Week 22 27 May – 2 June 2019 Papa Stour, Shetland – Kirkwall, Orkney 137 nm
27 May Monday Papa Stour
Some wind and rain during the night but almost sunshine as we woke up.
The forecast for sailing to Fair Isle wasn’t good during the start of the week, making us having a day at anchor. We took the dinghy ashore after breakfast. This time we toured the little “village”. Lots of abandoned houses and some converted to summer houses. A few farmsteads but we didn’t see a living soul. Even the little ferry terminal was closed. Got a feeling that the last person to leave locked and through away the key. But the sheep and birds were plentiful and we had a nice walk
Back in Moon we had a shower and lunch in the cold sunny weather between the drizzles. The weather is certainly governing our activities.
28 May Tuesday Papa Stour – Scalloway 22 nm
After having had a quiet morning with some squalls and gale force we weigh anchor and sailed for Scalloway. Half way we had good wind and direction, but had to use the engine the last couple of miles.
Moored in the yacht club onto a perfect pontoon, the height was just to our cap rail. Very unusual and very convenient. Only us and a 43 foot charter sailing boat with a crew of seven people where at the pontoon. We feel very spoiled when we see crowded boats close up!
Did a walk into town and had a pint at the hotel pub. Next to us was a couple from Florida and they told us that several Americans had seen the TV series “Shetland Police” and just had to visit the islands. We ourselves have recently seen the two latest seasons to get in tune with the dialect, which is English but not really!
Before we walked into town we started the laundry machine and after dinner in Moon we had done two machines including drying.
29 May Wednesday Scalloway – Voe of North Houss 10 nm
Had a quiet night at the pontoon and after breakfast we took the bus across to Lerwick to get provisioning. The shops in Scalloway seamed to have problems with being too close to the big malls in Lerwick.
First we visited a friend in Lerwick marina and then a tour to Co-op for groceries. The bus stop was almost as convenient placed as the one close to the yacht club in Scalloway.
Back in Moon we sorted our findings and then a short walk to visit the castle in Scalloway, finding a lamb shank at the butcher going back to Moon.
Late afternoon we cast our lines and motored a few miles south to be in a better position for Fair Isle tomorrow.
30 May Thursday Voe of North Houss – Fair Isle 33 nm
The wind didn’t start until nine, but shortly after that we were under sail and could sail all the way to Fair Isle in a fresh breeze from west.
Very nice to be able to see the goal, in spite it’s more than thirty miles away. Back home we are used to Denmark and its low ground. Here it’s like Norway with high mountains that can be seen from far distance.
The little harbour was empty when we arrived and we choose a spot out of the space for the ferry.
Soon came Strawberry, a Swedish boat we saw in Lerwick, and rafted on Moon.
And soon after came a French RM1200 and rafted on Strawberry. While all six were talking down in Moon about our experiences from sailing Scotland, having a welcoming dram, a man came and told us about a big yacht coming soon. We had to move to the ferry space and then raft on the big yacht, because the ferry comes at eight and stays over night.
After moving the boats we took a walk up to the lighthouse and were back just in time to move as the ferry approached the harbour. When everything had calmed down we and Strawberry were rafted on the big old sailing ship and the French guys were rafted on the ferry. Neither the ferry nor the big ship are going to move tomorrow.
31 May Friday Fair Isle – Otterrswick, Sanday Orkney 36 nm
Some swell in the harbour during the night due to lack of wind, in spit the swell in the ocean was across the harbour entrance. We took a long walk after breakfast to the south side of the island.
Unfortunately the bird centre had a fire in March and was completely burnt down together with the hostel and pub. Coming back to the harbour we visited the puffin colony. Nice close-ups on the cute little birds, very similar to the Pacific Horned Puffin.
After lunch down in Moon we decided to leave for Orkney. The main reason was the coming two days with southerly or westerly winds. On top of that two cruise ships were announced for tomorrow!
Shortly before two we were on route to Orkney. West side of Fair Isle had several colonies of Northern Gannet that we admired coming free from katbatic winds rushing down the steep hillsides.
Finally we were free from land effect and could sail an open reach towards Orkney. Full speed as the wind increased during the afternoon from near gale to full gale. Moon had most of the time more than eight knots through water, but over ground it varied with the tide. We had rain most of the time until shortly before anchoring at Sanday, Orkney.
The approach to Sanday became quite spectacular as we had two knots tide against following gale force wind and swell. We are during this type of situations very happy to have a hull of Koopmans design!
It was a tired and wet helmsman that was happy that the anchor sat well at the first attempt. The heater had been running for the last hour before anchoring, making Moon a warm and welcoming boat for a wet cruiser.
An hour after the anchor was set the wind decreased to a fresh breeze and we had a reasonable quiet night.
1 June Saturday Otterswick – Papa Sound, Stronsay 19 nm
Slept better then on Fair Isle although this anchorage was quite exposed. The new wind from west increased and we had strong breeze already in the morning. The wind driven waves was only half a meter why Moon almost didn’t move. It was cold so the heater had to work both for heat and to dry our wet clothes from yesterday. The rain stopped and a pail sun took over. The forecast for the coming days didn’t look good, headwind and lots of rain.
After checking the charts, wind and tide we left the anchorage for a clockwise turn around Sanday. The island bears it name and we had the opportunity to study the long sandy shoreline for a long time due to counter current of up to 5 knots Further south we thought we would have the tide with us but no It meant we would not be in time for the tide to Kirkwall today and choose to anchor in Papa Sound in time for dinner.
2 June Sunday Papa Sound, Stronsay – Kirkwall 17 nm in rain and strong breeze
Woke up to a rainy morning as the east, south east wind started. Yesterday while studying the tide charts we decided to do a clockwise turn around Stronsay but at that time the forecast showed southerly wind. Now this morning we found another possibility due to the more easterly forecast we now had. Following very close to Stronsay north coast behind all small islands we avoided the tide and could hoist the sails and had a perfect sail with the tide all the way to Kirkwall. Well in some areas between islands the tide changed direction up to 60 degrees and that gave us some odd headings to keep our COG.
By noon we were tied up at the pontoon in Kirkwall and had our lines taken by Strawberry.
Shortly after we left for Highland Park distillery together with the crew from Strawberry. The tour was nice and informative and we bought a bottle to put in our backpack together with two nice glasses (included in the entrance fee ). Later this evening we agreed to rent a car together with Strawberry for tomorrow. The forecast was not the best but at least not rain all the time and quite strong wind for the afternoon.
Our life is very dependent on wind direction and the tide.
Annika & Björn