabrication tests. I thought all that stuff went out the window with laser cutters and 3d printers and wotnot.

    Comment by mick — September 28, 2012 @ 9:44 am

    • Hi Mike, ‘that stuff’ would be great for school leavers 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 28, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  10. Paul, this could be of interest to the guys who are building your new ship!
    It could be a whole lot cleaner than conventional diesel!

    Comment by Mike Cunningham — September 28, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    • Hi Mike, I think it is being looked into, not for ours but for future builds.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 28, 2012 @ 11:51 am

      • LOL, I quite like the idea of a tribrid YM, not greatly complicated in the O/A scheme of things!
        Interesting idea on the H2 front, but when you bring in anICE … commonly 35% efficient that 80% drops to 43%O/A. Hi-purity H2 from electrolysis is a distinct possibility, and has been discussed on the fora of AFC Energy and on Proton Power Systems, currently running at >60%
        Methane is easily made using the Jean Pain method and has good by-products too!
        Sorry to kidnap your blog a wee bit Paul!

        Comment by Mike Cunningham — September 28, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

    • Mick what you have to say is quiet interesting unfortunately it would only complicate the workings of the ferry by adding a new fuel source, You would not only have a hybrid you would have a trihybrid. Make a thing more complicated and and it becomes more prone to breakdown, because of the no. of parts. I can’t remember if it is Volkswagen or Audi that has just opened a pilot plant in Germany to test the feasibility of using cheap wind generated electricity to split water into its component part of hydrogen and Oxygen and combine the Hydrogen, with Co2 in the air to produce Methane. It looks to have an al round efficiency of 80% which is good enough. A ferry running on pure compressed Methane would a far better bet as far as I am concerned Most natural gas systems because they source there gas from gas wells have quiet a lot of impurities in them CO CO2 etc These impurities tend to reduce the efficiency of Fuel cells. A couple of 1M/W wind turbines on Raasay should be more than enough to supply Raasay with all the clean energy to run its ferry, cars and heating and cooking for the next 1,000 years

      Comment by Yorkshire Miner — September 28, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

  11. Paul, you may have had a lucky escape… Nearly sent a raiding party from the peoples republuc of shields. Trouble is the lads are working and could not find any wode for there faces…

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — September 28, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

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