Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my dinghy cruising blog about my John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. Built over three years, Arwen was launched in August 2007. She is a standing lug yawl 14' 6" in length. This blog records our dinghy cruising voyages together around the coastal waters of SW England.
Arwen has an associated YouTube channel so visit to find our most recent cruises and click subscribe.
On this blog you will find posts about dinghy cruising locations, accounts of our voyages, maintenance tips and 'How to's' ranging from rigging standing lug sails and building galley boxes to using 'anchor buddies' and creating 'pilotage notes'. I hope you find something that inspires you to get out on the water in your boat. Drop us a comment and happy sailing.
Steve and Arwen

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Truly inspiring and spectacular

We have just witnessed the northern lights. Christmas Eve 2014 will always be remembered as the best family holiday moment ever. The lights were directly above us and stretched as far as the horizon across the vast forested lowland plains.

At first mistaken as a thin band of cloud, it developed into ribbons of pulsating light; greens, blues, reds and magenta. The ribbons continuously morphed shape as they snaked across the black cloudless, star studded skies above. The fact that we had dashed out of the hotel without any thermal layers on, was in an instance forgotten.

A Christmas Eve to remember......the hotel restaurant filled with Finns celebrating Christmas. Tradition here has it that they cook their big meal and have their family get together on Christmas Eve. The buffet queue stretched for ever with a range of mouth watering goodies, none of which we could recognise. The menu was in Finnish and so it was that my family took pot luck, got stuck in and just tried everything in front of them. The missus, a vegetarian, was bemused by the proffered beet root risotto that came smothered in reindeer meat and sauce!

Just as impressive was the fact that my new Sony Xperia Z1 compact managed to take photos in minus 27 Celsius without blurring especially when I was shaking so much from the cold!
I woke again at midnight and dashed outside to see if the lights were continuing. The aurora borealis was still above, less resplendent than earlier in the evening. The wind was up and the windchill bitingly cold. When the outside digital thermometer hit minus 28 Celsius, I gave up and sneaked back in to a warm bedroom.

What a night to remember. Stunning, perfectly stunning.

For those who want to know, the northern lights are enshrined in Finnish folklore, whether it be the great arctic fox swishing its tail to create the mesmerising lightshow of sparks as its tail struck snow; or Sami folklore where the lights are the energies of their ancestors souls flying across the northern heavens. The scientific explanation is of solar charged particles ejected from the sun as a solar wind during solar flares. on reaching earth these particles are deflected around our magnetic field. here at the polar regions the particles collide with upper atmosphere atoms and molecules which absorb some of the energy from the solar particles. These excited atoms then emit photons of light....the aurora borealis!

For my family, this was the highlight of a busy fun year for the family.
Wherever you are, whatever your faith, I hope you have been able to find the love, friendship and joy we have had this year and on this new year's eve, I wish you all a happy new year for 2015.
My sincerest best wishes to you all



Bursledon Blogger said...

Fantastic Steve, Mrs BB is already talking about going next Christmas - are you sure you're not secretly working for the Finnish tourist board.

have a great new year


steve said...

Hey max
Happy new year my friend