Coming down to Inverness

Well, after waiting off the gale winds in Peterhead, while doing a bit of sightseeing and provisioning (haggis and scones!) we headed off to the Moray Firth. A day's sailing later we made a stop in Whitehills, a small village with a big marina that everyone had talked about. Surely, the marina was good, with a service-minded harbour captain, but heck, we did not count on a fee of £17! Especially considering that the village itself was not so much to look at, not even an ATM machine to find. Oh well, we visited both of the pubs in this metropole, had a couple of pints and headed off earleh in thah morning.
Had great luck with the tides, but not as lucky with the wind - sometimes the air was completely still, making the scenery surrealistic as the Northern Sea lay in front of us flat and calm, like a giant mirror. Very beautiful, but extremely frustrating since the trip towards Inverness took us 18 hours in total.
Passing the impressive military fort of Port George, I was enjoying a quiet evening moment steering the boat through shallow and calm water, when a splash just beside the port side made me look. A dolphin! Just an arm's length from the boat! It dived down, circled the boat and jumped up on the other side, making sure we have seen the show, and continued jumping and playing around the boat. Suddenly, there were two, simming simultaniously side by side. No, three! No, four! They stayed near the boat, and dived and played around it for a while. Beautiful and smart animals, they are believed to mean good luck. At least, just the sight of them made me very happy...
Now, we have entered the Caledonian Canal, and have passed the first canal locks. They are closed during the evening, some are closed for lunch or during the rush hours, and of course closed during the times when the tides are extreme, so this will take a while. Anyway, we are just in front of the Loch Ness lake, and soon it's time to fish for Nessie! And may be to bathe and go snorkeling, but we'll see about that - the weather is just like a regular Swedish summer (that is to say about 15 Celsius, and humidity stretching from heavy rain to extremely heavy rain to almost rain or just have been rain). The internet rates here are draconical, I have just spent about a day's budget on 90 minutes of surfing... So, until next time!

Standard procedure: passing a lock, as seen from the boat

Standard procedure: passing a lock, one person left on the boat - rest of the crew are collaborating in moving and securing the boat.

We continued onwards - see the next post here.