First weekend on the boat Day 1

With the Bank Holiday, we took the opportunity to spend our first weekend on the boat, despite Jake and Holly being in the middle of their exams. Well, they could revise on water, couldn't they! (Jake is past his first week of GCSE's and Holly is in the middle of her Form 3 exams).

We had been stocking up on plates, cutlery, sleeping bags, food, paint and brushes and wine for weeks so had quite a boot load to take with us. We even had to find room for the dog (Tess) and her basket.

When we arrived, everything seemed in order and we quickly loaded up and got ready to move out (we had decided on an overnight on Devenish Island on the Lower Lough Erne). The exit from the berth was a bit unorthodox – more like a 7 point turn! (That always happens people are watching – Brian Wylie, local marine engineer, just happened to be walking past with a group of people).

The journey north up the River Erne was pretty uneventful. We were just trying to get used to Harmony III's 'feel'. We made it through

Within 10 minutes Adrienne shouted "we're on fire!" and pointed to smoke, that turned out to be steam, billowing from a vent on the side of the boat. Thinking we were going down, she quickly grabbed three, yes three, life-jackets and got them on her and Jake and Holly. I was busy turning the engines off and trying to lift the

When calm returned, I realised that the temperature guage was off the scale on the starboard engine. Over 200 degrees! The port engine seemed fine, so I restarted it and got us in to the jetty on Devenish without any further mishaps.

Now safe on dry land, a quick call to Brian Wylie and a couple of checks for him and he confidently said – "the impeller must have gone". This, is a rubber thing that helps circulate water from the lough through the filters and round the engine to cool them. We told him we were happy to overnight on the island and would limp over to the jetty on the mainland (other island?) for around 10am the following morning.

Panic over, we set about embellishing the tale for future entertainment. The funny thing is most of it was true. Adrienne did holler. She did grab only three life-jackets. And she did convince us that we were on fire. But in future retelling we plan to say that Jake had to grab the back of her belt, Holly had to grab Jake and I had to grab Holly to stop her throwing herself in! If I could draw, I'd do a cartoon of it!

We wandered around the monastic site on Devenish for a while and kept an eye on our German cruising neighbours whilst we lit a barbecue. My attempts to help get it lit ended with the stand falling off the portable barbecue and having to send Holly to find stones to prop it up. [Note to self: there are no stones of any size on Devenish except the ruins and it would be a crime to take them from a 12th Century site of historical importance for a tinfoil portable barbecue…]

We ended the night with a few games of cards and an early night – we need it after the day's traumas!