Life at the end of the road

December 29, 2013

Settling in

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry, weather — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:21 pm

At last, it feels like some kind of normality is being restored, the weather seems to be calming down, the days stretching ever so slightly and our new ship settling in nicely. I think we’d all be hard pushed to go back to a ‘Loch Class’ now, especially the folk who ‘would’ have been left behind on Saturday.  A whole bunch of cars and vans turned up at 12:15 along with the bin lorry, two or three of them at least would have been stuck on Raasay until 14:30 had they been journeying on the Loch Striven or Loch Linnhe.

Saturday was the first ‘long’ day I’ve done on the Hallaig and she managed it in ‘hybrid mode’ for the whole day, I was well impressed. The normal working day is pretty much 12 hours from ‘start up’ to ‘shut down’ but Saturday’s late ‘requested’ sailing can push that up to a 15 hour day. All the poor weather of late seems to have put folk off requesting the late sailing, at least on my shift, so yesterday was a real ‘eye-opener’ especially as at least three of the sailings were in the dark.

The ships ‘power management system’ acquires data over the course of the week and then depletes the batteries accordingly. The idea being to drain them over the course of the day evenly and share the load with the ‘in service’ generator. The great advantage of this over a regular ‘diesel electric’ PMS is that demand for extra power is supplied instantly by the battery bank rather than having to wait for another generator to ‘come online’. it’s called ‘peak shaving’ and provides great savings in fuel plus wear and tear on the generators. The PMS in ‘diesel only’ mode is excellent but generators are inevitably brought ‘on line’ early and switched off late due to warming up, cooling down and safety considerations. The ‘static generator’ of the Hallaig’s 740kwh of LiFePo4 batteries is instantaneous, free of harmonic distortion and can be shut down instantly.

Of course it comes at a price, the batteries aren’t cheap, don’t last forever and the technology (in ships at least) is pretty ‘cutting edge’, so there have been one or two glitches. However, they’ve been either resolved or are being resolved by the excellent technicians at

and TecSource 

who designed, built and provided such excellent back up for our new ship.

The only PITA as far as I can see is that it takes a good deal longer to start up and shutdown than the old ‘Loch Class’ so I’ve less time for blogging Smile


Normally I’d be leaving home in daylight at this time of year on a Sunday, I’d even feed the pigs before I left for work, but not now, no today I was away for just after 8:00, almost two hours prior to sailing. The old ‘Loch class’ could be ‘fired up’ in a fraction of the time and I didn’t have to put up with ‘ Sunday Worship’ on Radio 4, no I could usually leave it until ‘A Point of View’ or even ‘BH’ before heading south.



Still, by the time I got there and had her ‘flashed up’ it was a bonny old day



and the ‘Golden Dawn’ from Portree was making the most of it too.


It’s a while since we’ve had a day like this on Raasay and our day on ‘batteries only’ seemed to fit right in with the peace and quiet that has been missing of late.


Funny how a lovely day can suddenly wipe away the strain of a fortnight or more of continuous gales and rain Smile




A decent day had the washing gear out to power wash  away the salt and made the weekly boat drill


a far more pleasurable experience than of late.





The Penfold rock buoy in the Raasay narrows, a favourite clam diving spot of mine, or should I say a favourite spot of my skippers, for Willie Eyre would dump me in here, usually with an ebbing tide. He had a theory that the clam dredgers would ‘spill’ their dredges here as they turned, and like most of Willie’s ‘theories’ there was something in them Smile


Apart from all that, and the traditional ‘big breakfast’ I got on with routine stuff like topping up the ‘Aquamist’ water tank and filling up the fresh water tanks.



Actually, that’s a lie, the rest of the crew filled the fresh water tank, I just cancelled the alarm and told them to stop when it was full. Much to my amusement the tank indicator turned from blue to red when it was full Smile I do like this ship Smile


That was it really, I meandered home in the old girl, was treated to the customary Sunday roast by darling wife prior to all settling down around the kitchen table for a game of ‘Pass the bomb’ .

Pass the Bomb

Hardly ‘Grand theft auto V’ by your average teenagers way of thinking but a great laugh with two deaf people and several cans of cider Smile

Anyway, it’s way past my bedtime now so I’ll just leave you with the Raasay weather

weather 291213



which by recent standards has been exceedingly boring!!


  1. Good to see you happy, Paul!

    Comment by Sue — December 29, 2013 @ 10:26 pm

  2. Hmmmm, folks in Alaska have remote control car starters so they can stay inside the house until the heater has warmed the car. Too bad there isn’t a way for your home computer to awaken the Hallaig’s computer and ….at least get the coffee started.

    Comment by drgeo — December 29, 2013 @ 10:41 pm

    • If I’m not wrong, folks in Scandinavia have block heaters that keep the engine block warm so as soon as you turn the key the heater blasts warm air.

      Comment by bob — December 30, 2013 @ 1:00 am

      • Morning Bob, I seriously considered fitting one to the ‘Old Girl’ but it’s rarely cold here so near the sea.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 30, 2013 @ 5:59 am

    • Too bad indeed DrG 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 30, 2013 @ 6:00 am

  3. Paul do my ocd a favour and straighten that hanger on the 5″ pipe above the aquamist tank 🙂

    Comment by Charlie — December 30, 2013 @ 5:39 am

    • Morning Charlie and welcome,
      that hanger isn’t the only one that needs attention, they really annoy me too 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 30, 2013 @ 5:56 am

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