The day after my arrival the sun shone, people were swimming, canoeing and paddle boarding. The local sailing club and Sea Cadets were all out on the water in dinghies and small ribs. I was even able to get a bit of sunbathing done on deck. Hard to believe I was at 57° 30'N at it felt more like the south coast of England.

I spent several days in Peterhead to rest, reflect and consider my options for the next part of the trip as it was clear to me that going up to Orkney and back down the west coast was not feasible as I was taking much longer to recover from a passage, I was not sleeping well as things were racing through my head, the fog had been hard work, even with AIS, and I was deeply saddened by the outcome of the rescue south of Stonehaven. With the news that the Caledonian Canal was 'closed' for single handed sailors due to COVID leaving me with two options: a) find a crew member and go through the canal or b) turn the boat round and head back to Plymouth.

Reluctantly, I formulated a plan to call for help to get through the Caledonian Canal, then to resume the trip either single handed or with crew and posted a message on social media and waited. If there was no response I'd turn the boat round and head back.

Aphrodite's previous owners now live in Scotland and we discussed laying up the boat near them and resuming the trip in 2022, but I was concerned that COVID might increase again and with Scotland having stricter travel regulations than England I would be unable to visit the boat over the winter. They also had friends who might be able to crew for a while, but the more I thought about it the more I was convinced that heading back to Plymouth was the right call.

The morning following posting my plea for help Morris from SV Bora Bora back in Plymouth called me. He was coming up to help! In the time the call took I went from being extremely downhearted to delighted.

Several phone calls later discussing travel plans Morris then announced that he would be in Peterhead at 2300!

With about 10 minutes to pack he got from Saltash to Bristol Airport, caught a flight to Aberdeen then a bus to Peterhead. The travel gods were clearly on our side.

Morris sent a WhatsApp message from Bristol Airport saying there was some whisky on offer and should he buy some. About ten minutes later, 'oops it is for international travellers only'. The very least I could do was to get a bottle to welcome him.

Peterhead at 2300 in late August the bus station was like a ghost town it just lacked the brushwood rolling down the street, right on time a big yellow bus arrived at the station and Morris and a few people got off the bus. Was I glad to see him!

I had found the one remaining chippy open in town and we sat on a wall and ate a very late supper, headed back to the boat and cracked open a bottle and had a dram. Several quite large ones actually. We both slept soundly that night.

The following morning after a hearty breakfast we sat and went over the options. How much time was Morris able to give, what was the weather doing and what was the best way to utilize both. With northerlies set for the next few days and looking at timings of getting round to the Caledonian Canal and transit times the decision was agreed to to turn the boat round and head back to Plymouth and run the trip as a delivery, where you crack on and put miles under the keel. With the 'council of war' over we headed into town for supplies and lunch. Then back to the boat to do some route planning and to pay the marina fees.

We turned in for a early night as the plan was to do a long passage from Peterhead to Blyth in Northumberland.

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