Category: storm

The half-mile paddle-out….

… and the month-long storm that caused it.

Sorry its been so long. Winter has been a miserable affair this year.

I got back from a weeks snowboarding in Slovakia last week. It was about -27 at its coldest over there in the dumping fresh snow.

Yet when i landed back in Edinburgh I already knew it was colder, dark and more miserable here. We had heard on the saturday of the ship that ran aground at the Farnes.


We followed the updates and gossip on FaceTube and also kept an eye on the weather forecast. It was bleak. – Cold. Hovering just above freezing, with gales from the East. This meant big seas.

That forecast was 10 days ago, and the weather front arrived on the coast before we did. Its also looking to stay the same, for another two weeks, right through Easter weekend.

So there have been some proper big days on the sea, and plenty of casualties along with it. Seals, both adult and pups have been washing up all over the beaches. Along with a wide assortment of bird; Terns, Gulls, Guillemots, Razors and even Puffins, dozens of them.  Its quite sad.

And what of the MV Danio ? the 80m freight vessel that managed to ‘miss’ the mighty Longstone lighthouse and park herself on the rocks a mere 30m away ?
Well the Danio is still there, waiting for the right tide to take her off the rock. Rumor is that they are going to move her tomorrow (26th March). A tug from Leith is moored just North of the Farnes waiting for the weather to break. I snapped a quick picture of the rope that has been shipped in to help move the 2500 tonne vesel. £20,000 worth of 6-inch thick rope….

And in the last 12 days, with seas as big as have been seen for a while, one boat has been the only one leaving the harbour at Seahouses. Stand Sure, skippered by Jonathan Dawson has been assisting the salvage team, moving people and equipment between the islands and the harbour in 6m seas… not a job for the faint hearted !

Lets hope they get her of the rocks in the next few days, nothing too bad can really happen, but it will be a mighty mess if she wont float off and sail away…


Jellyfish !!

Well, we’re pushing onwards and upwards with summer. The kids have been on holiday for a week and that means its only 5 weeks until we get the villages back and normality returns :).

Two jellies at Bamburgh

In the last two weeks we have seen the start of the Jellyfish season on the beaches. Normally, we dont see so many until September, when the weather livens-up, but with a strong Northerly/Easterly wind, they get blown inshore from sea and stranded on the beaches.

I think I’m becoming a bit obsessed with them. They are such interesting creatures. (last night I found myself trawling through the many pages on Wikipedia about the species).

Yesterday I was diving on a boat at the Farnes and Paul, and the Divers and I got chatting about the Portuguese Man ‘o War. Apparently they are occasionally spotted around the Farnes and St Abbs.

The Portuguese Man ‘o War, the Box Jellyfish and the Lions Mane are the biggest and most dangerous kinds, but are RARELY found in waters of the North Sea.

The Portuguese Man 'o War - not local to the area.

Now, LOTS of Jellyfish get washed-up along the beaches here, but rarely are any of them any real danger. Even the most dangerous Jellyfish are rarely fatal, and 99.9% of the time the worst case scenario will be severe pain until treatment is administered. Any deaths from Jellyfish stings are unlucky and are associated with people who many be allergic or be especially susceptible.

There are thousands of different species of Jellyfish, but along the beaches of the North East, you will see a regular collection of about a

Brain-like tissue and textures...

dozen, ranging in size from a centimeter to about 2-3 feet across. They come in clear, white, blue, pink, purple, red and deep red colours.

Generally the smaller pink/blue types are harmless and can be handed without injury, the darker they are the more likely they are to sting. If you are stung, the best treatment is vinegar. Take a cloth of bandage and soak it with vinegar, removing any excess, then apply to the affected area. In the rare event of  having been stung by a Portuguese Man ‘o War, don’t use vinegar – this can make the sting worse and spread it (the The Portuguese Man ‘o War is not actually a Jellyfish, but a close relative).

Foot used as scale

Remember that the stings – or nematocysts – can remain active long after the jellyfish has died or dried-up, so be careful when handling if you choose to do so. Local fishermen laugh heartily when old stored fishing gear is taken out of storage and handled months after being on the sea only to sting the new lad on the harbour not wearing his gloves.

Winter draws to a close.

Its been a heavy, cold, hard winter up here if we’re honest.

The weeks of snow, ice and cold weather were only a mild distraction from short days and dark nights.

But its now mid-march, and the weather is breaking. The snow drops are pushing through the grass, the caravan sites are re-opening and the village has some people in it once again.

I’ll have some more Spring-like shots later this week to put up, but just quickly, a look back at the winter gone.

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