Wednesday, 31 August 2011

My Life On Deck

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me... Well, not exactly, but a week's holiday on my aunt and uncle's boat is probably about as close as I'm going to get in my lifetime. Now, I can practically feel the cogs turning in your brain: 'Ooooh, get her, with her family boat all la-di-dah,' but before we go any further, let me make clear that my family is about as posh as a daytime TV drama, but hopefully with less annoying cliches; 'What? My sister is actually my mother? OMG!' But anyway, back to the point.

Our 'floating adventure' started in a small marina near Oban, in Scotland. (See, if we were really posh we'd have been in the south of France somewhere) We set off full of energy, ready to take on whatever the sea threw at us, and although it was fairly easy at the start as we went further the wind got more powerful, which missed with the current a bit.At times the boat seemed to tilt so far that I was sure my brother and his girlfriend were going to fall overboard, which may have led to her not accompanying us on holiday again. My aunt and uncle assured me that we were in no danger, and they were probably right, as we never actually went into the open sea, but as I was the one steering the boat I'm sure my sense of panic was not entirely undeserved. Luckily, that was pretty much the worst of the weather, as far as wind goes, we did get a bit rained on later, but as we were in Scotland, it wasn't really a surprise.

As we got used to the constant rocking of the boat, a pattern began to emerge; we would wake up, possibly sail on further or just stay anchored where we were, go out for the obligatory 'holiday activities', come back, and relax, often with a game of cards. Our daytime activities varied from going on a walk up one of the many hills and meeting an old retired hand-doctor, who generated his own electricity with a home-made wind turbine (I kid you not) and was very generous with his wine (of which I had none) and vintage editions of the New Yorker (which are now sitting in my bedroom), to watching puffins flying by on a particularly sunny day on an uninhabited island, to collected mussels and cooking them for lunch (we later discovered that my brother has an allergy to seafood, he proceeded to spend much of the next 24 hours on deck). I evenwent fishing on the last day, and caught two mackerel! It may not seem much, but it was the best fish I'd ever eaten. We also laid anchor at a few fishing villages, including Tobermory, the town which inspired the children's TV show 'Ballamory'. Although they both shared a penchant for brightly coloured buildings, one thing Tobermory had which I'm sure Ballamory does not is a pub near the harbour which sells the biggest burgers I'd had in my life.

I may be a sunshine girl at heart, but I would happily give up another week of summer for another sailing trip around wet, chilly Scotland. I guess L'Oreal says it the best: It's worth it.