Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Island Paradise: Leaving Aberdeen

There are a few ways to get from Aberdeen to Orkney. One of the reasons why I chose Aberdeen in the first place is that Northlink Ferries runs a service from Aberdeen to Shetland, and that service also calls at Orkney several times per week. I pre-booked my passage aboard the ship, the MV Hrossey ("Hrossey" being the old Norse word for "Orkney"), and showed up on Thursday afternoon with my 5.11 Rush MOAB 10, a mini duffel bag, and enough stuff to get me through a long weekend.

As we left Aberdeen harbor, I went up on the top observation deck and took some pictures. There was a lot of wind up there, but I was able to get a few decent snaps. For example, the University of Aberdeen's Sir Duncan Rice Library (otherwise known as the "Hideous Glass Cube") was visible from the observation deck. (In point of fact, I've only actually been in the Hideous Glass Cube three or four times since we have a dedicated postgraduate study room.) We also sailed through a flotilla of small ships that I'm assuming are related to the energy industry - Aberdeen is considered the "energy capital of Europe" because of its status as the hub for the North Sea's booming petroleum industry. Here's a picture of one of those ships...

... and the flotilla of its peers off the coast of Aberdeen. After that, I went back to the main deck, set up shop at a table across from the ship's bar, and did some work. Eventually a bloke from Fife by the name of Chick (Chuck) struck up a conversation, so we chatted for most of the rest of the voyage. He had a lot of stories to tell about Scotland and folk music, and was quite impressed that I knew who The Proclaimers were. In order of least to most important, the three things I was explicitly told to look up based upon that conversation were:

  • Heroes and Villains by the Beach Boys;
  • Ambergris, which has apparently been found on Orkney beaches; and
  • the late Michael Marra, who was Chick's favorite singer and who died a few days before our voyage.

    Interestingly enough, I actually maintained mobile phone reception for far longer than I did back in 2004, and was able to pull down Internet data until something on the order of halfway through the voyage. Unfortunately, the sea conditions got a lot worse before they got better, so for about a third of the trip, I was desperately fighting the urge to vomit all over the deck of the Hrossey. In the end, I was able to fight that urge - great success! The seas calmed down as we got closer to Orkney, and we finally arrived at the ferry terminal in Hatston, where I was picked up by Gray 1 and Gray 5.
  • 1 comment:

    1. This is why I won't go to Orkney by ferry. You suppressed the urge to vomit, I would not have.