We are now sitting in Port Ellen, Islay waiting for better weather for our sail over to Ireland. Here is our latest report since Fort William.
16th July 2008
From Caleonian Canal we sailed to Oban, Kerrera marina (see picture), where we stayed a few days provisioning and sorting out stowage on the boat. We have now made a list of where things are and that should stop us asking each other where such and such is, turning out a complete locker and finding it somewhere else.
David Wilson's 'Giselle' was tied up at Oban but we did not manage to see David (a Port Edgar sailor). David is also going round the world so no doubt we will see him later on our travels.
Oban has a seaplane service from the Clyde river in the centre of Glasgow. The Oban terminal (see picture) is a pontoon anchored just off the marina where the pilot is check in clerk, baggage handler, security, trolley dolly and he also fly's the plane.
We left Oban as about 70 boats started to arrive for the start of the Classic Malts Rally, had a cracking sail down to Craighouse, SE Jura, with WNW 20 - 30 knot winds, giving us up to 9.2 knots SOG (speed over ground) at times. Arrived at Craighouse and tried to pick up a mooring from downwind, gusting to 30 knots, but the nose blew away with Anne still hanging onto the pick-up buoy with the boat hook. It was a case of lose Anne or lose the boat hook. We lost the boat hook and Anne strained her wrist. Then tried to anchor three times without success but kept catching a mountain of weed. Then we decided that Anne should be at the helm and I would be up front to catch the mooring buoy with the spare boat hook. This time we approached from upwind with engine in reverse and I managed to secure the mooring. In high and gusting winds this is a much better way to approach a mooring since you have more control and the bow does not blow away, but it does mean that the boat turns through 180 degrees once you are secure so you must have the mooring rope very very short so the boat does not go over the mooring buoy. I had a sleepless night listening to each creak and each noise above deck. The morning was glorious, sunny and calm (see picture).
We are in Port Ellen, Islay, where we met Jim Plummer (another Port Edgar sailor) with 'Jenny's Rival' on their west coast cruise. We are now just waiting for the SW wind to change for our next hop to Ballycastle in N. Ireland and enjoying the company of many local characters in the 'Ardview Inn' who have sorted us out with a new boat hook after hearing our tragic tale.There is a very large seal called Toby (see picture) in the harbour which keeps us amused by 'begging', like a dog, at the fishing boats.It also appears when the children pat the water and shout Toby. Caught my first fish yesterday but it was a bit small, (see picture) must do better.