04.06.2015 - 04.06.2015
Today was living proof that despite adversity life can continue. Even birds and animals rely on co operation, collaboration and nurturing to survive. Given the most extreme lifestyle, if you have what you need you will thrive and your species will prosper. A guillemot makes its home to invite a mate and each time one leaves and returns the pair repeat their preening and affectionate displays with each other. Not all pairs have an egg but they communally care for the ones that are there. If someone is careless and a young one is forced out of the nest, they never return.
Seals enjoyed sunning themselves on rocks around the bay, wiggling and twisting to make sure they were making the most of the day and their surroundings. They were not fussed by onlookers, in fact they looked back.
Puffins were elusive. Not as common as the postcards suggest, not as big as you'd expect. Definitely not interested in being centre of attention, unlike the skewer. Friendly enough to come close to see what was in it for him....but then wanted more, and more, and more....no attention to personal space or grasping when you've out warn your welcome....a Milly with wings.
We sailed out of Lerwick and headed around the North of Bressay, continued out to Noss and returned to Lewick around the south of Bressay, passing one of over 25 lighthouses around the islands. Crofts, sheep, waterfalls seals and native floral displays on uninhabited islands could be seen. Only one otter was spotted today, an athletic one. Not everyone on the boat saw it.
The husband and wife team who led our tour around Bressay and Noss today were an unlikely pair. He Shetlander born, she American. He older, she younger. He practical and logical, she dramatic and entertaining....but they made a happy team. It was their boat, they are both skippers, both work the underwater camera, make decisions together as plans changed according to weather conditions. It worked. They live on their boat, summer in Shetland and Stockholm in winter. She knew how to make great Swedish coffee.
Our 3 hour boat trip was so enjoyable and engaging we were unaware exactly HOW cold we were. On our return to shore my hands were red INSIDE my gloves, with little feeling. Rob too had cause to notice his skin was colder than he realised.
Protection by the people of the people has been a big focus this UK trip. Fort Charlotte is situated on the Lerwick harbour. It overlooks the harbour and guards the harbour. It was built during the Dutch wars. and is where the Highland Battery is garisoned. There are terrific views of the harbour from the fort.
The museum in Shetlands has been arranged in time sequence, telling the story of the land, the inhabitants, the changing ownership of the Iand, Norway then Scottish owing to a dowry and an unpaid mortgage. The wool fabrics, including knitted lace on display is stunning. Their displays were well thought out regarding arrangement, interest levels and pertinent information. School children on an excursion were encouraged to touch and feel many interactive pieces including laying on beds of chaff, straw etc to feel the difference. Yet again welcoming friendly staff to meet and greet you.
Stormy weather is ahead for the next few days, but no doubt calmer days will follow, everyone lives in the hope of warmth and summer. Predictions here regarding the weather are as unreliable as in Perth. So, tomorrow whoever we are, whereever we are we will get up and live the day we have.
Rob will meander across the road at 9am to visit the Shetlands hospital and lab. Chances are we will re visit Fjara for breakfast tomorrow.....they make great coffee....yeah and have seals outside their front window, maybe basking in the rain tomorrow...maybe not.
I guess the saying sunshine follows the rain is as basic as it all gets but we all look for the rainbow (Ryanbo to some) as comfort that there is hope in all of life's challenges.