Nay posting this last couple of days, quite simply because I’ve been spending some time with the stranger that is my wife. Fourteen months of living out of bags has finally come to an end and on Wednesday morning I set off for work on Raasay for the first time since the middle of September 2012. Twenty two unbroken days of sleeping in my own bed followed by a commute down ‘Calum’s road’, I think we’re both in shock and keep waiting for the phone call that will once more drag me away, well I’m not going
It was such a pleasure to get up on Wednesday morning, don my working clothes and tootle down the road in the ‘Old Girl’ to join the Hallaig. I wouldn’t have cared if I’d been joining a Chinese junk, it was just so good to be returning to some kind of normality. The weather was fine the wind fresh and it wasn’t even too dark when I arrived at a very busy harbour. As well as the two Raasay ferries shuttling in and out there was much activity from Ferguson Transport’s ex tank landing craft ‘Harvest Anne,
who was on hire to the council.
The busy workhorse was running backwards and forwards constantly with tar lorries for the ‘youth hostel road’ which was getting some 600 tons of new road surface deposited on it.
The good ship Hallaig however was due to carry out anchor trails under the watchful eye of Lloyds and the captain had decided to conduct them just to the north of Sgeir Cnapach off Oscaig.
Choosing a patch of ground that I knew very well, too well in fact for it was here that I suffered a bend whilst clam diving some eighteen years or so ago. An incident that ended up in a helicopter ride, ten hour decompression on oxygen and a night under observation in hospital. It also gave me a new insight into my own mortality and changed forever the way I view life. Today however I’d bee keeping dry whilst the 750kg gave a few scallops a headache as the 499GRT Hallaig dragged its anchor over them in the 45knot wind. The day was in fact turning in to pure minger
luckily south wind is probably the best direction for Sconser, where we went to pick up the BBC. Of course as soon as the press were on board the day really ‘went to 5h1t’ and the total silence of a Hallaig propelled purely on batteries was lost in the force nine gusting ten southerly ‘severe gale’. The planned filming of her arriving on the Raasay slip abandoned in favour of returning to the berth and putting out four stern lines, two head lines and two springs . One of those parting like a gunshot and leaving me with sore hands, not to mention boots full of water. Still it was a great ‘shakedown’ for the new vessel and her crew.
Wi Fi too
Today was probably less windy but colder and with less of the wet stuff, though some of it did fall very noisily as hail. Many of the yard workers departed, as did the ‘passage crew’ leaving us to do some cleaning up, paperwork and recover from an unexpected blackout. For at some point during the early hours both power and internet had gone off on Raasay. Well it had at parts connected to the national grid anyway we at the north end DO NOT suffer from power cuts, and if we do they’re for minutes only. Our internet is also faster and more reliable too now, the joys of ‘self sufficiency’ in energy
Anyway it proved an interesting exercise in resetting the various trips and rebooting systems on our hi tech hybrid ship
Doesn’t she look lovely now with all her fresh paint and signage.
The latest addition to the CalMac fleet has also been having a WiFi network fitted on board for the customers.
This chap was only supposed to be sorting out the software so turned up without a ladder, luckily I have one on the back of the Land rover
Of course I carried out a ‘risk assessment’ first, obtained a ‘permit to work’ cordoned off the area, wore a safety harness and made the installer sign a disclaimer Well it was either that or send him away without fitting the stuff