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Atlantis

Discussion in 'The Burning Brig' started by Grey Roger, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    The second distillery along the road was Lagavulin, which didn't have such an impressive display. We got to sit in their lounge and try some of their product:
    356lagavulin.jpg 357tasting1.jpg

    And then we went outside for a packed lunch provided by the cook of the Atlantis. We had a good view of Dunyvaig Castle, or what's left of it, and also a couple of seals, who seemed to be taking the afternoon off:
    363dunyvaig_castle3.jpg 365seal2.jpg

    On the way to the next distillery, we passed the current Excise House. We didn't call in that one either.
    367excise_house.jpg

    We'd just entered the grounds of Ardbeg Distillery when we noticed a ship moving out. That had better have been the Thalassa because if it was Atlantis, we were going to have a rather longer walk back than we'd expected:
    372ardbeg2.jpg 373ardbeg_thalassa.jpg

    In the carpark were displayed a big logo, a still, and a dinosaur head. I've no idea what the dinosaur head was doing there.
    375logo_carpark.jpg 376still.jpg 374dinosaur.jpg

    Ardbeg offered an express tasting of five of its whiskies:
    380express_tasting_board.jpg
    Islay malts have a smokier taste than most, because the Islay distilleries aren't afraid to let peat get in the water which is used in the making. Some other distilleries keep their water peat-free. Islay distilleries don't. Ardbeg doesn't mess about, it gets peat into the process wherever it can, which means if you like your whisky peaty, that's probably the one for you.

    After that we got the bus back to Port Ellen, where it turned out the departing ship had indeed been Thalassa. So, back on Atlantis, it was time for dinner.
    382dinner.jpg

    And that's as good a point as any to state that the food on the Atlantis was absolutely superb. There was plenty of salad for anyone who was vegetarian and plenty of meat for anyone who wasn't, along with enough side dishes to complete the meal, all cooked to perfection.
     
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  2. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    No it isn't, the reason being Scotch whisky like Laphroaig doesn't have an "e". Whiskey, with an "e", is Irish, American, or pretty well anyone else's, but it isn't Scotch. So if your father is drinking whiskey then it isn't Laphroaig. :p Now, if it's his favourite whisky, that's another matter. :cheers (Wrong glasses, but there isn't an icon with proper whisky glasses...)
     
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  3. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    I know that! Well... Kind-of...
    I can never remember if it is with or without the "e" that is the real Scottish deal.
    So.... Shame on me anyway!!! :whipa
     
  4. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    The following day, we left Port Ellen. Raising the anchor was fairly easy, the winches are electric and operated by remote control:
    383raise_anchor.jpg

    The port anchor caught some seaweed and had to be lowered and raised a few times to clear it. Much to the crew's relief, it did clear, otherwise someone would have had to go over the side to clean it.

    We ran into some pretty serious fog, dense enough that you could barely see the ship's bows, let alone anything further out:
    388fog.jpg

    In PoTC, you get the "Extra Stay Sail" upgrade by spending lots of money and one day in a shipyard. Here's what "Extra Stay Sail" looks like in reality:
    414unpacking_sail.jpg 415sail_unpacked.jpg 425installing_sail1.jpg
    We didn't need to go to a shipyard to fit the sail (though the crew presumably bought it in a port somewhere). The sail was ready in a lot less than one day, though we didn't get to try it until the next day because on this day the wind was either blowing straight in our face or not blowing at all.

    And here's one of the crew modelling this year's fashion in safety harness:
    426shuka_harness.jpg

    By now, the fog had lifted. We passed a cave but didn't send the dinghy to investigate if there was anything drinkable hidden inside:
    419cave1.jpg

    Further along the coast was this Celtic cross:
    436celtic_cross.jpg

    We were heading for Campbeltown when we picked up an escort:
    441dolphins1.jpg 445dolphins5.jpg

    And in the evening, we reached the port of Campbeltown:
    452campbeltown4.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
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  5. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    The amount of amazing things you experienced is... well... AMAZING! :shock
     
  6. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    One of my hobbies is model rockets. On Saturday I was off with a group of fellow rocketeers flying some of the things, and this is what I've done with a tube that used to hold a miniature bottle of whisky:
    11weedram.jpg 23weedram_launch.jpg
    I got a similar miniature from Laphroaig, also in a tube, which is going to get the same treatment...

    Meanwhile, back to the Atlantis story, and 25th May saw us in Campbeltown. Anyone here played the board game "Settlers of Cataan", also known simply as "Cataan"? Ever traded wood for sheep? This is what it looks like in reality:
    466livestock_wood.jpg

    As it happened, our trip coincided with Campbeltown's whisky festival. If we'd been there a day earlier we'd have been able to see the Glen Scotia distillery hold its open day. We were even luckier, we got to see Springbank's open day instead. The open day featured hourly tours of the main Springbank distillery and the neighbouring Glengyle distillery. Also, you could buy a strip of 5 tickets, which you could trade in at the bar for 5 drams of your choice of the distilleries' products at any time during the day. This was their product list:
    474whisky_list.jpg
    (You'll note that a couple of them are matured in rum casks. Naturally I had to try one because, well, rum! It was rather nice, in fact.) For those who were either local or who had travelled by car, and so could carry a significant load away, there were boxes of whisky being sold to mark the day, as well as tickets for certain specific events. There was quite a queue for tickets:
    473ticket_queue.jpg

    Not only whisky was on offer. Various foods and crafts were on sale in stalls around the place, including these wooden cows:
    476wooden_cows.jpg

    The ship's crew got the day off so they could enjoy the festivities as well:
    477crew.jpg

    For a while, a brass band provided the music:
    498band.jpg
     
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  7. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    Springbank does things the traditional way. Remember how I said earlier that not many distilleries produce their own malt, instead getting it from places that produce the stuff in bulk? Springbank is one which does produce its own. Thousands of tons of barley are spread over a huge floor, moistened, allowed to begin to germinate, and dried, and that's the malted barley. Some of it is mixed with peat, some of it isn't. The peated and not-peated stuff goes through separate funnels into separate storage bins:
    483filling_funnels.jpg

    The guide told us how a computer logs which malt goes into which bin, but judging by his expression, you could tell that he was having a bit of a joke. This is their "computer":
    484computer.jpg

    The process is pretty much the same as other distilleries. The malt is ground into grist, mixed with water in a mash tun, brewed into something like beer, then distilled into spirit whose strength is checked in a spirit safe.
    485mill.jpg 486mash_tun.jpg 487stills.jpg 491spirit_safe.jpg 493spirit_receiver.jpg 497casks3.jpg

    Springbank produces three general classes of whisky. Normal Springbank is distilled twice, then part of the result is distilled a third time. Longrow is distilled twice, plain and simple, like most whiskies. Hazelburn has pretty much the whole lot distilled three times.
    488springbank_process.jpg 489longrow_process.jpg 490hazelburn_process.jpg

    And that explains the Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn whiskies which were available for tasting at the bar.
     
  8. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    Back in the day, Campbeltown was the whisky capital of Scotland with dozens of distilleries. The Depression plus the American Prohibition hit distilleries hard and almost all of Campbeltown's distilleries closed down, leaving just Springbank and Glen Scotia still going. But in the early 2000's a rule came into force that a whisky region had to have at least three working distilleries. So Springbank acquired the premises of the defunct Glengyle distillery and rebuilt it. There was a bit of a snag, though - someone else had bought up the name "Glengyle" and wanted silly money to sell it, which meant Glengyle distillery couldn't call its whisky Glengyle. So Glengyle's produce is called Kilkerran instead.

    Springbank is tended by a crew of just 6 men, and as it's an old-fashioned distillery, it's rather labour intensive. Glengyle is a lot more modern and easier to work, and the same team of 6 occasionally go over to tend it. They also have a rather interesting logo:
    512glengyle_stills.jpg

    When they were clearing some vegetation around the remains of the old distillery, they found they had a rather nice view of a nearby church tower, framed by two metal bars in the wall plus the hole in the wall itself.
    517kilcerran_logo_source.jpg 518kilcerran_logo_source2.jpg

    Meanwhile, someone else had arrived in port:
    502thalassa2.jpg

    I met some of the Thalassa passengers while standing in the queue for the bar. They'd left Port Ellen before us, arrived here after us, and squeezed in another island in between. Fine, but we had a more relaxing voyage and we got to see dolphins, so :razz

    There was also another rather odd craft - er, raft - in port:
    501raft2.jpg

    There was a sign at the bar that all tickets had to be used up by 5:45pm, but that didn't bother us because anyone still at the bar by that time would have missed the Atlantis, which was leaving at 4pm. So I grabbed my last sample and, rather than rush it down, carried it back to the ship, where I wasn't in any danger of missing the deadline but did have enough time to drink the stuff properly. And so we left Campbeltown:
    524leaving_campbeltown.jpg
     
  9. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    Again, the atmosphere was very relaxed. One of the passengers had found a guitar in the ship's bar and was rather good with it. Another had some wine:
    535afternoon_music.jpg 536afternoon_wine.jpg

    We'd all been keeping an eye on the ship's flags, hoping they'd start moving, and in the right direction. Because that would mean we could have another go at the sails. Eventually the wind co-operated. So while anyone who could grab a rope joined in, some of the crew went up top to set the new sail:
    538sail_setting1.jpg 545new_sail1.jpg

    After that, we'd earned our dinner, which due to the pleasant weather, was served on deck rather than down in the bar:
    547dinner_on_deck1.jpg

    This is what Atlantis looks like under full sail:
    553ship_under_sail3.jpg 554ship_under_sail4.jpg

    No, I hadn't been left behind. Observe the flat sails. The wind had dropped again and the ship wasn't going anywhere. But before we pulled in the sails and the ship started its engine, we had one more treat. The dinghy was lowered and anyone who wanted to take their own photos of the Atlantis under full sail, which was probably everyone, got a trip round the ship:
    557dinghy_photographers.jpg

    After that we reverted to motorised movement and proceeded to Arran, where we watched the sun go down:
    563arran_harbour2.jpg 568sunset4.jpg

    And we made some new friends, looking for a late night supper:
    571swans3.jpg
     
  10. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    It sounds positively amazing, @Grey Roger! :woot

    That is hilarious!!! :rofl

    Not convinced my father would approve.
    You think I should tell him...? :rolleyes:
     
  11. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    Why not? I'm half inclined to tell Laphroaig...
     
  12. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Go for it then! :cheers

    Today I took my family out sailing for their first day EVER! Here we were overtaking a larger sailboat in Beaufort 4. :woot
    IMG-20170605-WA0007.jpg
     
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  13. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    That must have been a lot of fun! (Did the passengers want to join in with the sails? :D)
     
  14. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    It most definitely was!!! :woot

    A little bit. They were admittedly still a bit clueless by the end, but this won't be the last time so they'll still have plenty of chance to learn it better.

    And, in fact, I'm not exactly a hugely experienced SAILor either. So I'm doing a lot of on-the-job learning myself. :cheeky
     
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  15. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    And so our journey was on its last day. The swans were back, even going after the dinghy in the hope of breakfast:
    575swans2.jpg

    On our way to the distillery, we visited the ruins of Lochranza Castle, from which there was a nice view of our ship:
    585lochranza_castle2.jpg 596walls_atlantis.jpg

    Continuing on our way, we saw this. He just sat there and I wondered if he was stuffed. Apparently not - when we were on the way back, he'd gone across the road and was lying on the path leading into a golf course.
    603stag.jpg

    We finally reached the distillery:
    604arran_distillery.jpg

    There was a tour. First they take the malted barley and...

    Blow that! You've seen it all before, we'd heard it all before, and if you've forgotten then you can read all about it in earlier posts. So instead of another tour, several of us went for a tasting session instead:
    609tasting1.jpg 612tasting_tutor2.jpg

    The deal here was that there were four groups of Arran's whiskies and you got to taste one from each group. If you were at a table with someone else, which everyone was because there weren't enough tables to go round, you picked one from a group and the other person picked another, then you swapped glasses and got to try two from each group.
    613groups.jpg
    One woman had figured out a sneaky dodge. Someone from another group had admitted that he was driving, in which case he couldn't drink any whisky, so the tutor instead gave him his choice from each group in a little jar. So this woman duly admitted that she was also driving, got told off for it, and also got a set of little jars, making a fine souvenir. :D Meanwhile, we were shown how smugglers hid the stuff:
    614book.jpg

    Then it was time to head back to the ship. Ever get the feeling you're being followed?
    624two_ships_castle.jpg 625thalassa.jpg
    Yes, the Thalassa had turned up. Tough luck. A couple of the whiskies in the tasting session were limited edition, aren't made any more, and we'd finished off the last of them.
     
  16. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    On the way to our final destination, which was Troon, one of the passengers decided to go the whole way. He wanted to go up the mast.
    632bernd_rigging.jpg

    Me, I was content to stay on deck and help pull ropes to raise sails, and finally managed to get someone to take photographic evidence.
    635me_rope1.jpg 645stay_sail_up.jpg

    The ferry would have been quicker but nowhere near as much fun:
    648isle_of_arran.jpg

    We also passed a big tanker, easy enough to pass because it wasn't going anywhere:
    652pecos2.jpg

    We weren't the only ones in Troon harbour. I've no idea what the rust-bucket is, but the motor cruiser looked nice. There were also a couple of seals.
    655troon_approach.jpg 656troon_harbour1.jpg 665motor_cruiser.jpg 668seal1_2.jpg 669seal2_2.jpg

    And, as you might have guessed, someone else arrived a little later:
    672thalassa4.jpg
     
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  17. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    There was one more treat in store - dinner with the captain and crew, accompanied by champagne. The captain made a little speech. We'd had a collection for a big tip for the crew, and we'd signed the guestbook. Collection and guestbook were duly handed over.
    684champagne4.jpg 688captain_speech1.jpg 692presentation1.jpg

    And then it was time for our last encounter with the excellent food from Atlantis:
    696food1.jpg 697food2.jpg 698captains_dinner4.jpg

    There was also some unplanned excitement later, as the Troon lifeboat and dinghy dashed off. At that time of night, it probably wasn't a drill.
    700lifeboat_dinghy_depart.jpg 701lifeboat_depart.jpg

    The guestbook was subsequently put out on display:
    707guestbook.jpg

    The following morning, we disembarked and went our separate ways. A few days later, you got to read all about it...
     
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  18. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Holy crap, sounds like the trip of a lifetime! In-cre-di-ble!!! :eek:h

    In the meantime, I'm seeing double:
    received_1483663125042077.jpeg
    The boat I almost bought is right now moored right next to the one I did buy! :rofl
     
  19. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    Bet you wish you had those modifications from the altered photo. :aar
     
  20. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Damn right!!! :pirate41:
     

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