Life at the end of the road

December 17, 2016

Full of festive cheer :-)

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry, Trucks and plant — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:34 pm

So that’s it, the last shift of the year is well underway, I joined a very happy ship on Tuesday evening.

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Not those two right enough, they’d already left, that picture was taken in the morning. Now wonder they were smiling, they were heading home for Christmas Smile To be honest I don’t mind working Christmas or New year, we get both days off and only have one sailing on Boxing Day and January 2nd so it really does shorten the shift. It’s usually good to get away from the ‘relies’ for a few hours too, nice to see the boys too and ‘spread the cheer’ once the ship is tied up as well Smile

Ripped off big time

Now, as anyone living in the Highlands will tell you, it’s not all roses, apart from the weather and the dreaded midge we also suffer from extortionate delivery charges. The one we received from a company in the North East of England recently takes the biscuit. Everything to do with a ship costs ten time the price of stuff you need for the home or car even if it’s exactly the same component. We regularly pay £253 for engine sensors that can be had for your car for £20!!! So it came as no surprise when we got a quote for this

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Siemens differential pressure sensor for £390!!! The best bit though was the delivery charge for something that would fit in a Jiffy Bag, £193!!!!!! I promptly emailed the company telling them it was a cooling pressure sensor weighing less than 1kg travelling 200 miles and not a 3phase cooling pump going to Timbuktu. I then arranged Hebrides Haulage  to collect it and deliver it to the ship for £30. Had it been for myself I’d have used Skye Express in Inverness It is quite often cheaper to get stuff shipped to them then dropped off here at Sconser. Returning to the Siemens sensor though, I had prices quoted of £630, £590 and £447!!!! Just goes to show, it pays to ‘shop around’, having said that £390 was the first quote anyway Smile

A busy spell

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Dunno about the other shift but on one morning we shipped two articulated lorries on the one ferry. The first time on the Hallaig as far as I know and there was room for a few cars and vans too.

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Luckily it was just cladding and insulation for the new distillery, had it been concrete blocks we’d have had to leave one behind due to the weight. As it was we got everyone aboard bar Ewan Bowman’s skip lorry.


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He came along on the 9:25 along with Ray Buckner’s Land Rover

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Ray, of Skye Mobile Welding was doing a job for the council on the pier. He was fitting some caps he’d made to the top of the pier fendering as our ‘forward spring’ kept getting caught in one of them at the spring tides.

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There’s been very little in the way of sunshine this last few days, indeed on Thursday it never seemed to get properly light, that small patch of sun above Suisnish being the most we saw in two days. My total PV generation from 4.75kW of panels for the month so far being a meagre 10kWh in 16 days. Wind has done much better at 219kWh but even that’s below last years 300kWh for the same period.

Still, our all electric off grid house is still nice and warm, just means we’ve had the generator running for an hour every day for the last six days Sad smile 

Saturday night now and that’s us just heading over to Sconser for the festive shoppers who’ve probably spent all their money in Inverness. It’s been a kinda quiet day really apart from this last sailing and I’ve made use of the time to do a little cleaning in the aft prop room machinery space. It seems to have developed a leak from the car deck

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through the hatch that allows the Voith unit to be removed without cutting a hole in the deck. It’s held in place by a dozen or so large bolts that whilst not in anyway loose benefitted from a bit of torque from a 46mm socket and very long bar. Running the car deck drencher pump for twenty minutes confirmed the leak was fixed.

Connecting to the grid

We do it every night and I thought you may be interested, three years I’ve been doing it and still it fascinates me Smile 

As soon as the Voith units shut down I press that green button and the generator synchronises to the grid by altering it’s speed slightly until it matches the grid frequency exactly. Then the shore connection closes and the generator connection opens. The generator carries on running for 60 seconds to cool down, meanwhile the charger and brake chopper contactors close followed by the battery switches. Once all those are closed the charging from the grid ramps up gradually to around 80/90 Amps depending on what day it is. Saturday and Sunday nights require less current as the charging period is longer.



  1. Have a good en Paul. All the best to you and yours

    Comment by Andrew — December 17, 2016 @ 8:45 pm

    • Lookin’ forward to it Andrew, Ferry night out tomorrow at Raasay House 🙂 Beer money courtesy of the copper anodes 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 17, 2016 @ 11:42 pm

  2. As well as adjusting the frequency it adjusts the voltage.

    Comment by Allan White — December 17, 2016 @ 10:33 pm

    • Methinks the voltage sorts itself out Allan, after all, it’s just a wee difference in ‘pressure’ 🙂 The ship (SYMAP) cannot connect to the grid if the grid voltage falls below 385V, above that it just ‘evens itself out’. At least that’s the way I see it.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 17, 2016 @ 11:41 pm

  3. have a great night out : )

    Comment by v8mbo — December 18, 2016 @ 12:12 am

  4. Hope you have a fantastic Christmas or at least a few quiet ones.. c

    Comment by Cecilia Mary Gunther — December 18, 2016 @ 2:49 am

    • Thanks Celia 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 23, 2016 @ 11:19 pm

  5. Have a great Christmas , no doubt there won’t be much down time for you over the holidays!
    Shudder to think what the price of a skip is there, being in the business myself. 😦

    Comment by mikewr — December 18, 2016 @ 10:47 pm

    • Hi Mike,
      skip business hey, you must find hunners of treasure in that line of work. I know people who spend all their time rooting through skips for old lead and Irn Bru bottles despite earning the best part of 100K PA. I kid you not 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 23, 2016 @ 11:19 pm

      • Paul, you’ve got to be quick off the mark to beat the guys who sort the skips straight off the truck. Magpies have nothing on these guys. “Eyes like a sh*t house rat” as one wag described them. 🙂

        Comment by mikewr — January 12, 2017 @ 10:36 am

  6. Hope you all have a very fine Xmas & New Year out in Arnish.

    Comment by Iain Patience — December 19, 2016 @ 6:27 pm

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