We all sat around the table enjoying our beers, while Skipper Jemma advised we would be leaving now and getting to our next sheltered anchorage as soon as possible, as Storm Nigel was indeed on the way, and we hoped to beat it into port. She advised us that the next hour or so was apt to be “quite bumpy” as the water had become much more choppy.
Trevor and I were not too alarmed at this news, because we have very robust sea legs and have had some memorably rough sea crossings in the past. As the skipper weighed anchor and the Glen Rosa‘s twin engines gained momentum, we did notice a little more motion, but it wasn’t enough to stop me sitting at the big communal table with my laptop and my bottle of beer. 🙂
Off we went, watching the rain pouring down in rivulets outside the windows, and listening as the wind found its way through any gaps, as anything from a low moan to a frenzied scream. The lively little wavelets soon turned into galloping white horses, running their own Grand National over the sea loch.
As we sat there contemplating the weather, the rolling of the vessel caused some of the beer bottles to start sliding off the table, and we all developed England cricket team-worthy catching skills as we prevented them from crashing to the floor. 🙂
John and Isabel were on the starboard side of the vessel (facing inwards) while Greg and Lisa were on the port side; Lisa looking out of the window and trying to think of anything except sea-sickness. At the end of the table, I was facing towards the stern, which I could see rising and falling, rising and falling against the ever-increasing waves, the little liberty boat on its tow-rope behind us bouncing and rolling and smacking onto the surface of the sea.
Charlie stuck his head out of the galley and advised us that lunch would be late today (!!) but, looking at the green faces of our fellow shipmates, that was not particularly bad news. 🙂
As the Glen Rosa changed direction, what was previously end-to-end motion now became side-to-side, and this was where the fun really started. 🙂 We could hear crashing, banging and smashing in the galley as things flew off shelves and onto the floor. Cupboard doors flew open, both fridges slid out of their places and their doors were flung open, food flying off the shelves and onto the floor. The microwave, toaster and kettle slid inexorably towards the edge of the worktop, only the fact that there was a 2cm lip at the edge preventing them from falling off.
In the saloon, the large fruit bowl fell to the floor with a crash, apples and oranges rolling everywhere as the fire extinguisher fell off its bracket and onto the floor. A particularly large wave sent my chair toppling over with me still sitting in it; luckily it fell against the soft upholstery of the banquette next to the table. I was unhurt, and decided to remain on the floor, partly under the large heavy table, as it was probably safer. I realised I still had my bottle of Highlander beer in my hand (!!!!!) which was unspilt, and I took frequent swigs as we witnessed the chaos all around us. 😀 😀
Looking at my phone, the wifi signal was abruptly cut off as the router unplugged itself and shot off the sideboard onto the floor. The fridge door opened and bottles and cans rolled out, Greg frantically catching them and putting them back. John and Trevor developed England football team goalkeeping skills as they went into impressive dives to catch the bottles of malt whisky which were just about to slide off the drinks cabinet. 🙂
Most alarming of all, the heavy glass sliding door leading to the stern slid open as far as it could letting the wind roar around the saloon, before slamming shut when the boat rolled the other way. The wooden table outside at the stern toppled onto its side, and even the heavy communal table in the saloon shifted its position about six inches or so.
Presently we heard the unmistakeable sounds of someone calling for Uncle Hughie. From where John was sitting, he could see into the wheelhouse, and he saw an ashen-faced Skipper Jemma beckon to Charlie to bring her a bucket…
The strong winds and high seas lasted about an hour and a half before they gradually began to abate as the Glen Rosa headed into port, in the marina in Dunstaffnage. No-one was around to catch the ropes and help moor the vessel, and Charlie and Jemma had to shout and wave their arms around before they attracted the attention of three blokes in yellow high-viz yacht-suits and lifejackets who came over to help. Soon we were securely fastened and felt it was safe to start moving around the vessel again. We were all still in one piece – we’d made it. Ironically, it was our Skipper who was in the worst shape! 🙂
Everyone chipped in and helped put everything back in its place, and Charlie started to clean up the utter devastation in the galley, apologising because “lunchtime” would be nearer to 4.30pm. Despite all this, he managed to work his absolute magic in the kitchen, and produced a wonderful concoction of roasted peach, parma ham and cream-filled mozzarella with warm home-baked bread. He advised us that dinner would not be served until 8.00pm tonight.
After our delicious light meal, we sat around in a daze, as if we couldn’t quite believe the events of the last couple of hours. Trevor, Greg and John went dockside along with Charlie to try to make the ropes more secure as the Glen Rosa was still shifting quite a bit in her berth.
There were lots of small boats at Dunstaffnage Marina; I think they’d all fled for shelter at the first possible chance. Skipper Jemma advised us we’d just come through a Force 7 wind, with 3 metre waves; that doesn’t sound very much, but when you’re in a little boat the size of Glen Rosa, you feel every centimetre of them! 🙂
While Skipper Jemma disappeared below decks for a well-earned rest, John and Isabel decided to go ashore for a walk; anything to get off the boat really. Greg also went below, and Lisa lay where she was, comfortably on her side on the banquette. I also decided to go and have a nap, but when I entered our cabin I heard the sound of dripping, and some water was coming through the ceiling, running down the wall, and wetting the duvet on my side of the bed (which was up against the wall).
We therefore took the duvet and put it in the engine room where it soon dried, and eventually the leak in the cabin stopped (thank goodness!)
Dinner time arrived as darkness descended, and Charlie rustled up another delicious meal; really, this bloke works miracles! We had a tender belly pork, buttered cabbage and home-made croquette potatoes. As it wasn’t all that long since lunch, I had no room for pudding.
Afterwards, we enjoyed the usual post-prandial tot of single malt whisky before, one by one, everyone said goodnight and disappeared below decks.
Come hell or high water, we knew we’d sleep very well tonight! 🙂