Friday, 13 April 2018

Our boat bequest dilemma and the return of the missing brush


Photo of Ravensdale at Maryport Marina, Cumbria, UK

An early morning shot of Ravensdale at Maryport Marina, Cumbria, UK


We’ve spent a lot of time thinking this week – about where we want to be for the next few years and what happens to our boat when we die.

Phil and I are trying to sort out our wills and are struggling to work out how to deal with our 43ft seagoing cruiser Ravensdale.

We’ve also been missing the Scottish mountains, having lived in the Highlands for 16 years before selling our house and moving onto our boat 17 months ago.

We’ve been based at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK, ever since, but we’re now looking at marinas in Scotland with a view to heading up that way.

We’re also considering a move to Wales, where we’d be closer to our families.

Meanwhile, we’ve been totally amazed by the reappearance of a deck brush that Phil lost overboard while cleaning Ravensdale in the marina last week.


Our will dilemma


The death of a fellow liveaboard has left us trying to decide what happens to our boat when we die.

For some time, Phil and I have been thinking that our wills needed revising as they were written 18 years ago.

There have been many changes in our lives since then, the biggest of which was probably selling our house and buying the boat that is now our home. If one of us went first, the boat would go to the other one. Our concern is what happens if we both go together. 

Photo of our Neptunus 133 at Maryport Marina

Our Neptunus 133 at Maryport Marina


We can’t help thinking that leaving someone a boat, or even a part share in a boat, is very different to leaving them a house.

For a start, selling a house is usually considerably easier than selling a boat.

Also, a boat costs a small fortune in mooring fees, insurance and maintenance that would have to be financed until she was sold, which could take months or even years.

I’ve heard it said that you only leave a boat to your worst enemy. Thankfully, we don’t have any of those (as far as we’re aware 😊) and we certainly wouldn’t want Ravensdale to become a millstone around the necks of any of our family.

I posted a question on a couple of Facebook liveaboard groups in the hope that someone had found a good solution to this problem and got a wide variety of answers.

As always, I was amazed at how helpful other folk are when we ask for help and advice and amused, but not in the least bit surprised, by the number of people who offered to solve our problem by taking Ravensdale off our hands when we go 😊

Some even offered to take ownership of her now, but I pointed out that we’re hoping to spend many more happy years living aboard before she needs to be rehomed. 

Photo of Phil and I enjoying some winter sunshine on Ravensdale's foredeck while at anchor

Phil and I enjoying some winter sunshine on Ravensdale's foredeck while at anchor


And a few people recommended a Viking funeral, which could be appropriate given my husband's Norwegian roots 😊

The sensible suggestions included asking our families whether they would want her, which we’d intended to do anyway, but we were trying to get a clearer picture of how it could work before asking them.

Others put forward the idea of leaving her to charity, which is a definite possibility if none of the family wants to take her on.

Another option was to set up some sort of trust fund to pay her expenses until she could be sold and the money raised could then be divided as stipulated in our wills.

We’ve now spoken to our relatives about this and are planning to take legal advice on the best way to ensure things go smoothly when we're gone.

Having written this, I’m feeling a little bit guilty talking about Ravensdale in this way. I sort of feel I should be covering her ears, so she doesn’t hear our discussions about her future 😊


The Swan Man


It was the death of Phil Lee, who became known locally as the Swan Man because he fed the pair of swans that were regular visitors to our marina, that set us thinking about our own wills.

Photo of the Swan Man with the swans at Maryport Marina

The Swan Man with the swans at Maryport Marina


I attended his funeral last month and we offered to scatter his ashes at sea if that was what the family wanted.

We got to know his sister, who’s his only surviving relative, while she and her husband were here removing his belongings from his boat.

They’re not boating people and are having to deal with things like mooring fees, insurance and selling the boat, which is now on the market.

And they’ve left an urn containing his ashes with us to take out to sea next time we go.

Meanwhile, the swans have still not returned since he died and I volunteered to feed them, but I’m sure they’ll be back once the nesting season is over.

Photo of a cygnet hitching a ride on Mum's back

A cygnet hitching a ride on Mum's back


And, when they return, I’m hoping they’ll bring their cygnets with them as they did last year.


Marina thoughts – do we stay, or do we go?


Every time I see photos of the Scottish mountains, I have a hankering to return.

Photo of Phil and I at the summit of 3,274ft Ben More Assynt in April 2007

Phil and I at the summit of 3,274ft Ben More Assynt in April 2007


This week, I asked Phil if he felt the same way and he said he did.

We first moved to Scotland in 2000 because we loved the mountains and the stunning landscapes. And we spent a lot our free time while living there out in the hills.

During that time, we lived in Sutherland, Easter Ross and latterly near Fort William in Lochaber, where I never got tired of seeing Ben Nevis on my way to work every day.

This conversation set us thinking about whether we should consider moving our boat up to Scotland, so we’ve been researching suitable marinas that would give us easy access to the hills, including the possibility of Tarbert in Argyll, where we have friends with boats.

Photo of Tarbert Marina on the west coast of Scotland

Tarbert Marina on the west coast of Scotland


We’re also looking at marinas in Wales – north Wales would mean we’d still be close to mountains, but west or south Wales would mean we’d be closer to my children and grandchildren and Phil’s brother.

Or we might just stay put as we like it here too.

Decisions! decisions!

But at least living on a boat, we can move our home anywhere we want without having to go through the palaver of selling one house and buying another 😊


Creatures of habit


Is it only me or do other people who regularly use the toilet and shower facilities at their marina tend to use the same one and consider it “their toilet” or "their shower"?

I know it’s unreasonable to even think this way.

Photo of the toilet and shower block at Maryport Marina

The toilet and shower block at Maryport Marina


However, if I walk into the toilet and shower block and somebody is in the shower I use, even if I’m not planning to have a shower at that time, I can’t help thinking: “There’s somebody in my shower!”

And it’s happening more often since the marina caravan site reopened at Easter.

Actually, I know it isn’t only me as I was speaking to a liveaboard from another marina recently who told me she’s exactly the same, which was a huge relief as I thought I was the only one 😊


Return of the missing brush


After two tides had come in and gone out again, the deck brush that fell overboard while Phil was cleaning Ravensdale Friday lunchtime, turned up at the far end of the marina on Saturday morning.

Photo of Phil washing Ravensdale with the brush that went missing

Phil washing Ravensdale with the brush that went missing


That would have been amazing enough, but even more so was its location and the way in which it had come to rest.

It was upright, leaning against the wall at the bottom of a flight of stone steps down into the water next to an old trawler, called the Sara Maria, which is more than 100 yards from our boat and right next to the marina gate.

Photo of the view from Ravensdale's aft deck showing the Sara Maria at the far end of the marina

View from Ravensdale's aft deck showing the Sara Maria at the far end of the marina


We can only think that the wooden handle was lighter than the head causing it to float in an upright position and it came to rest on a ledge at the bottom of the steps, where the head was tangled up in the seaweed.

Photo of Phil retrieving the brush from the other end of the marina

Phil retrieving the brush from the other end of the marina


As the handle had been out of the water for some time, it had almost dried out. Phil rinsed out the head in the marina water and it’s as good as new – well, not quite as it wasn’t that good when he lost it, but it’s no worse than it was.

And, as it was his favourite soft deck brush, which holds water, we were very happy to get it back.

We just couldn’t believe how and where it was when we found it.

How lucky was that? 😊


Pelican of London


I’ve been wanting to take a trip to Whitehaven Marina, which is about 15 miles from Maryport, ever since a tall ship, called Pelican of London, arrived there Easter weekend.

However, since then, most of the time the weather wasn’t good for photographs and, when it was, we were busy doing other things.

The light still wasn’t great on Monday, but we decided to go anyway as we also needed some cleaning materials from the chandlery at the marina as we don't have one here.

Photo of Pelican of London at Whitehaven Marina in Cumbria

Pelican of London at Whitehaven Marina in Cumbria


The 34.6m long, 21.2m high square rigger is a sail training ship based in Weymouth, Dorset, in the UK.

Built in 1948 as Pelican, she served as an Arctic trawler and then a coastal trading vessel named Kadett until 1995.

She is now used as a sail training ship. She has seven crew members and can take up to 32 trainees - Pelican of London



Other photographic opportunities



I haven’t been out for as many walks with my camera, as usual, this week but, when I did, I more than made up for it with the number of photos I took – more deleting required 😊


There was a lovely golden light during the evening on Sunday and some great reflections on the water in Maryport harbour around the time of the high tide.

Photo of a calm evening at Maryport harbour

A calm evening at Maryport harbour


Photo of rippled reflections of some of the fishing boats in Maryport harbour

Rippled reflections of some of the fishing boats in Maryport harbour


Photo of more colourful fishing boats in Maryport harbour

More colourful fishing boats in Maryport harbour


Photo of a fishing boat leaving Maryport harbour

A fishing boat leaving Maryport harbour



I also used the trip to Whitehaven as an opportunity to take photos of the marina, as well as Pelican of London. The light wasn’t great, but there was no way I could resist taking a few (OK, more than a few 😊) snaps while there.

Photo of Whitehaven Marina in the sunshine

Whitehaven Marina in the sunshine


Photo of another view of Whitehaven Marina

Another view of Whitehaven Marina


Photo of the sea lock at Whitehaven Marina

The sea lock at Whitehaven Marina


Photo of a wider view of Whitehaven Marina

A wider view of Whitehaven Marina



Marina wildlife



Although we haven’t seen the swans in the marina for about a month, a pair of mallards turn up from time to time looking for food and I feed them if they come near our boat.

Meanwhile, I’ve spent ages sitting on Ravensdale’s foredeck with my camera trying to get photos of the pigeons coming and going from the drainage hole in the harbour wall near our boat.

Photo of one of the pigeons sitting in the drainage hole

One of the pigeons sitting in the drainage hole


They've been nesting in there even though water pours through it from the road above whenever it rains and, up until now, it seemed to be working out fine for them.

Sadly, last night, after very heavy rain, the nest was washed down into the entrance of the hole. We have no idea whether there are eggs or babies in it, but there was nothing we could do to help.

Sadder still, it seems that they're planning to rebuild in the same place as we've seen them carrying nesting material into the hole this morning (Friday).



Photo of the pigeons' nest washed out of the drainage pipe

The pigeons' nest washed out of the drainage pipe


We’re also still keeping an eye out for the pair of otters that we saw playing in the water in the marina recently, especially in the evening, but we haven’t seen them again since.


Unseasonal weather



The weather here in Maryport hasn’t been very spring-like this week.


Even when the sun has come out, there has still been a cool wind, and there hasn’t been a particularly good sunset all week or, if there has, I’ve missed it, which is probably nearer the truth given my track record 😊


I took a couple of photos of a so, so sunset on Friday, but that was as good as it got.

Photo of sunset over Maryport Marina and caravan site

Sunset over Maryport Marina and caravan site


Photo of the view from Ravensdale's aft deck at sunset on Friday evening

View from Ravensdale's aft deck at sunset on Friday evening


Saturday promised to be the best day of the week, which was good as we had friends coming to visit from Scotland. It started calm, dry and reasonably sunny, but started raining late morning.

Sunday morning was sunny first thing, then the mist rolled in from the sea. It lifted late morning and the sun came out again. The daytime temperature peaked at 8.6C (47F), with a light southerly wind during the day, however, it moved around to northerly by 8pm.

It was fairly cool overnight Sunday/Monday with a low of 2.8C (37F).

On Monday, we had sun, then mist, then sun again, with very little wind, and the highest temperature recorded locally during the day was 10.4C (51F).

Photo of Monday morning mist at Maryport Marina

Monday morning mist at Maryport Marina


Monday night into Tuesday was one of the warmest nights yet, with temperatures ranging from 7C to 10C (44-50F).

Tuesday started calm, but the wind picked up during the day. We had north and east-northeasterly winds averaging up to 31mph and gusting up to 41mph. It rained most of the day with temperatures from about 6C to 8C (43-46F).

The temperature didn’t drop much overnight with a low of 5.1C (41F) recorded locally.

Wednesday was overcast and not particularly pleasant despite being the warmest day of the week, with the temperature hitting 12.3C (54F) at 5pm. It felt a lot colder in the north and northeasterly winds with a top average speed of 22mph, gusting 34mph.

Overnight Wednesday into yesterday (Thursday) was another mild night. Northeasterly winds up to 18mph were recorded during the night, which is not particularly high, but the boat was still rocking well due to the wind direction. The water was also making a lot of noise slapping again Ravensdale’s hull – lapping is good, slapping is not so good 😊



Photo of Phil wrapped up against the wind while filling Ravensdale's freshwater tank yesterday

Phil wrapped up against the wind while filling Ravensdale's freshwater tank yesterday


Yesterday was another mainly overcast and windy day, although the sun did attempt to come out a few times. with temperatures up to 10.9C (51F) but still feeling cool in the north and northeasterly wind. Last night was mild again and today (Friday) we woke up to rain, which stopped mid-morning.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Ravensdale is seaworthy again and ready for action


Photo of Ravensdale's engine room

Ravensdale's engine room - the heat exchanger pipe that held things up is top left


Three weeks after we removed the heat exchanger and intercooler from Ravensdale’s port engine for cleaning, she’s now up and running again.

But Phil only completed the job yesterday (Thursday), so we haven’t had a chance to take her out to sea yet.

Meanwhile, he's been cleaning her decks and hull again to keep her shipshape.

Photo of Phil pressure-washing Ravensdale's foredeck

Phil pressure-washing Ravensdale's foredeck


He has also replaced the window seals in the saloon and we’ve made a couple of purchases that will improve our liveaboard experience.

And otter watching - or rather watching for otters - has become our latest pastime.

Port engine heat exchanger is working again


Both Ravensdale’s engines are now in full working order so we can take her out to sea whenever we want.

She was out of commission while the heat exchanger and intercooler on her port engine were removed and cleaned.

Bad weather causing the boat to rock fairly violently delayed work in the engine room, then we had to wait for the parts to come back after we sent them away for cleaning.

We collected them and Phil refitted them over a week ago.

Photo of the perished seals that needed replacing

The perished seals that needed replacing

However, we then discovered that the seals attaching a pipe to the heat exchanger were perished causing a leak when the engine was running.

We ordered the parts, but the Easter break meant we had to wait longer than usual for delivery.

Phil fitted them yesterday (Thursday) and the engine is running perfectly while alongside.


We’re now waiting for good weather to coincide with the marina gates being open at a suitable time of day to take Ravensdale out into the Solway Firth to check both her 300hp Volvo Penta engines work equally well at sea.

Photo of Phil refitting the pipe to the heat exchanger

Phil refitting the pipe to the heat exchanger


The same work was carried out to her starboard engine earlier this year to cure an overheating problem.

After that job was completed, we discovered the port engine was also running hotter than it should have been hence the latest project.


Replacing window seals


The Beast from the East at the end of February and beginning of March revealed a new problem of which we had been previously unaware.

We discovered the shelf along the top of the cupboards on the port side of the saloon was getting wet. On investigation, we could see fine snow blowing in down the join between the fixed window and the one that slides open.

We then realised that the seal on that window was so badly worn that a small gap had opened up and the northerly wind was blowing the snow in through it.

We were unable to find exactly the right seals so ordered the nearest we could find. Sadly, they didn’t fit properly, so Phil filled the gap with black Sikaflex. He then placed the bought seal on top of the sealant and we didn’t touch the window until it had set.

Photo of Phil filling the gap behind the window seal with sealant

Phil filling the gap behind the window seal with sealant


Photo of Phil fitting the new window seal

Phil fitting the new window seal

He did the same thing with the matching window on the starboard side.

And both now seem to be working perfectly.

The windows still open and close and, unlike before, you cannot feel any draft if you hold a hand close to either of the seals when they're closed.

Hopefully, we won’t get any more snow coming in either 😊


Re-carpeting the galley


Photo of Phil fitting the new carpet

Phil fitting the new carpet

This week, we bought and fitted a new carpet in the galley to replace the old one that had become badly marked and was fraying at the edges.

It wasn’t in great condition when we bought the boat. We'd tried cleaning it with carpet cleaner, which improved the look of it a bit, but I always felt it let the boat down.

Recently, it was looking even worse, so we went and bought a remnant in a similar colour to the rest of the carpet on the boat.

Although the galley floor is a very small area, it's an awkward shape, so Phil cut the new carpet to fit using the one we'd removed as a template and he’s done a great job.



Photo of the newly fitted galley carpet

The newly fitted galley carpet


New aft deck furniture


All last summer, and the warmer sunnier days during the rest of the year, we’ve wished we had a table and chairs on Ravensdale’s aft deck.

And, at long last, we’ve got around to doing something about it.

Our local B&Q DIY store gives pensioners a 10% discount on Wednesdays, so I persuaded Phil to sign up for the scheme.

He was delighted when he was asked for proof that he was over 60, especially when he’s a good few years past that milestone birthday 😊

Photo of the new table and chairs on Ravensdale's aft deck

New table and chairs on Ravensdale's aft deck


Photo of me enjoying a coffee on our new aft deck furniture

Me enjoying a coffee on our new aft deck furniture

And, on Wednesday of this week, we bought a folding table and chairs made of acacia - a dense, durable hardwood that can withstand the elements and is often used in boat building. It's also a sustainable wood making it an eco-friendly choice.


It was pouring with rain on Wednesday when we made the purchase, so we waited until yesterday (Thursday), when the sun came out, and assembled them on our aft deck in the sunshine.

It was great being able to sit out and have our coffee in a civilised fashion, rather than just perching on the aft deck lockers.


Caravan site reopens


Photo of the Harbourside Caravan Park next to Maryport Marina

The Harbourside Caravan Park next to Maryport Marina


The nearby caravan site, which is run by the marina and shares the marina facilities, opened for the 2018 season on Good Friday.

The first two camper vans arrived during the afternoon and it was very busy over the Easter weekend.

It can accommodate 10 caravans or campervans and was almost full on Saturday and Sunday.

We’re obviously pleased to see it doing well for the marina, but it means the toilets, showers and laundry are busier than during the winter months, which can be a bit of a pain.
The caravan park was created last year, but no new facilities were provided for it.


Ex trawler towed away

A former trawler that was moored up in Maryport Basin, just outside the marina gate, was towed away in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The boat, called Samenwerking, is the home of a couple and their four dogs.

Photo of Petronella alongside Samenwerking before towing the former trawler to Scotland

Petronella alongside Samenwerking before towing the former trawler to Scotland


It was due to leave on the high tide around midday on Saturday, but it was too windy, so it left on the next high tide, just after midnight on Sunday morning.

We went down to the far end of the marina to watch it go – and to take photos, of course 😊

Photo of the two boats preparing to leave Maryport

The two boats preparing to leave Maryport


Photo of the former trawler beside Maryport Pier on its way out into the Solway Firth

The former trawler beside Maryport Pier on its way out into the Solway Firth


She is now settled in her new home at Palnackie in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.


Marina wildlife


We’re still waiting for the swans and the little black and white magpie duck to return to the marina.

However, a pair of mallards have been in looking for food, so I didn’t disappoint them 😊

Photo of the ducks that paid us a visit yesterday (Thursday) afternoon

The ducks that paid us a visit yesterday (Thursday) afternoon 


Meanwhile, we were delighted to spot a pair of otters playing in the marina on Tuesday evening.

We watched them through our binoculars from Ravensdale’s foredeck and I could clearly see that there were two of them.

They then moved around out of view, so I got my camera and we walked out along the next pontoon to look for them.

We were creeping along the pontoon as quietly as we could when there was a huge splash right next to me and I nearly jumped out of my skin. Just as well I wasn’t too close to the edge or I might have ended up in the water with them 😊

I’m sure it was at least one of the otters, but we never saw them again.

We’re now keeping an eye out for them and I’m hoping to get a photo asap.


Photography - fishing boats in Maryport Harbour

Easter Sunday started out as a beautiful sunny day and I couldn't resist taking a walk around the harbour with my camera while Phil pressure-washed the boat.
I came home with literally hundreds of photos of the colourful fishing boats here. Sadly, I didn't manage to get all their names so I've had to use their numbers for the captions on some of them. 

Photo of Destiny - one of the fishing boat in Maryport Harbour

Destiny - one of the fishing boat in Maryport Harbour


Photo of Silver Fern - another of the local fishing boats

Silver Fern - another of the local fishing boats


Photo of Sincerity and Our James

Sincerity and Our James


Photo of Winsome and RI475

Winsome and RI475


Photo of BH44 and CT20

BH44 and CT20


Photo of MT123 and E50

MT123 and E50


Weather round-up


The past week has been generally a little warmer than previous weeks which, as usual, meant more rain, coupled with high winds.

But we’ve also had a couple of lovely sunny, spring-like days.

We had rain overnight Friday/Saturday and it was very windy on Saturday morning.

This coincided with a fairly high tide of 8.8m – the highest we’ve seen since we’ve been in Maryport, Cumbria, was just over 9.2m.

Photo of Maryport Marina at high tide on Saturday

Maryport Marina at high tide on Saturday


Sunday was much calmer, with sunshine, blue skies and fluffy white clouds in the morning. However, it clouded over soon after lunchtime and a cold wind blew up later in the afternoon.

Photo of fluffy white clouds over Maryport Harbour on Easter Sunday

Fluffy white clouds over Maryport Harbour on Easter Sunday


The wind dropped off overnight but it remained quite cool. The lowest temperature recorded during the night was 2.2C (36F) at 6am.

Monday was cold, wet and windy. The boat was rocking well, particularly when the marina gate was open. The highest temperature recorded locally during the day was just 3.6C (38F), with an easterly wind averaging up to 22mph and gusting to 33mph.

I was going to cut Phil’s hair that day but had to put it off as the boat was rocking too much, so spent most of the day sorting through and processing photos I’d taken over the preceding days.
We woke up to pouring rain on Tuesday morning, which continued until the afternoon. The sun then came out and the temperature rose to a much more pleasant 9.3C (49F), although it remained pretty windy, with average speeds of up to 21mph, gusting 31mph.

Photo of the view through Ravensdale's saloon window on Tuesday morning

The view through Ravensdale's saloon window on Tuesday morning


Overnight Tuesday/Wednesday was a mild night, with temperatures only dropping to 5.7C (42F).

The strangest thing on Wednesday was the wind, which had been coming from the south overnight. Up until 3am, we had a southerly wind averaging up to 14mph and, by 11am, it had turned right around to a northerly wind. The highest average wind speed recorded during the day was 31mph, gusting to 41mph.

Overnight Wednesday into yesterday (Thursday) was much colder, with the temperature going down to 0.9C (33F), and the wind dropped considerably to 5mph by 6am.

This was followed by a beautiful sunny day with very little wind – just right for trying out our new table and chairs on Ravensdale’s aft deck.

Photo of Maryport in the sunshine yesterday (Thursday)

Maryport in the sunshine yesterday (Thursday)


Last night was fairly mild, with the temperature dipping to 5.4C (39F) just before dawn.

This morning (Friday) and much