We had hoped to catch the early morning (3am) tide ot of Arbroath, but the lock keeper doesn’t open up until 11.30. With a 12 hour sail to Peterhead and some foul tide potentially making it longer, we prepare ourselves for half a night sail. Chris is off into town to buy a suitable baking dish and by the time she returns Yee Tak has a pasta bake ready for the oven. As the lock opens we wave goodbye to Dave and Pam and the family and the pasta comes out ready to be heated later for our evening meal at sea.
The coast here is spectacular (allegedly) but we only catch glimpses as most of it is shrouded in coastal mist. Out to sea there is bright sun and clear skies and we make the most of the opportunity to stretch out with the autohelm doing most of the real work. Gannets are our constant companions and they wheel and soar around the boat, just skimming the waves with impunity.
Hot pasties for lunch with sun and a fair wind…what could lift the spirits more?
As we approach Aberdeen we see at least 10 large boats heading directly for us. We alter course to pass behind the closest but it seems to take an age to pass, meanwhile the others are getting closer and threading our way through them in the wrong direction would seem to be an act of folly. A pilot boat comes zooming out of the river and then it dawns on us…they are all at anchor! We resume our course with some relief and start to feel the welcome tide turn in our favour. Heydays is almost surfing down the waves at 7kts and we have over a knot of tide. This is almost reckless speed for us, but it brings our eta at Peterhead down to before midnight instead of the early hours of the morning.
The forecasts begin to talk of fronts coming over and the settled easterlies of recent days turning to strong south westerlies…perhaps Peterhead will be as far as we get this time.
The sun sinks lower in the sky and the hot pasta bake tastes like a gourmet meal against the rising moon. We manage to disturb a flock of roosting birds who take off angrily, probably wondering why of all of the bits of sea in all the oceans in all the world we have to sail through theirs (or maybe Gannets don’t watch old movies) …
Peterhead shows up like a Christmas tree from well over 10 miles off and we watch the Buchan Ness lighthouse sink astern in the dying light. Soon we can just make out the entrance lights to guide us in and we negotiate past fishing boats and oil rig support boats to Peterhead Bay Marina.
As proper sailors (in our eyes) we get Heydays snugged into her berth first, before cracking open some fizz to toast the end of this part of the odyssey.