Friday, March 23, 2007

Scary Big Stuff... Not Waves.

Yesterday, 22-3-07, the weather forecast was good so I set out on a different route in the firth. I was heading west to a place called Ferryton. I assume the ferry used to cross between here and Alness many years ago.
My trip would involve crossing the firth in two different places, and with a decent incoming tidal stream I would be doing a bit of ferry gliding.

Ferrton is the headland on the left.


There's not that much to see in Ferryton and the locals aren't that talkative.



The crossing was great as I glided down the firth at up to 9.4kph. Sitting still for a while in the middle the GPS still showed 5.1kph !

After a wee snack I had to do what I though would be the most difficult part, crossing back over. I was going to try to use the tide again and there was only a slight NE wind to contend with.
I could also see some sunshine over there.



It was fun gliding across and noting how difficult it was to use transits. Boat offset 10deg, then 20deg then 40 deg. It got easier after I was nearer the other side. It was really nice over on this side.



I now could paddle along by the shore thus avoiding the greater stream in the middle. Just that jack up to contend with now, or so I thought.

The rigs always seem to have a boat buzzing about below them, the skipper of this one had seen me making the initial crossing and as I approached he changed his position to let me get by.





But there was another problem. No not the verbal abuse I got from the scaffolders on the rig, which was very colourful and very funny. I decided not to enter into any banter as they were 40m above me with access to an array of heavy objects :-)

The problem was that to the side of the jack up a pipe layer was moored but was about to depart. You can see it to the left of the top rig picture.

When I cleared the rig the port authority pilot appeared. I waited until I thought he saw me, he stood off so I started to paddle forward. Then he chugged towards the pipe layer. I stopped. I was sure he now saw me as he chugged slowly making almost no wake for me to contend with. After the pilot gadgy disembarked and climbed aboard the pipe layer, the skipper hit the throttle and did a 90deg turn to get back around and into the harbour.

Aahhh, paddle paddle. It was like being back at Balintore beach and a bit of a shock after such flat water all day.
Either he didn't see me or they aren't to bothered about tipping kayaker over. None of these two explanations fill me with confidence. I'm not going to pass the harbour anymore.

I don't like the big stuff.
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