LETTER from Heidi & Eivind _______Scotland, England, Biscay

After an interesting visit at Oban Distillery, known for its 14 year old pricewinning whiskey, we sailed further south. From Kerrera and Oban we sailed to Crinan and the Crinan Canal . On our way we got a little idea of what the currents can be like in these waters. The Crinan Canal is a small and idyllic waterway. We have to work the locks ourselves, and animals like Bambi were often coming down to the water edge. Heidi had her daily exercises by working the locks, and the Captain took care of the ship.
Next stop was Holyhead in north Wales. A well sheltered harbour, and the landscape well shaped for a walk. It is nice to go for a walk after some days at sea. In Holyhead all the signs were in two languages. They also speak two languages here. One pirate language (the language of Wales ) and English.
We almost had no wind as we were heading for Falmouth. We had to use the engine for some hours. Suddenly the Mate thought the boat was behaving strange. Heid woke the Captain from his after dinner rest and the propeller was disengaged. After some investigation it was obvious that there was something stuck around the propeller. And we could not get it of without getting in the water. The Captain jumped in, and got a big piece of plastic away from the propeller.
Falmouth was the last place to stop before we were going to cross The Bay of Biscay. The air was getting warmer, and we saw more of the sun for each day. The sky was full of stars at night, and dolphins came by to say hello. Dolphins are beautiful and fascinating animals.
We had a nice tour crossing The Bay of Biscay, and after 3 days we arrived in La Coruña . Crossing the North Sea also took 3 days, but this was more relaxing with the wind from behind the most of the time. 5 - 12 m/s - lovely ! When sailing closer to La Coruña , the welcoming committee of dolphins met us. At least 15 dolphins played around the boat for a long time. In the middle of Biscay, at the middle of a night, Eivind took out his trumpet. The tune “Du ska få en dag I mårrå” sounded from the ship – in memory of Trygve Stensaker, who was supposed to be a crew-member onboard Empire across the Bay of Biscay, and also later across the Atlantic Ocean. Trygve lost his life in the tsunami in Thailand the 2. day of Christmas 2004.
La Coruña is a big city full of history – and no one speaks anything but Spanish. We have a CD with lessons in Spanish onboard, but we have not got the time to start on the course yet. Now we must get started. The plan was to speak a little Spanish when arriving La Coruña …
We had to do some shopping in La Coruña , but after three days it was time to take the ropes. Empire is now better equipped than ever. New fishing gear, sewing machine, bras hooks, screws, cooking bowls and other “nice to have”- things. We have been walking around a lot in La Coruña , and our arms have been some centimetres longer.
It is relatively expensive to use the pontoons in a marina. In Corme we are staying at anchor, cheap, peaceful and quiet. One night we suddenly wake up to the sound of an oar banging in our hull. We never got to know if it was a drunk fisherman or a thief. He disappeared as we lit the lights, and we have not discovered anything missing. We are staying here for some days, to get everything in shape onboard, and to enjoy the sunny weather. Heidi is also looking forward to some more kayaking, and maybe we can do some diving.

Oban Yachts, Tony and Lisa Cox. Oban Distillery. Strong currents on our way to Crinan Canal.
Crinan Canal, the sealoch. It is very beatyful and sometimes very narrow in the canal. The lockmastress Heidi at work.
The Captain blows the horn - to get the bridge opened. In the Crinan Canal we were often the only boat passing. Hevy work for the Mate. 13 locks is to be closed and opend, and filled and emptied.
Big boat in a small lock. Something got stuck around the propeller. A piece of plastic...
The sea was like a mirror - no wind on our way to Falmouth. Going for a walk in the beautiful scenery of Holyhead. The Captain has not forgotten his climbing skills.
"Du ska få en dag i morrå" composed by Alf Prøysen. Lovely dolphins. Right there we might se tha coast of La Coruña.