Shetland Part 2/2, 18.6. - 29.6.
At the last weekend of June the marina were suddenly filled by happy Norwegian sailors. The regatta from Bergen to Shetland is the annual event. This year one boat arrived a day before the others. Rune Aasberg's boat Solo is a Class 40 racing boat that can get up to the planing speeds. Rest of the 43 boats arrived on Thursday afternoon and evening filling the harbour completely. All boat rafts had 3 to 8 boats in them all the time.
Already on Thursday evening one of the visiting boats looked for a place to move because they knew about the arriving regatta and they did not want to stay boxed in by race boats. They had to leave on Friday morning to be back in Norway by Monday to get back to work. If they had stayed in original place there would have been only a few boats rafted with them. However the berth pointed by harbourmaster was catastrophic. Their raft was probably the deepest in the marina. I can guess that they couldn’t sleep well in this boat when the crew of the seven other boats were passing across their deck. There must have been a constant worry, do they manage to leave or not.
In the morning it took a few hours for the harbour staff to arrange the boats in the rafts for making room for the departing boat. Only then started the operation that lasted another two hours to get the boat out from behind the raft. Finally when they were free the nerves of the helmsman failed as he put the full throttle down and hit the boat next to us. The bowsprit of our neighbour was damaged as it was the sprayhood from the hasty boat as well. Most of all the missis from the runaway boat almost got hit by the bowsprit of our neighbour. Andrus told that she had a terrified face and that she just managed to pull back in time. Finally they left the harbour pushing into the headwind and waves towards Norway.
The Norwegians had arrived to EU and they could enjoy the tax free service with goods delivered directly to the pier. The pricelist was delivered to us upon our arrival. There were a plenty of regatta customers for tax free as their van was shuttling constantly in the harbour. It was like in a fire drill when boaters made human chains and clinking purchases moved from hand to hand from the van to the pier and from there even to the furthest boat on the raft.
On Friday evening we participated in the cocktail party where the Lerwick's council representative awarded prices to regatta winners. The boat rafted alongside Suwena got an award trophy for being a slowest boat across the North Sea. They got a golden oar :-) Also the multiple times participants got pins recognizing that they have done the regatta for 5, 10 or 15 times. We were surprised on how many annual pins were given out. In the evening we went to the yacht club and there was a band playing live music and we heard a lot of sailing tales.
We rented a car for the weekend and went exploring the Mainland of Shetland. Our first stop was in the southernmost point of Mainland, the Sumburgh Head. While climbing up the hill in Sumburgh we again saw many different kind of birds. Especially the puffins seemed to be in the focus of tourists. There was also a real size model of the killer whale on the hill. It was quite a whopper. Actually already on Fair Isle we found out that the dolphins we saw on a leg to Arbroath were not dolphins at all but instead a minke whales. Andrus said already then that "They are really huge - at least four metres long". Minke whales are common in these waters.
There is a lighthouse and a huge fog horn in front of it on top of the Sumburgh Head. In 1905 built fog horn was powered by three diesel engines. Originally it was possible to rotate the horn. Later it was fastened to place so mariners can get a better location fix on it at sea.
From Sumburgh we continued to the western coast where the most finest and largets tombolo of British Isles is located. The waves have brought white shellsand that have formed a sand bridge between St Ninian's Isle and Mainland. Oh, how we wished that it would have been a hot day so we were staying for sunbathing.
We also checked out the other marina on west coast of Mainland in the village of Scalloway. The marina is small, really well protected but if you look for any services then the marina in Lerwick is much better. Of course the distance to Tesco supermarket is about a four kilometres from the marina in Lerwick as well but there are some restaurants and small kiosks near the harbour.
We also found the winner for our northernmost palm tree competition. The northernmost palm on our Scotland voyage was in Scalloway at the latitude of 60 degrees and 8 minutes north.
Unfortunately we had to skip the visit to northern islands of Unst and Yell because of my illness. They seemed interesting and both of them have some interesting sights. It seems you cannot always win.
Our visit to Shetland was crowned by an exciting coincidence. Back in Arbroath, Jim from the neighbour boat visited aboard Suwena. We had a long chat and exchanged contacts. Later we received a message into our blog where Peter and Ritva wanted to meet with us if we come to Shetland. They had met Jim afterwards and Jim had told them about meeting the Finnish boat. After many weeks it seemed that we'll be missing each other for sure. On our last day in Lerwick I was preparing the boat for next day departure and Andrus was getting some groceries from Tesco. While he was looking for something from the shelves suddenly somebody told "Hi Andrus". Peter was in the same shop, at the same shelf and had recognized Andrus from the pictures in our blog. He promptly invited us to the traditional English afternoon tea at their house.
Scottish Peter and his Finnish wife Ritva have been living in Shetland for five years and we got to visit their home. There were a plenty of stories and it felt like we would have been knowing each other for a long time already. The time felt flying while chatting. It was really nice to spend our last evening in Shetland with Ritva and Peter.