View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Saturday, 26 September 2009

A year on

On Tuesday, it will be a year ago that AOL gave us a month's notice to quit our journals before they would be deleted. The following 4 weeks were a mad scramble to move our blogs to another platform, mostly this one (Blogger). Many have since left blogging, either for Facebook / Twitter or altogether. AOL, well, they could at least have left the journals on their servers, even if we would not have been able to update them anymore. What galled me most was the cynical request for me to write a guest editor's post on September 25th, knowing (for 2 months) that five days later, the plug would be pulled. And the lack of cooperation from AOL Journals staff, who had not prepared anything, in spite of the 2 months' notice they had themselves.

On 1 October, I commenced a new blog, called Atlantic Lines. It became my main blog at the end of October, when its predecessor Northern Trip was deleted. Like for so many, NT had been a constant companion for years, three years in my case. I managed to transfer it to Blogger, and is now archived there. I set it up on 28 September 2004, when I was staying in Kirkwall, Orkney. I started using it as an internet diary ten days later, by which time I had transferred to the Isle of Skye, more specifically the village of Kyleakin (pronounce: ky-lakkin).

As a memory, I'll post a few entries from five years ago and add a map to show the places I'm talking about.


That is the Philippines designation for tropical storm Ketsana, which is currently moving west across the Philippines. It is dumping vast amounts of rain on the archipelago, leading to catastrophic flooding in the northern island of Luzon, and in the capital Manila. The website for the local weatherservice (PAGASA) has been inaccessible throughout today, probably due to high demand.

Ketsana is only a marginal tropical storm in terms of windspeed, but is carrying large amounts of water, as is typical of tropical systems. After leaving the Philippines later today (GMT), the system will move across the South China Sea, to make landfall in central Vietnam on Tuesday.

Image courtesy Xinhua

Saturday 26 September

Overcast with occasional sunny spells, so a slight improvement. Rain looks unlikely. This morning shows cruiseliner Marco Polo at anchor in Sandwick Bay and the Norwegian submarine S300 along the ferrypier. We've had submarines in before, but they did not moor. The Norwegian navy has put in appearances before, with four small destroyers in April 2007.

On a related theme, Ullapool registered fishing vessel Our Hazel was towed into Stornoway yesterday morning, after an 11 hour trip from the Butt of Lewis. The fishingboat put out an emergency call at 1 am on Friday, after she suffered a mechanical failure. The local lifeboat, (17-18) Tom Sandersen, went to her aid and towed her back to Stornoway.

FV Our Hazel and the lifeboat at Glumag Harbour, yesterday

Cruiseliner Marco Polo

War and Peace: S300 and a tender from the Marco Polo