Met with Steve today for a cruise on the Forth estuary. I had serious doubts about the whole idea on the drive up there - it was minus 4C and heavy fog . However, the temperature rose to a balmy -0.5C on the last 1/2 mile to the shoreline and then reached a high of 1C in the afternoon - positively tropical It was actually warmer out on the water than on the land - probably due the the higher water temperature "warming" (a relative term!) the surrounding air.
We cruised around the islands and beaches on the six mile wide estuary for a couple of hours and experienced the usual changeable water conditions (flat calm to two foot swell and chop ) before stopping for some exploration on Cramond Island. We were just about to walk up the hill when a guy ran down and asked us if we would give him a ride back to shore (Cramond Island has a sand causeway only walkable when the tide is fully out). The guy had his wife and dog with him. His wife had fallen into the sea when they had tried to get back across the flooding causeway and he had dropped his phone into the water while rescuing her. By this time the sun had gone down and the temperature was falling rapidly. They were dressed only in woolly jumpers and jeans and the woman was soaked and absolutely freezing (whole body shivering). We gave them a ride the 0.6 miles back to the shore where they arranged a taxi home.
These people obviously thought they were just going for a nice afternoon stroll - the end result could easily have been fatal! They would have been in serious danger overnight (forecast of minus 3C ) on the shelter-free island - especially the woman who had soaked clothing. If we hadn't happened to come along the chances of rescue were pretty slim (there was no other water traffic today).
After that, we cruised west up river and stopped at a couple of nice Fife fishing villages before crossing back over to the south side and back to the bridges.
Weather looked good today (sunshine and almost no wind) so I thought I'd go for a little solo cruise (as in absolutely no-one else!) on the river. The scenery is spectacular at this time of year if a bit nippy (air temp was 6C - with a 20mph wind chill on top it was almost slightly uncomfortable - even with a heater
Steve had called to say that the QE2 liner was visiting it's birthplace (it was built on the Clyde in 1967) for the last time so I agreed to meet him for a cruise. It was quiet at the launch site but there were hundreds of water craft out to escort the QE2 - everything from kayaks to luxury yacht! Negotiating our way through this mass of water traffic was a bit nerve-racking! We stopped in the corner of the harbour on a piled of gravel (the tide was in) next the the half mile low queue of people waiting to view the QE2 from a viewing platform set up in the dock. After sitting for a while getting warmed in the October sunshine we set off around the now-berthed QE2 (see pics and videos section).Next was a trip across the estuary (about 5 miles) past the Ark Royal carrier and a French carrier (the FS Tonnerre). They were lowering the rear loading ramp into the water as we were passing and I was tempted just to take a run up it into the hull - probably not a good idea . It is a landing ship and carries landing craft and (supposedly) hovercraft - I took a video looking into the hull but couldn't see an hovercraft in there.
We reached Helensburgh for some food (there is a Tesco shop/filling station within 50 metres of the beach ). After refreshment we travelled out to the wreck of the Captyannis, a sugar carrier that has been lying on a sand bank since it capsized in a storm in 1974 (it's now a popular bird meeting place) before crossing back to the north shore and cruising upriver into Glasgow - on the way we passed the tall ship Stavros S Niarchos on it's way into Glasgow from Cork. It was a beautiful sunny day if a bit chilly on the water so we floated around, engines off, for a bit in the city centre. It's a bit weird calmly floating on water right in the middle of all of the city noises! It was then time to get back to the launch point after another days cruising! Pics and Videos in the Videos and pics section strangely enough
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