Saturday, August 17, 2013

Aleria's jaunt to Scotland: 12-13 July 2013 Ardfern, Loch Craignish, Scotland

Fixing things and doing laundry in exotic places once again!

Boats going this way and that in the hot and hazy summer conditions


Fog hugging the coast
We realized that Ardfern is home to the marina and chandlery where we had ordered our hose for the radiator repair. If we were lucky, we’d get there before they closed. We arrived just in the nick of time, and lo and behold, that radiator hose was tucked away for us as promised and we even got their last gallon of antifreeze. Luck was with us! We spent the rest of the evening walking around town, exploring the craft shop, the deli, and the pub/restaurant. It was a beautiful day once again, so we sat outdoors at the pub and sampled a couple of local brews. The grounds overlooked the waterfront and tiny sweet holiday cottages. And the pub had wifi, so Alex was finally able to download his email but I could not get mine to work.



The anchorage at Ardfern
We made the commitment to spend the next morning anchored in Ardfern to attempt the repair. The chandlery was excellent, and they also had showers, a laundry, a gourmet deli and provisioning shop. This was the first place we'd been in almost two weeks that had services like these. Very exciting. We returned to Aleria and erected our new canvas awning. We had brought it along in case there was lots of rain. Little did we know we would need it for protection from the hot sun! in Scotland!!!

So while Alex worked on the generator, I planned to do the two loads of laundry we already accumulated, dump garbage and recycling, take a nice long shower, and restock our fresh food provisions for the next week or two. Ardfern is one of Scotland’s big yachting centres as it turns out. The harbour is full of sailboats on moorings, in slips, and on the hard. Princess Anne keeps her sailboat there. We anchored out beyond the mooring field so the ride in was fairly long. I loaded up the dinghy with laundry, garbage, recycling, my shower stuff, cooler and shopping bags and waved farewell to Alex as he prepared himself mentally for the contortionist role of engine mechanic. Being out of his way was going to be a good thing.

Seal on a rock near the harbour
When doing things in a marina, you really need to apply strategic thinking. There was only one washer. I stuffed my first load into the washer just after the woman ahead of me transferred her laundry to the dryer. Then I went to get my tokens from the marine shop. Not two minutes later,  a woman was just about to remove my laundry when I came back and popped in my token. Hah! I won that time.

While the first load was going, I dumped garbage and took a shower, just in time to switch loads from washer to dryer (washer 25 minutes 1 token, dryer 30 minutes on 2 tokens). Yes, she was still there lurking over my laundry. Second load went in the washer and I went off to reprovision. The shop was well stocked with necessities and luxuries. Fresh bread and rolls, nice local veggies, vacuum packed meats, pates, cheeses, snacks and newspapers. I g ot back just in time as the washer stopped, but SHE had already removed my clothes from the dryer. By this time there was a rather long queue of people waiting to do their laundry. It was weekend and there were plenty of people loading up and preparing for a cruise.

The pub and restaurant
I folded my laundry, picked a book from the exchange, got free ice from the machine (that's so nice of them) – all before noon. I got my wifi to finally work and managed to download more than a week’s worth of email. Both of us had difficulty with our androids up to that point. And in many places, there was just no signal. So this was exciting. Success all around. I wondered how Alex was doing.

Taking advantage of wifi
When I got back to Aleria with my loads of fresh stuff, Alex crawled out from the depths. He had just shut off the generator. It worked! He’d managed to fix it. It wasn't exactly the right hose but he was able to coax it into the right shape. Now covered in grime from head to toe, I sent him off to the showers while I unpacked and made lunch. After lunch, we’d continue our journey northwards to Craobh with the tide. Our stop at Ardfern was quite civilized and fruitful on all counts! Now, finally, we were getting into the groove of cruising.



Our new sunbrella canopy came in handy

The marina at Ardfern

The well-stocked chandlery

Open 7 days a week

The very nice village shoppe

The view over the harbour inlet from town

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