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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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    There's a pretty good chance that during Summer I'm going to spend a week aboard the Atlantis.

    Not @Pieter Boelen's new boat, though that was indirectly responsible. After reading about the planned name change, for a bit of amusement I did a Google Image search for anything else called Atlantis, and among others, found this:
    [​IMG]
    A bit of following up shows that this Atlantis belongs to the Tallship Company, which owns several sailing ships and uses them for passenger cruises.

    In particular, this (only available in German):
    Whisky Segelreisen - Tallship Company

    It's a cruise aboard a German sailing ship round Scottish islands. I'm interested in sailing ships. I live in Scotland. And I have German relatives. This voyage ticks so many boxes that about the only thing missing is an invitation with my name on it, but I'm not making that a requirement. So with any luck, I won't be active on this forum in late May...
     
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  2. Pieter Boelen

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

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    That sounds just bloody awesome, @Grey Roger! :woot

    Plus... further proof that "Atlantis" is a perfectly valid name for a sailboat. :cheeky
     
  3. Homo eructus

    Homo eructus Freebooter Storm Modder

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    Nice! Enjoy the trip!

    That ship reminds me somewhat of the Thalassa, a Dutch tall ship on which I spent a few days sailing from England to Spain in 2005 (the same regatta in which the Pride of Baltimore was dismasted, it was a pretty rough night, although I slept for most of it)
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Pieter Boelen

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

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    I still want to do something like that one day! Sounds bloody brilliant. :woot
     
  5. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    Funny you should say that. Look what we found in Port Ellen:
    8250thalassa.jpg

    More photos and a full report to follow...
     
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  6. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    So, the fun started on Saturday 20th May. Passengers made their way to Oban, where the Atlantis was moored, by various means. I went by train via Glasgow and so did quite a few others, judging by the number of German-speakers in the same coach, several with obvious indications of intent such as booklets from the company or shirts commemorating previous similar cruises. This was some of them after arrival on board:
    049passengers.jpg

    And this was Atlantis:
    019atlantis_oban2.jpg

    We weren't the only sailing ship in port:
    015lady_of_avenel1.jpg

    Later we spotted the Flying Dutchman, but we weren't too worried. For one thing, she had already apparently taken a prize; for another, she wasn't as big as Atlantis.

    After we'd dumped our luggage, some of us went for a wander round Oban. Here's a panorama of most of the town:
    031oban_panorama2.jpg

    We had to go for a walk because we'd arrived a bit early and the crew were still sorting out our cabins. After we returned, I finally got to see where I'd be spending the next few nights:
    033cabin.jpg

    And then we were formally introduced to the crew:
    050crew.jpg

    We weren't scheduled to leave Oban until the following day, so this is what the place looks like at night:
    052oban_night.jpg

    By the way, I wasn't joking about the Flying Dutchman. She's rather less impressive in real life than in the game or film:
    032oban_ships4.jpg
    (That black ship in front of her is the Lady of Avenel, the ship seen earlier in another part of port.)
     
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  7. Pieter Boelen

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

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    That's quite a sizeable ship, that is! Great interior too. :woot

    And talking about "Atlantis", behold this picture I took yesterday:
    18699466_10155256091131678_520862604138499773_o.jpg
    Yes, my dear boat no longer sports her old name and is not nameless anymore either.
    "S/Y Atlantis" it is! :dance
     
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  8. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    Just as well yours is registered at Lelystad to avoid any confusion. xD Ours is from Amsterdam:
    218repainted_ring.jpg

    So, on the morning of 21st May, we set off:
    065bow_view.jpg

    When we got the chance, we set sails:
    072rope_pulling.jpg
    The woman is one of the crew. The man is not. We got to join in! I can't take photos and pull a rope at the same time, and everyone wanted a go, so I couldn't ask someone else to photograph me because if I did, while I was doing so, someone else would probably have taken the rope I was about to pull. But I was partly responsible for this one:
    073staysail_up.jpg

    A ferry passed us. They don't get to see sailing ships all that often, so they were rather interested:
    079photographers.jpg

    Although the main purpose of the cruise was to visit whisky distilleries, they were all closed, this being a Sunday. So we visited Duart Castle instead:
    097duart_castle2.jpg 101atlantis2.jpg
    See that dinghy speeding away from the ship? That's how we got ashore.

    During the English Civil War, which wasn't limited to England, Duart Castle was on the side of the Royalists. So after Cromwell had won, he sent a small fleet to attack the castle. Three ships were sunk in a storm, and one of them was soon found - in fact, judging by a map, we must have been moored pretty close to it. There was a poster display and also this painting:
    139painting.jpg
    (Bearing in mind that this is in the context of the English Civil War, what is wrong with this picture? :D)

    Somewhat earlier, after the Spanish Armada had been defeated and was trying to sail round the British Isles to return to Spain, one of its galleons ended up in Tobermory. I'm not sure if this model, which was on display, looked anything like the Tobermory galleon, but it certainly looks like our Fast War Galleon, so I may try to do another retexture...
    128galleon_model1.jpg

    As a souvenir, I picked up a deerstalker hat, which led to the other passengers calling me "Sherlock Holmes". Not just the passengers, either - when we were all back aboard, one of the crew went through the register to make sure we really were all back aboard, and pointed out to me that there was no Mr. Holmes on the register. xD

    In the evening, we got down to the real business of the cruise - whisky! We had a Dutch whisky expert who gave us a bit of a lecture about the stuff, as well as instructing us on the full ritual of tasting, and then we got to practice on these:
    233whiskies.jpg

    Incidentally, the ship has a small library - well, actually a bookshelf in the bar. One of the books is all about a Windjammer Parade in the 1970's. And one of the ships present was the Black Pearl. Forget any fictional ship you may have heard under that name, this is the real one:
    225black_pearl.jpg
     
  9. Pieter Boelen

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

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    Sounds like you had a positively glorious time!!! :woot

    Big damn Dutch flag on that middle ship? :shock

    :rofl :rofl :rofl
     
  10. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    I forgot to mention a little story which I read on one of the boards in Duart Castle. Lachlan Cattanach, 11th chief, was married to Elizabeth, sister of Colin Campbell, 3rd Earl of Argyll. The marriage didn't go well and there were no children, so in 1519 Lachlan decided to end the marriage by dumping Elizabeth on a small rock which is covered by the sea when the tide is in. Fortunately for Elizabeth, some passing fishermen heard her, rescued her, and took her to her brother, who was none too pleased. Meanwhile Lachlan, not knowing this, now wrote to Colin, offering his condolences and suggesting the body be brought to Inveraray to be buried among her kin. The Earl of Argyll played along. And so, when Lachlan arrived to deliver the coffin, he was shown into the hall where the family were dining - among them Elizabeth, sitting next to her brother. She presumably forgave Lachlan and asked for his life to be spared because he got away with it. But the Campbells hadn't forgotten, and Lachlan was murdered in his bed in 1527 during a visit to Edinburgh.

    The rock where Elizabeth was supposed to drown is now known as Lady's Rock. The tide, and for that matter the weather, didn't allow us to see it while we were at Duart Castle.
     
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  11. Pieter Boelen

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

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    Holy crap, that's quite some story! :shock
     
  12. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    The first distillery we visited was supposed to be on Jura, but there was a snag. The wind was being particularly unco-operative, and unlike in PoTC where you can moor at any port or beach which happens to be convenient to your next objective, we had to pick somewhere where, in the event of the anchor coming loose, we wouldn't spend the rest of the night aground. That somewhere put us out of reach of Jura. So this was what our mooring place looked like in the morning:
    238seaview1.jpg

    Ever noticed a message in "system.log" about "Bad rope"? This is when a rope has been defined at one end but not at the other. And this is what "Bad rope" looks like in reality:
    213rigging.jpg

    Defining the other end involves a bit more work than editing a file:
    242fixing_rope.jpg

    And so, to business. With Jura out, the first distillery we visited was Bunnahabhain, on Islay, and although it has a pier, the water at the pier was too shallow for the keel of Atlantis. That meant we got to ride in the dinghy again. We were welcomed by the tour guide, paid for the full tour, and went in...
    248bunnahabhain_approach2.jpg 249in_dinghy.jpg 251entrance1.jpg

    Incidentally, it seems someone else wasn't as careful on the way in as we were.
    246shipwreck.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2017
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  13. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    How whisky is made:
    First you get some malted barley - that's barley which has been moistened, allowed to start to germinate, then dried out. Very few distilleries do this themselves; there are a few places which do it in bulk - more about that later. The malt goes into a mill and is ground down into grist:
    254mill.jpg 255grist.jpg

    This is mixed with water in the mash tun:
    256mash_tun.jpg

    And then it's brewed for a while in a washback, which looks like a huge wooden barrel:
    259washback2.jpg

    At this point it's about the strength and consistency of a modest beer. So it goes into a still, where it gets distilled, after which it's about the strength of wine; then it goes into a second still, after which it's serious spirit:
    260stills.jpg

    The spirit's strength is checked in the spirit safe:
    261spirit_safe.jpg

    The spirit is clear, tastes basically burny and a bit sweet, and you can call it neat spirit, rotgut, or pretty well anything else you like, but you're not allowed to call it whisky until it's been in an oak cask for at least three years and one day, and usually a lot longer:
    263casks2.jpg
     
  14. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    So now we'd seen how whisky was made, we got the chance to try some:
    268shop.jpg

    Then it was back to the ship:
    266atlantis_gateway2.jpg

    We passed a couple more distilleries on the way, including this one, which we didn't visit - yet:
    279ardbeg1.jpg

    And then we arrived in Port Ellen, where we would spend the night:
    283port_ellen1.jpg 284port_ellen2.jpg 302sunset_deck.jpg 305ships_lights.jpg

    In the bar of Atlantis is a clock which always gives the right time.
    304right_time.jpg
     
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  15. Pieter Boelen

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

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    Goodness gracious me, that's some epic hilarity again!
    You've got a gift for writing entertaining stories, you do. :onya

    And I like the specificness of "three years and one day". :rofl
     
  16. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    "Three years and one day" isn't my idea. That really is the official specification.
     
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  17. Pieter Boelen

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

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    That only makes it MORE hilarious. ;)
     
  18. ANSEL

    ANSEL Corsair Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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  19. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    Tuesday, 23rd May. Remember how I said distilleries don't tend to make their own malt, they get it from somewhere else which produces the stuff in massive quantities? Port Ellen is such a place. But although Port Ellen has no distilleries of its own, there are three of them up the road. Literally. It's called the "Three Distilleries Path" and signposted as such. And so some of us went for a little walk:
    313map2.jpg 310start_walking.jpg

    The local wildlife was keeping an eye on us. Crows in this part of Scotland aren't your usual Mk. 1 basic black crow; they're grey, with black head and wings:
    317crow2.jpg

    This was the old Excise House. I've no idea if anyone named Shaypen ever lived here, but judging by washing in the back garden, someone is certainly living in it now, it's not a museum, so we didn't call in:
    318old_excise_house.jpg

    We were still being watched:
    321meadow_pipit.jpg

    And then we arrived at the first distillery, Laphroaig. There's a place for washing your boots. The significance of this would become clear later...
    325laphroaig_entrance.jpg 333wellie_washing_area.jpg

    Inside was a poster display room showing the history of the distillery. The US was (and is) a big export destination for whisky, so the Prohibition hit a lot of distilleries hard. Laphroaig pulled of a neat trick; they managed to get their stuff classed as medicinal and it was the only whisky legally available in the US at that time. The poster room also served as a lounge, with the inevitable tasting:
    337prohibition.jpg 341tasting.jpg

    They've got a nice scheme going now. You sign up on a touch-screen computer as a Friend of Laphroaig, the only cost being your name, age and e-mail address, which means you're probably going to get spammed, but any half-decent spam filter will deal with that if you aren't quite as friendly as they'd hoped. In return, you get a certificate printed while you wait, which entitles you to 1 square foot of land. There are GPS co-ordinates for your plot, for those who have the reading of them, though GPS isn't that precise which means your square foot is likely to have the same co-ordinates as those of the next Friend. And you're entitled to claim your "rent" - a dram of whisky. I signed up for a laugh, and so did one of the other passengers:
    347friend.jpg

    The meaning of the welly-washing station now became clear. You also get to pick a little paper flag, then you can go out into a field, try to guess which bit of the field is yours, and put the flag on it. Judging by several groups of flags on the way, some people either couldn't be bothered to walk that far or didn't want to chance it if there had been rain recently and the field had turned muddy. In case of that, you could borrow a pair of wellington boots, and presumably clean them when you got back. The weather hadn't been that bad recently and anyway I had decent hiking boots, so I didn't bother with theirs, but both I and the other guy duly set off to make our mark in this field:
    352plot_field.jpg 351cairn_200years.jpg

    That cairn on the left of the field commemorates the fact that Prince Charles, in his role of Lord of the Isles, visited the place in 2015, when the distillery celebrated its 200th anniversary. The distillery is proud of its royal connection and gets to put "By Royal Appointment" on all its bottles.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
  20. Pieter Boelen

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

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    On behalf of my father:
    :bow :bow :bow

    That's his favourite whiskey!
     

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