Life at the end of the road

October 2, 2020

In and oot the dock :-)

Almost 21:00 now and I’m not in my bed at the Holiday Inn yet but perhaps that’s not a bad thing Smile Nope, I’ve just finished a real home cooked ‘lockdown’ special like I’ve not eaten since a barrel of oil cost less than a bulk pack of toilet rolls and pasta was distant memory on supermarket shelves.


Nope, tonight I’m dining alone aboard Hallaig cos no one else but me would eat anything like this Smile Still, it was all I had left in the fridge and I’m not one to throw food away. Consequently I turned a courgette, aubergine, some cherry tomatoes and five Arnish eggs into something loosely based on a frittata liberally doused in salt and chilli flakes. Wasn’t bad really and I’m sure it’ll have been better that the generic hotel fare served up by the Holiday Inn that will be sustaining me for the next 10 days or so. And why are we still aboard the good ship Hallaig and not in a comfy hotel room?

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Well, we are sat in the James Watt Dock just opposite the 150t Titan crane cos there was a ‘wee hiccup’ this morning. In fact there were quite a few, once Loch Shira had safely disembarked her cargo from Cumbrae and loaded up with more we slipped in her place to discharge ours.

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After that it was a slow foggy trip up the Clyde to Dales dry dock for our rendezvous at the dock gates.

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Well, that took a little longer than expected and we crawled by the Canadian Navy ‘oiler’ Asterix that was lying at ‘Ocean Terminal’ Greenock. However, the fog eventually lifted

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to reveal a perfect sunny day. The calm that had slowed the fog’s departure proving a welcome companion once the sun had baked off what the wind refused to move. A ‘textbook’ docking followed after which it all went ‘pear shaped’ and the massive 100 year old gates refused to close fully Sad smile

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Unable to ‘shut the door’ we had to go back out again and lie alongside at the James Watt Dock until the engineers got it sorted. Dunno who the other ‘oiler’ belongs to but obviously something to do with ‘Joint Warrior 2020’

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Still, there be plenty for us to do and we are in good company with the Hebridean Princess just ahead of us. So, we’re still floating and aboard Hallaig and I’m off to bed Winking smile

October 17, 2018

Floating my boat :-)

Home at last, it’s been a great docking but there’s nothing like home and a whole month off ahead of me.


Storm Callum had left a broken whirligig in his wake but aside from that, a few less leaves on the trees and a scattering of misplaced buckets and plant pots, all seemed well.

Hallaig and Isle of Arran out Loch Dunvegan in

I would have got something ‘down on paper’ so to speak on Monday and Tuesday but Monday was a late one and yesterday I was driving through the night to get to Sconser. Like Sunday, Monday was a ‘pure peach’, just as well cos it was the day we ‘came out’ to let the Dunvegan in.


It was ‘all go’ from our start at 8:00am with the sludge tanker ready to empty our ‘bilge holding’ and ‘dirty oil’ tanks.

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We received the ultimate complement off the tanker driver and sucker man who both said that our bilges were the cleanest they had ever seen on a CalMac ship. Mind you, I had spent the best part of two days cleaning them it should have been no surprise.

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No wonder I was mightily miffed when the service engineers from Tyco dumped a couple more hundred litres of water in them testing the various sprinkler systems Smile Still, at least they did the mess room ones into a bin and they did ask if it was OK Smile

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The upholsterers finished covering the lounge seating in a much more practical material.

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By early afternoon the dock flooding began and I got on with preparing the ship to sail, shutting and opening valves to let fuel into the generators and keep the sea out of the ship.


As soon as we had water around the generator ‘box coolers’ I fired them up one at a time checking fuel pressures and temperatures constantly until I was happy all was rosy. Once we are floating and clear of the blocks we got the OK to start the drives.


Unlike a regular propeller, the Voith Schneider unit turns constantly, even when the vessel is stopped so it’s important there are no blocks or debris in the dock to foul them.

Those are on the Striven, there are only 4 and they are smaller than Hallaig’s.

Boodly amazing things hey.

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As Arran and Hallaig prepared to leave Dunvegan arrived just astern of the fisheries research ship Alba na Mara that was heading for her berth next door in the James Watt dock.

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We came out under our own steam but Arran had a tug either end.

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The Bruiser and Battler pulling and steering her through the narrow entrance to the wet dock ahead of us.

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There wasn’t a lot of room to play with and the masters of all three vessels did a fine job.

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As soon as we were out Dunvegan went in under her own steam

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The dock gates and their hydraulic power pack.

It was a ‘late one’ on Monday with not much time for taking pictures but here’s Loch Dunvegan looking mightily small in the 200m long dock Smile

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Here’s the Border Force ‘Big Rib’ heading for her berth too.

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Back to Rainbows

So, that was it, I finally got home this morning to a newly decorated hallway Smile It grows on you Smile To be honest, I was so glad to be home I’d have liked anything Smile

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