View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Monday, 24 August 2009

Michael Jackson

I don't normally pay much attention to celebrity hype, but Michael Jackson's death has now had an unofficial follow-up. According to a court official in LA, a lethal cocktail of drugs was found in the blood of the singer after his death. Among those was the anaesthetic propofol together with two sedatives. If confirmed, this will make it likely that charges will be brought against the physician tending to Jackson before his death.

For our American friends

Graphic courtesy Lillysphere (please note, this is a blog in Portuguese - no I don't speak that language).

Monday evening notes

The cruiseliner Vistamar, which left us unvisited this morning, is currently just west of the port of Scrabster on the north coast of Scotland (some 20 miles west of John o'Groats), heading for Invergordon. That is a deepwater port on the northeast coast, some 25 miles north of Inverness. Although she is billed to arrive at 7 am tomorrow morning, I think she'll be there before midnight now. We're due another cruiseliner on Wednesday - that being the day that Bill will call round for tea. Bill? The former hurricane, now winding itself up as a nasty-looking depression in the Atlantic.

The Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny Macaskill made a statement to the Scottish Parliament this afternoon to account for the decision to release the convicted Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds. His statement was pretty much like the one he made on Thursday, with the exception of mentioning the scenes that met Megrahi upon his arrival back home in Libya. Opposition MSPs [Members of Scottish Parliament] felt that his decision had been flawed from start to finish, and were wondering why he had not been transferred to a hospice in Scotland. Mr Macaskill replied, saying that it would have taken 48 police officers to maintain security, not really compatible with a hospice situation.

Although I do not like the current nationalist administration in Edinburgh, I feel that their decision to release Megrahi was taken with the right reasoning in mind. I agree with the Edinburgh Leith MSP Malcolm Chisholm that the politicisation of this case is regrettable - and at any rate, Megrahi is now over in Libya, to die.

Monday 24 August

Quite a bright and sunny day, but breezy - a southerly wind force 5 this morning. Which means that we had a third abortive visit by a cruiseliner. The Vistamar hove into view at 10.30, with all intention of docking. Unfortunately, the southerly wind made it quite hazardous for this large vessel to manoeuver (read: perform a 180 degree turn), so about an hour ago, she duly went on her way again. At this time, AIS does not show her updated destination. Please note: if you read this much later than the time of posting, the AIS map that the link leads to will not show an up-to-date position of this vessel.

Hurricane Bill has ceased being a tropical cyclone; it is now a non-tropical depression, headed east across the Atlantic. The UK will see its remnant on Wednesday, blowing northeast across the country with a lot of wind and rain. That means a nasty northeasterly for us, as we'll be in the northern quadrant of the depression. Another tropical cyclone I have so far not mentioned is typhoon Vamco. That system is gradually weakening as it moves north along 156 degree longitude east towards Kamchatka and the Aleutian Islands in the North Pacific. It peaked at 115 knots (130 mph), but was not bothering anyone apart from seafarers.