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 Justine's Journal

CackleTV Productions



 


Blown to Shetland
Friday, June 30, 2006



We made it to Shetland! We had 2 incredibly contrasting crossings, each of 28 nautical miles by the time we landed. The weather couldn't have been any calmer for the journey from North Ronaldsay to Fair Isle. There wasn't a breath of wind, and the sea was as smooth as velvet and a beautiful deep blue colour where the sky was reflected in it. We let the last of the flood tide tide sweep us to the east a bit before the flood tide swept us west for 4 hours. We chose our ferry glide angle and ended up in exactly the right spot at the SE corner of the approx. 3 mile long island. Although the tidal atlas shows that the tide is pretty much at right angles to our desired path, I think we actually had more tide against us than with us, as we travelled at an average of 3 knots ( slower than we'd have expected in such calm conditions). If I did it again I'd go 6 hours earlier on the last of the ebb as I suspect this would be a bit more favourable. However the way we did it meant that we arrived at Fair Isle just as the tides were reaching the start of a 3 hour slack-ish period ( just in case something had gone wrong with the navigation, or we'd been slower than expected). Eventually we landed at about 9pm after 9 hours in the kayak.

I was feeling a bit ill when we reached Fair Isle, with a sore back and tummy. the next morning I was worse. Alun called out the local nurse who diagnosed that I had a kidney infection. 2 hours later I was on antibiotics and drinking cranberry juice, but the whole of that day I felt week and had pains in my tummy. It was a beautiful bright day with very little wind ( perfect for crossing to Shetland) but I was in no fit state to paddle and we wanted to have a rest day and a bit of a look around Fair Isle, which is a beautiful island with thousands of birds - 10 different species breed there.


After an early-ish night I felt a bit better on wednesday but not really like kayaking 28 nautical miles. We decided to stay another day, but when we got a forecast we realised that our good weather window was slipping away. I felt a bit better and we decided to leave that afternoon. the tides were right for us at 4pm and we would actually get a bit of help from them on this part of the journey. We weren't worried about landing late because it doesn't really get dark here at this time of year, but we were a bit worried about the force 3 SE wind.

NORTH HAVEN ON FAIR ISLE
As we started off the wind gradually picked up, until it was F5-6. The bad weather that we had tried to avoid had come in early. the sea conditions were exciting, with waves to surf and we made good progress, travelling at almost 5 knots. Unfortunately the tide turned when we were about a mile away from land and suddenly we had wind against tide off Fitfull Head. Our progress slowed right down and we had a bit more urgent surfing to do, but we made it safely to land. We camped at Spiggie Loch on the West side of the island - a beautiful spot. 28 miles in 7hours 15mins.



now its symposium time! I will try to add a few pictures when i get the chance

3 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

Great job crossing Justine! I'm looking forward to seeing pictures when you get the chance to post them. Hope that tummy behaves itself for the remainder of your trip.

12:52 am  
Anonymous rowland said...

Probably the most committing crossings in UK waters - well done chaps!

4:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

les photos sont superbes, ca me donne envie d'y faire un tour,

10:51 am  

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