December 2013

Last month’s news spoke about the laying of a new chain grid on the sea bed for our visiting yacht moorings. The continued work by Scavenger Diving Services depends entirely on the weather, with the good days diminishing rapidly at this time of year. That said however, we have been blessed with a number of truly still days, days where we can see with perfect clarity what’s  on the bottom even in six or seven metres of water. All the visitors’ buoys have been reinstated and we are just tying up a few loose ends in order to complete the project.

The ‘Gry Maritha’ has been off for the majority of November having its annual surveys and scheduled maintenance work carried out. In turn, this also gives the inter-Island cargo vessel ‘Lyonesse Lady’ an opportunity for her own works to be carried out and she has spent much of the last few weeks alongside old quay where the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company’s engineers have been hard at work. The beginning of December will see the ‘Gry Maritha’ return to our shores which will enable the ‘Scillonian III’ to hang up her boots for another season, albeit a month later than usual.

The next few weeks will see a Harbour Users Group meeting take place, a review of our Navigational Risk Assessment and the annual update of our Oil Spill Contingency Plans whilst outside, work is nearly complete on our new workshop after which we can start our own winter schedule of vessel maintenance.

November 13

With many staff holidays this month we were still able to complete plenty of work most notably the laying of the new ground chain for our visiting yachts. We anticipated up to two weeks for the majority of the work to be completed by the vessel ‘Mannin’ but the fine weather allowed for a speedy task and we spent just seven days with the vessel at work. Completion of the project will be carried out by ‘Scavenger Diving Services’ which consists of shackling the chains together and attaching riser chains and mooring buoys as the weather allows.  The buoys were subject to quite a birthday by Harbour staff all having a vicious scrub and new markings whilst most have had new metal inserts fitted.

Work is currently underway to remove the pontoon alongside the wall for the winter. It doesn’t get the use warranted by the heavy weather during the coming months so it presents an opportunity to inspect each block as well as all the associated hardware, for wear and damage.

The Harbour is beginning to look rather empty now with the local mooring season having come to an end although we do offer winter moorings for those who wish to take advantage of the good days when they turn up, a service which seems to be becoming more popular as the years go by.

October 2013

September has seen a steady decrease in yacht figures as we would expect at this time of year. This has allowed us to make a start on removing the buoys in anticipation of renewing the ground chain in this area over the next few weeks. We will be replacing around two kilometres of chain with help from Padstow Harbour’s vessel ‘Mannin’ and local divers ‘Scavenger Diving Services’. We anticipate the work will take approximately two weeks subject of course to fine weather and plenty of tea!

September also wraps up the cruise ship season for the year with visits from the ‘Windsurf’, the ‘Marco Polo’ and finally the ‘Seaborne Pride’. These bring this year’s total of visiting ships up to a respectable 32 between them landing a more than adequate 6970 passengers here at St Mary’s. Next year’s figures look promising with 35 already booked in during the summer months.

The St Mary’s lifeboat, a Severn Class, had two call outs this month both to recreational yachtsmen around the Islands and we had two yachts run aground here within the Harbour. With little or no damage disaster was averted in all cases but these types of incidents serve as a constant reminder as to what can go wrong. Help never seems too far away but the occasions must leave a lasting impression on the crews I’m sure.