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Hamnavoe 18/3/07
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Hamnavoe 18/3/07

This is the 1400 sailing of the Hamnavoe from Stromness 18/03/2007.
Sorry about the poor quality photo.
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Picture added on 19 March 2007
I bet they didn't sell many steak pies that day!
Added by Ross on 19 March 2007
If ever there was a picture to convince me never to return to Orkney by sea, this must be it!!! How scary must the crossing have been if it was looking like that before it was even out of sight of land??
Anonymous comment added on 19 March 2007
It really wasn't that bad, actually looks worse than it was...I know for I was on it !
Added by Sheena on 19 March 2007
Rather you than me!!! It looks awful!!
Anonymous comment added on 19 March 2007
Have a look at this (click links for video)
a) Hamnavoe leaving Stromness (Hoy Sound)
b) ex mv Suilven, CalMacs 30 years older & purpose built boat for "sheltered waters" between Ullapool & Stornoway, now serving in New Zealand waters

Added by Wolfgang Schlick on 20 March 2007
The video link just serves to make me feel more sick than I do looking at a photograph!!
Added by No Sea legs!! on 20 March 2007
Next time I come to orkney it will be by plane !!
Added by Jenny on 23 March 2007
Very deceptive really. These things rock about if you breathe on them too hard! P&O used to sail in worse weather than that without any of the rocking and rolling done by Northlink's tubs!!!
Added by Kathy Danby, Kirkwall on 26 March 2007
Kathy, I think that is a little unfair, any bad experiences I have had on the Northlink boats were certainly matched by those on the St. Ola. Different motions but same uncomfort.
Added by Das Sutherland on 27 March 2007
Maybe so, but I'm a good sailor, so for me to make a comment about a boat rocking around means it really DOES make for uncomfortable travelling. I've only travelled on the Hamnavoe once and I wasn't overly impressed, but unfortunately I have had to travel on the Hjaltland/Hrossey quite a number of times. Apart from the rocking about at the slightest wind or wave I find them the most boring ships I have ever travelled on. If Mr. Banks was prepared to go to Aberdeen instead of Gills Bay I would use Pentland Ferries every time. Each to their own I suppose, but to me the Northlink boats are completely unsuitable for these waters, and are just glorified cruise ships.
Added by Kathy Danby on 28 March 2007
I think that anybody who travelled on the third St.Ola after it had been altered (see picture #2693) would prefer the Hamnavoe every time. I'm certainly not sticking up for Northlink because they have provided us with a service that just isn't reliable enough, especially compared to P&O, but surely the standard of their vessels can't be questioned.
Added by Bruce Moar on 29 March 2007
If you want to travel on a cruise liner maybe not. But I don't, I just want to enjoy the voyage on something that at least LOOKS like a ship. Outside they look like ships, but inside they are terrible - televisions blaring away all the time - nowhere to stand outside that is even comfortable - and on the two ships sailing from Kirkwall ridiculous sailing times that make being outside useless anyway. I personally loved the old Sunniva - brilliant crew, reliable sailings and excellent food.

Talking of brilliant ships, I was talking to a man the other day who had like myself travelled on the MV Contender on a few occasions. Now that was the best way to travel to Orkney - something that rolled the way a ship should in heavy seas, and yet was steady as a rock in calm seas - and the food! A meal was included in the price of your ticket, and if you travelled on Sunday you could manage to get two meals!
Added by Kathy Danby on 29 March 2007
Not wanting to start a WHO'S BEST ON THE PENTLAND FIRTH ROUTE argument, but over the last 2 years I have been on the Hamnavoe approx 20 round trips. I could not find fault with the boat. It is large enough that you always find a COMFORTABLE area to sit down and relax in. Even in rough seas, you do not find the roll. The Hamnavoe is a good sea boat compared with anything that P&O ever had on the route. I have travelled 1 1/2 trips on the Gills Bay boat, and will only use that in the case of a dire emergency. The last time I used the Claymore was during May 2004, and I was far from comfortable. I am not knocking Andrew Banks and the service he provides without grant aid, good luck to him as he has made Northlink sit up and take notice. Today coming home on the Hamnavoe, I spoke to someone who was on the boat on the day the above picture was taken, and he said that although you knew the boat was heaving about, once it cleared Hoy Sound, the crossing was OK, considering the weather.
Anonymous comment added on 30 March 2007
Well every time I have been on the Hamnavoe I have spent most of the crossing in the loo being sick. At least the floors are clean, so you cant get dirty knees! I think Andrew is providing a fantastic service, and we almost always use him. And all done with no handouts unlike the Hamnavoe!
Added by Alison on 31 March 2007
Hamnavoe is a great ship, I'm not a good sailor, but i have never been sick on it yet even in rough weather, which was not the case with the Ola. And anyway if you're going to be ill you might as well be ill in comfort.

[I think we'll call it a draw on the good boat/bad boat argument, given the polarised opinion!- Steven]
Added by Chris Shearer on 31 March 2007
O dear god!
that video just made me like wanna be sick :( I hate the northlink. Ad rather swim to abredeen than go on that boat :(
Added by Nicola on 25 May 2008
I think that last comment just about said it all!! Anyone who is prepared to swim in the North Sea rather than travel on NorthLink just has to be believed!!!

My next trip to mainland Scotland will be on Andrew Banks's new cat - maiden voyage!! I can't wait.

Added by Kathy Danby on 26th May 2008
Added by Mrs. Kathy Danby on 26 May 2008
Hmm, don't assume that a catamaran will necessarily be more comfortable than a single hull vessel. Rolling usually less, but pitching (bow to stern seesawing) can be 'exciting'.
Added by Dave Smith on 28 May 2008
Good, suits me either way. I wouldn't want it to be too calm - very uninteresting.

By the way Orkney Ferries are trying a trip to Fair Isle again in July this year - with the Varagen. I went on the trip with the Orcadia many times - and thoroughly enjoyed it every time. I shall certainly be on that one.

Kathy Danby
Added by Mrs. Kathy Danby on 28 May 2008
I'm off to Orkney in April this year with my daughter.Thought it would be a great trip and a lot different to my usual 'safe' beach holidays. However, reading the above has really put me off as I was not looking forward to the crossing anyway.
Will just have to get a good supply of sea sickness pills and hope for the best!!!
Added by Janet on 08 February 2011
Was terrified of getting on this boat, as was told before we left Scrabster that there was a heavy swell and I was dreading it. My fears that I had mentioned at the bottom of this page in February were about to come true. However, I concentrated on looking out the window at the land in the distance (when it wasn't covered by a wall of water!!) and managed not to be sick, which was just as well as couldn't have walked to the toilets it was too rough. Coming home the following week I was a nervous wreck before setting off at 6.30am on the llth April, 2011, but the crossing was ok that time and passed all too quickly. Hoping to go again to visit my daughter.
Added by Janet. on 24 April 2011
The secret is dont look out the window, and you wont realise how much roll there is. Lie back in a recliner chair and close your eyes or have a sleep and you will hardly know you were on the sea.

Now had this been on the 2 previous St Ola's you have have been justified in being scared.
Added by Alastair on 25 April 2011
I agree with Alastair's comment about reclining (and keeping your head as still as possible) in order to prevent the dreaded mal-de-mer. However, Janet is right too. If you can keep your eyes on a fixed reference-point, such as land, or just the horizon, it helps to keep the brain's vomiting-centre under control. It hates getting mis-matched inputs from the body's various position and motion sensors - mainly the inner ears and the eyes. If you just sit and look at the wall (sorry, bulkhead) your inner ears detect the ship's movement but your eyes don't. If you move around, the sensory input from your movement is at odds with that from the ship's movement. Result in either case: vomiting-centre sends stomach the message to start throwing up. (How this helped humans evolve I've no idea.)
Incidentally, as one who travelled on all four St Olas over the years, I'd swap the lot for the Hamnavoe when it comes to comfort at sea.
Added by Ian Hourston on 27 April 2011
As a driver on the maiden voyage on the St Ola 111 with Glasgow firm AJ Mclellan i experienced this trip many a time but still loved my time on the Orkney Islands. The people on both the island and the ship were fantastic .
Added by Tommy Mc Aleese on 26 August 2011
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London Zoo seal-acquisition project #16London Zoo seal-acquisition project #15William Papley 1920Stromness harbour with herring fleet. ca 1900Stromness from Brinkie's Brae ca 1900Stromness herring workers ca 1900Stromness, tinker encampmentStromness Pierhead c. 1900Stromness c. 1900Pier Arts Centre