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  • Writer's pictureMark

Things could be worse.

When I press the buttons on this MacBook to type a blog or press publish on youtube after 30 or so hours of video editing, I don't really think about what happens next. I’m not really a ‘look at me’ type of person but what else do you want people to do when you post a blog or a video online? It’s a very strange world for a middle aged prick like me to be dipping his toes into and sometimes it’s the small things make you realise the reach of the www. The other morning my good friend Adrian sent me a picture of my blog on his computer screen some 460 nautical miles southeast of my current position. Yes I know! ‘Southeast’ and ‘nautical miles’ means I am far too far up my own sailing ass to be considered as part of the real world anymore! I know the www eats up miles in a millisecond but still, it was a picture that made me realise that each and every one of us can reach the world in a second from our office, our house, boat or from the toilet while we are taking care of other business. What a strange world we live in.

Ok, enough of that but can everyone please look at me now because I am about to post something!

Anyone who does read what I type or post on Youtube (and I know it is at least one) will have read plenty of times when I type ‘the weather didn't do as it was forecasted to do’. Whenever I say that, it’s because I have been disappointed! I guess that when the forecast is shite we simply believe it and don't go sailing so we don’t give it the chance to be wrong but we always give it the chance to be wrong after they say it will be right, if you know what I mean. However, this time it’s different.

That bad ass south-easterly that was meant to be coming seemed to lose interest and decided not to give us a huge blow, just a little blow but a blow, is a blow, is a blow, as they say. Because of this, we spotted a little window to leave Lochmaddy and sail up to Stornoway. The forecast suggested a force three to four lasting from yesterday morning until lunchtime and then for the wind to ease and go variable. Whenever ‘variable’ is mentioned in the forecast you have to appreciate that this is the met office using corporate speak and what they really mean is ‘ We ain’t got an effing clue mate’ but no one wants to hear the truth these days do they. The truth simply doesn't matter anymore.

Because of this forecast, we took the gamble! We casted off the lines at 5am yesterday and left Lochmaddy. We motored for an hour in almost zero wind. I remained positive and hopeful. It was 45 miles to Stornoway and I didn't want it to be a motor. I needn't have worried. By 5.45am the engine was off and the breeze was on! About eight knots of it to be precise. As is often the case, the forecast was wrong! The wind was more out of the southwest than the forecasted west and it didn't die. It kept building. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for being wrong! We had an epic sail! It started as a run in eight knots. By midway it was a reach in fourteen and by the end it was a beat in twenty-two. It was awesome and we trucked up to Stornoway and into the harbour. What a treat.

I love this place. There is something very special about it. We moored on the dock, met our neighbours and went for a beer. Unfortunately we were confronted by some oddities. We couldn't sit at the bar unless we were prepared to sit at what looked like a bank counter with a screen up and have our beer posted through a small letterbox and drink it whilst staring at the plastic. Bizarrely we could stand literally face to face with the barman, with no one wearing any masks, while he took our details in case the worse should happen and someone reports catching a cold in that pub. We were then shown to a table and enjoyed table service. It was all very strange but we were grateful of being able to have a beer on this fine piece of land even if we have run the incredible risk of being face to face with another human being without using any protection. Honestly, I remember the heady days when you only worried about unprotected sex. Now it’s unprotected talking. We’re surely doomed!

The other thing that could be worse is Asha. On reflection there have been many good things about Asha being onboard and she does have a good knack of surprising me.

I locked myself in the forward cabin today while I was editing a video but the smell brought me out. It seems that Asha can cook these amazing little mini apple turnover things. She cooked loads of them and I said that we should offer them around to the neighbouring boats. However, we all know that it’s a man’s prerogative to change his mind and I changed mine. There ain’t nobody getting none of them! Covid makes it far too risky to hand them to another human and besides, they taste far too good!

Stornoway lifeboat and a red sky. Taken at 22.45 last night. I love the light up here!

The view from the cockpit.

Little Polish delights!

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