Lazy Weekend

Linda and I went up to the marina on Thursday night and spent Friday working then dinner on Friday night in LOTI. We headed out to Airds Bay (Acharanich Bay) to bob for the weekend in zero wind,
10 miles, 2 hours, all diesel.

Oronsay with Steve

Last weekend I had managed to damage the stern shower. For some reason it had stopped working at all by the end of the weekend. I took the opportunity when I had finished work on Friday to spend a little time looking into it. The hatch to access the stern shower is at the rear of the port aft cabin and it requires some obstacle avoidance to squirm through into the stern. As soon as I managed that I could see the problem. It is a flexible plastic hose on the stern shower and it was kinked stopping flow. With Linda on the outside twisting it and me on the inside unkinking it, it was working again in no time. This was important because we were planning on swimming this weekend in Oronsay with Steve!

Cairns Birrell popped by and it was great to see him. We sat around in the heat of the sun drinking coffee, nattering, and generally putting the world to rights! We made commitments to get together over the off-season socially and I am already looking forward to it.

Friday Evening

Misha was all sorted out Friday evening. Linda and I had pasta and insalata caprese on the deck in the evening sunshine and we went up to the bar for a quick nightcap. It was great to see Hannah and Shona working away and to bump separately into Noah and Duncan. We sat out in the beer garden at Lord of the Isles and sipped G&T in the evening warmth.

Steven was driving up from Manchester and we thought we were getting to meet Jacqui too but due to childcare issues Steve arrived by himself at around 10:30. By which time, were were all exhausted but we had an extra nightcap and retired for the night as the sunset bathed Craobh Marina in beautiful light.

Saturday Morning

Early on there was a mist in the marina but its quickly lifted and was gone when I started making tea and coffee around 07:00. The morning was simply stunning. There wasn’t a breath of breeze and the water was so still you could see the clouds perfectly reflected in the marina. There was a shoal of mackerel swimming around between the boats and there was no more perfect definition of a still summer’s morning.

We left circa 08:35 heading for Port an Tiobairt under diesel. With only the three of us on board this weekend (half of the crew last week) Misha seemed roomy again. While it is a lovely experience to have six folks on board for a special weekend, it is ‘tight’ and she is much more comfortable at 4, or 3, or 2!

We motored out of the marina and south-west towards the tip of Jura. It was spring tides. With yesterday’s super-moon these are amongst the biggest of the year with a swing of 4m and the inside of the Corryvreckan was fair shifting as we approached. Although we were heading for the northern tip of Jura, when we got close we were being pushed heavily south east by the inflow through the maelstrom and it was spectacular to see the river of current flowing around us.

We anchored up in Port an Tiobairt and there were only a handful of seals basking on the rocks while we had breakfast of toast, boiled eggs and Italian meats. There were plenty of boats speeding around but very little life other than that handful of seals but as we motored out and headed for the Corryvreckan when the tide had slackened at 11:45 we watched a pair of sea eagles flying from Jura across to Scarba through the deep blue sky.

Port an Tiobairt to Oronsay

Through the Corryvreckan we had hit it perfectly on the very end of the incoming current and we lost one knot as we passed outbound. The channel between Jura and the island Eileen Mor was still fair pumping though and we decided to head around the north of it before setting course for Oronsay.

The good news was that a little bit of breeze had set from the west so were able to rig full sail and give the motor a bit of a rest cruising slowly towards our destination.

Although there was alight breeze it was still very warm and we spent most of the journey topping up liquids and topping up sun creme. Although I hadn’t yet got the dampness smell out of my floppy hat I stuck it on as I didn’t want to burn in the intense sun.

There were many boats moored up in Scalasaig area and, closing on Oronsay, we could see a few masts. There were two anchored up in the Strand and coming through the reefs there were four boats anchored in the Bay. A couple of them were lifting anchor and departing as we arrived.

We set the anchor in 4m with an expected rise of 3m and laid 30m of chain. We made sure it was well in with a good reverse and making sure it was deeply set. With the anchor firm it was time to get into our swimming togs and cool off in the crystal clear water of the bay. One of my favourite features of Misha is the sugar scoop stern which provides a great platform for dangling feet in the water and climbing in and out from a swim.

Swimming and BBQ

Linda is very concerned about cold water shock so insists that I go in slowly and carefully to avoid stress on my overweight heart! But I do as I am told, and slowly lower myself into the water. Blooming heck it was cold! It was colder than loch Spelve last weekend! That said, it might just be the hot air temperature and the contract to the chilly water temperature. My watch was telling me the water temp was 9 Celsius and the air temperature was around 24C.

Linda and I went in first and Steve enjoyed laughing at us panting as the water went over our gonads. I saw down and checked on the anchor but it was truly well set with all three spines deep into the sandy base. Linda did a few laps of Misha, I just swam about and back and forth to the tripping ball.

More yachts came in and anchored up behind us and in the north anchorage while. we were swimming. Further, the two motor boats who had been right in on the beach in front of us departed. The first one went way too fast through the anchored yachts setting a wash against them and I was scared they hadn’t seen us in the water given how close they passed and the speed they went past us! The second one passed much slower and I was grateful.

Steven came in for a dip and Linda climbed out. We swam around the boat again and out to the tripping ball and back then climbed on board. I was able to shower off using the recently repaired stern shower and Linda had a proper warm shower in the Head.

It was a great feeling to be all clean, with core temperature stabilised and a little breeze keeping us refreshed for the remainder of the afternoon. We sat around, enjoying the views, listening to music and sipping on bubbles.

We had our first BBQ on Misha this year cooking Burgers with cheese, pasta caprese, salads and accompaniments. I have to say, I do love a BBQ on the boat and it is certainly one of my ‘happy places’. I really enjoyed dinner and probably ate too much as I didn’t fancy any desert which is most unlike me.

Steve and I went onto Rum and Coke; Cuba Libra, and we stayed on that for the rest of the night. I will be the first to say I drank too much as we sat up late watching the sky for the full-moon and the Perseids meteor shower. We also got to see satellites and someone fall overboard of a yacht in the northern anchorage (all ok, they were laughing).

I have no memory of going to bed, nor most of the natter as the night descended into a rum-soaked, slurred, two man party, Linda having sensibly gone to bed long before Steve and me. We did get some good photographs and we had a good time. My liver, however wishes to lodge a formal complaint!

Sunday back to Craobh

We were up at 07:00 on Sunday morning with tea and coffee made to lift the hook and head back towards Craobh. We wanted to catch the tide through the Corryvreckan and we wanted to get Steve back to Craobh in good time to allow him to travel home safely.

The hook came up easy out of the thick sand and hadn’t moved an inch all night. Linda motored us out of the bay and Steve took over as we travelled between Our and Colonsay north easterly. What little wind there was to be had was bang-on the nose so it was motor all the way back to the Corry.

I cooked us bacon butties for breakfast but we were all a little quieter than usual. Have I mentioned my hangover? I really am not used to drinking too much these days and really need to start acting my age and not my shoe size!

We spotted some debris in the water about 2m off Scalasaig and called it in. It was at East three wooden pallets tied together and floating just at the surface. We called it in to Coastguard as it was enough to damage someone’s hull or prop if they hit it.

On the way across to Oronsay and on the way back we saw spectacular feeding congregations of seabirds so there was plenty of life below the surface but we were complaining that we hadn’t see the usual dolphins or minkes. We had only just said this when I called for the throttle to be stopped. I spotted a minke about a mile behind us and we sat and watched as the critter made two more breaches travelling towards a feeding congregation in the distance.

As we were approaching the Corry I spotted a pud of dolphins and they came over to see us and spend a few minutes playing in our bow wave. It was commented on that I sang to them. I was always told to sing or white to dolphins as it keeps them entertained and they stay longer. I don’t know if its true or not, juts what I have been told in the past. They did stay and play for a good while although they didn’t seem all that impressed with my off-key singing!

Storm over Jura

Approaching the Corry there was a large thunderstorm over Jura and it was flashing lightening and giving the Island a good rainstorm to boot! It hit us while we came inbound through the maelstrom with the foresail catching the breeze and going 14 knots under sail and current.

We were able to sail all the way back to the bottom of Shuna when the storm passed to the north west and we had to motor again. I quickly prepped the boat for berthing and did a bit of the cleaning in advance of getting in to the Marina.

As we approached the mouth of the Marina, Linda spotted a log in the water right at the entrance. It was about 5 feet long and 4 inches wide. It was a serious bit of wood and enough to do damage to someone’s hull, prop, or rudder so we decided to grab it on our way in. I went onto the sugar scoop, brought it near with the boot hook and then tried to grab it. I don’t know how I did it, but as I brought into onto the boat I pulled a muscle in my chest leaving me quite sore. Once tied up we took it up to the office who identified it as one of the supports they use in the yard for shoring boats on the hard-standing. Someone musty have been playing ‘toss the caber’ into the marina!

Tied up ashore the next rain shower came in and it was torrential soaking us and everyone else. I decided that Misha was getting a natural wash down and didn’t need me to hose her down and concentrated on cleaning inside. I was turning off the engine’s seacock when that chest muscle complained again leaving me flat on the floor and in quite a bit of pain. I also managed to break the door restraint on the port aft cabin door! Guess that is a job for Friday!


My chest muscle has quit complaining now. My hangover lasted all Sunday; I gotta learn!

78 miles over 11 hours.

From Craobh to Port an Tiobairt

From Port an Tiobairt to Oronsay

From Oronsay to Craobh

Weekend Timelapse

CCC Loch Spelve Mussels

Linda and I had travelled up Thursday night after work and enjoyed our usual arrival dinner in Lord of the Isles. As usual, I had the Crayfish Mac&Cheese and, as usual; I really enjoyed it. The plan for the weekend was to visit Inverlussa Seafood, on Loch Spelve for the annual Clyde Cruising Club Loch Spelve Mussel Muster

We had never really recovered from the homeward bound journey last week. It was an extra two hours as a result of a serious accident around Tayvalich. Linda had helped with the extra driving but all the same it had taken the last bit of energy out of the two of us and the whole week had been spent trying to ‘catch up’ with ourselves.

It was good to be back on Misha, it was good that she was all clean and tidy and we could literally just jump aboard, make our bed, and that was everything sorted. The two of us slept like logs when back on board and being up in Craobh Marina, plus a good night’s sleep really recovered us from what had been a tough week.

Our Guests

This weekend we were joined by James and Denise who have been before and Jonathan and Shona who were new to Misha. Jonathan had been sailing once or twice before but Shona had never been on a small sailboat and was only convinced to come by the photos of previous trips.

Everyone arrived late Friday night. We met Jonathan and Shona in Lord of the Isles and then retired back to Misha to prepare a supper of baked camembert and fresh crusty bread. It was ready for James and Denise’ arrival and we sat around scoffing and discussing the plan for the weekend at length before I had to admit I was ready for my bed.

We were up bright and early at 07:00. It had rained heavily overnight but had dried up by early morning. There wasn’t an awful lot of preparation to do, but the water needed topped up and James did a great job at that while I prepared some light breakfast for us. We had muesli and yogurt, toast and cheese and cold meats, coffee, tea and orange juice.


It was bang on 0800 when ropes came off and we motored out of the marina. Sails went up quickly with a double reef in the main and we had a gentle sail across Loch Shuna towards Seil. As we turned up towards Sail, we had harbour porpoise and we had slack water through most of Cuan Sound with only a bit of ‘bumpy water’ at the exit towards Easdale.

The weather was heavily overcast but we had glimpses of sunshine and it was bright enough to keep spirits high. Lets put it this way, I stayed in shorts all day and throughout the evening. The sail was enjoyable and we rotated everyone on and off the wheel, and when I could we had our visitors doing little bits with the rigging.

Approaching Loch Spelve it was as busy as I have seen the area. We had a ferry coming out of the Sound of Kerrera, the London Barge; Prudential sailing from the Sound of Mull towards Puldhorain, several pleasure boats and one of the big fish farm vessels; ‘Settler’ coming into the Loch Spelve behind us.

I didn’t want to be slowing up a working boat, so I radioed them and said I would keep out their way and allow them to overtake before the entrance which they did.

Four ‘boys’ in the water.

Loch Spelve

There were already more boats than had booked for the event anchored up in the NW corner of the Loch when we arrived and I carefully surveyed the area and thought there was just enough room for us to safely anchor between two of the vessels and the shore on the south west of the bay. We dropped the hook, tested it and settled in for our afternoon fun.

James, Jonathan and I put on our swimming shorts (well, I did have visitors) and climbed in. We swam around Misha and out to our tripping buoy and back. After the first minute, the water was very comfortable and it was an enjoyable swim in no noticeable current. Linda got a good photo of the three of us relaxing in the water out at our tripping buoy.

Jonathan had brought Misha a bottle of welsh whiskey and when we climbed back on board we had a nip each to warm the cockles and then we had some of Shona’s cake to keep the wolf from the door. The whiskey was very good. There was a distinct apple background and some zesty fruitiness along with noticeable alcohol strength. It is a very accessible whiskey and I was delighted to try it.

We were spoiled rotten with our guests’ gifts as James and Denise had topped up the rum and red wine supply and brought a tray of muffins, donuts, and biscuits too. It was amazing we achieved anything with all the alcohol on board. I have to admit I had to resist the temptation as I was the ferry driver for the excursion ashore. I need to update my ‘joining instructions’ to tell people to stop bringing so many gifts!

The afternoon was very pleasant; we ate, drank and enjoyed ourselves while watching the other members arrive by yacht. It was clear that there were very many more participants than there were registrants as only seven boats were registered for the event (including Clive who had pulled out as he was getting his new hip; get well soon Clive). I was astonished to see some of the anchoring techniques deployed and two boats anchored between Misha and other boats when I believed us only to be at a safe distance when we anchored there. One chap anchored practically on our tripping buoy and appeared only to put out a very short rode. I was very grateful that the conditions overnight were genteel.

Mid afternoon Geoff arrived in ‘Contender’ and there were a few other boats we recognised from Craobh Marina or our travels and at 17:00 I started ferrying out team across to the event. Because our dingy is only small it takes a maximum of three people. James commented it was like the puzzle of ferrying the carrots, the bunny and the fox across the river. But we got everyone there without any incident. Jonathan and Shona went first, then James and Denise and finally Linda and our Picnic box.

Clyde Cruising Club Mussel Muster on Loch Spelve

The event description had suggested BYOB so we brought some red wine, some Diet Coke and our own reusable glasses to avoid single use items. When we arrived there was a table full of wine, huge pans full of mussels and BBQs stocked with burgers. James was very grateful of the burgers cooked by Geoff as he is allergic to seafood but the rest of us dug in and enjoyed mussels.

I have to say they were the best mussels I have ever had and Inverlussa Seafood did us proud. They explained that they have an honesty box where yachts can come ashore and buy mussels even when they aren’t around and we will certainly pop back for some in the future. By far the freshest ever, and certainly the tastiest too.

We met some interesting people and enjoyed the event. It was great to meet the owners of Inverlussa Seafood, and hear how they use single lines that can be up to 12km long to grow the mussels for up to three years before harvesting and how the conditions in the Loch are carefully managed to remain ideal for the cultivation of the harvest.

We headed back to Misha and I did the ferry runs in reverse order. Into the wind and fully laden I managed to get quite wet on my shorts but otherwise the journey was uneventful. I should have taken Linda back first rather than last, but that’s a lesson for future similar exercises. We left the dingy in overnight but popped the outboard safe away.

Downstairs we enjoyed cake and wine. My ferryman duties over, I shared a glass of Prosecco and then a cracking Cuba Libra before retiring to bed at the back of eleven. We never did get out the games we bought for Misha but we had a great evening anyway.

Sunday Morning

On Saturday Afternoon we had debated the plan for the departure. The options were:

Tacking back to CH
Tacking back to CH
  1. Long lie, more swimming, late brunch, 1400 departure from the Loch and directly back to Craobh for at 17:00 departure from there to home, or
  2. Early breakfast, out the Loch before 8am, and a more meandering sail back to Craobh.

We democratically chose the early departure and coffee was served at 0700 and we were out the Loch by 0800 as planned. Linda was the first girl up, followed by Shona and then Denise. It was a damp morning with showers sweeping over us and low, deep cloud with only occasional glimpses of blue.

James and Jonathan helped us getting the anchor up and everything sorted to motor out of the Loch. The rust on my anchor chain is now causing it to jam, so I must get round to that new chain I have been promising myself.

Once out of the Loch we raised sails with a single reef and made good pace. I made bacon butties but it was a bit bouncy and I am not certain the crew enjoyed them. Between the five of them they drank enough tea and coffee and we finished most of the cake, leaving only enough for Linda’s post-yoga snack on Monday evening. The wind was more southerly than forecast and we had to work to make it south. We debated going round the Garvellachs but folks were cold and damp and it was decided to head in through Cuan at 11:00 then circumnavigate Shuna instead.

Our trip in through Cuan was bang on slack water and pleasant and pretty. Once ‘inside’ the barrier of Seil, Torsa, Luing, Scarba, (and Jura) the water was calm, the breezes were light and everyone who wanted to had more time steering and playing with sails.

My laziness of not trimming the spare reefing lines caught up with me on the gybe at the south of Shuna when they caught on the binnacle but James who was on the wheel handled it perfectly and no damage was done. I have to stop being lazy about such things!

Once we made our turn successfully, I prepared the yacht for berthing while James helmed and it was a good docking into Craobh.

James filled the tanks once more and he and I cleaned outside while Linda, Shona and Denise sorted inside and Jonathan ferried kit up and down to the cars. Linda cleaned the front head while I cleaned the Saloon head and the Galley and we all packed up and headed home. I even found my wallet which had fallen down by the Navigation Station.

A successful weekend of 59 miles over 9 hours sailing. The fullest Misha has ever been for a sail and overnight and everyone appeared to enjoy themselves. Misha is all clean and ready for her next adventure.


A trip to Oban (to avoid West Highland Yachting Week).

Linda and I arrived at Misha on Thursday evening quite early-ish. The cake and things we had left on board a couple of weeks ago looked remarkably intact but went straight in the bin and we set up our bed then went over to Lord of the Isles for dinner. Funnily enough, I ordered the Crayfish Mac’n’Cheese which has become my firm favourite. We bumped into Barry and enjoyed the pleasure of his company before we ate. The main plan for this weekend’s sailing was to avoid West Highland Yachting Week wherever possible.

Although I am not drinking much at the moment I enjoyed a glass of Gavi with my meal and washed it down with some Diet Coke. The evening had a spectacular sunset not long after an outrageous but short-lived downpour. Good Scottish Weather, ‘if you don’t like it, wait 15 mins and it will change.

We went back to the boat feeling tired and satiated and slept very well. Overnight there were a couple of rain storms that passed over and we enjoyed that lovely feeling of being warm and dry, while outside it is horrible.

Friday was a working day for both of us, so after some tea and coffee we both went on separate Teams calls for most of the morning. At Lunchtime I popped through to Lucy’s in Ardfern. There I picked up some of their awesome sausage rolls. We prefer the scones at Ardfern Village Store. So I visited there too and picked up some scones and some fresh raspberries.

For lunch Linda and I split a sausage roll and crisps. Not the healthiest of options but it was yummy and kept us going. I then had another call from 13:00 that was scheduled for a couple of hours. It finished early allowing me to make up the guest cabins before our pals arrived later in the evening.

I ended up having to take another call about some WiFi challenges being faced by one of my favourite clients. Amusingly, they are actually my client’s, client’s client. But all the same a 45 minute call and some notes seemed to keep the wolf from their door and get them smiling again.

Somewhere around 7pm Gavin, Lucy and Angus popped by, bringing with them a lovely bottle of white wine. I had a lesser quality bottle pre-chilled and had I realised how good the one they had brought us was, I would have been embarrassed to serve them what I did. Gavin and his family are heading out on Merganser to keep one stop ahead of WHYW (West Highland Yachting Week). Our sail was also planned, as much as possible, to avoid the fleet. We all had a lovely natter and they headed off to watch the last edition of Neighbours.

At just the same time as Gavin’s family departed Misha, our guests for the weekend arrived. Andrea was in the Port Aft Cabin and James and Kasia were in the Starboard Aft Cabin. We got everyone settled and I served a supper of cold meats, cheeses and biscuits while briefing everyone on the boat and the plan for the weekend.

Now, I have been body swerving booze much of the time, and did so on Friday night. I drink non alcoholic Gin and Tonics or Non Alcoholic Rum and Coke. However, Linda and our guests enjoyed a glass or two of wine with the snacks and before long it was 1am and I was falling asleep at the table. It was an enjoyable catch up with our friends but by the end of the night I could barely find my way to the cabin I was so tired.

I awoke around 6am (half an hour later than I usually awake) quite refreshed. The rain was hammering down outside and XC Weather was telling me it wasn’t going to clear till nearly lunchtime. I had given everyone a breakfast time of 9am with a ‘ropes off’ of 10am. So, I lay in bed listening to a novel on my earphones until around 8am when I got up and started prepping breakfast. We had toast and bacon inside and filled up the water before we headed off, in full wet weather gear, at 10am.

We departed the marina and headed south passing to the east of Shuna and Luing down towards Port an Tiobairt. As we were approaching, Barry was bringing Jenny Wren into the Bay with a tour group to see the seal colony.

I anchored (badly) in the middle of the bay, and when the current died down and the wind picked up, I was only a couple of feet away from the west reef that sticks some way out into the wider Bay. I had to lift and reset further to the East and felt a right numpty in front of my guests but also in front of Barry and his group making a rookie mistake.

We stayed for about 45 minutes watching the seals, had tea and biscuits and enjoyed a rest before we lifted anchor (again) and headed north for the Gulf of the Corryvreckan. Barry and Jenny Wren had already departed when we hauled the hook and we hugged the Jura coast into the Corry before setting a bit more northbound. The weather was certainly improving, drying up and brightening up too.

We had to motor through the passage but we were able to sail again as soon as we turned more northerly and were making a very comfortable 5kn over most of the journey. Misha passed to the East of the Garvellachs then passed west of Insch Island and Kerrerra. There were loads of boats out on the water from sailing dingy, through pleasure sloops and other configurations all the way up to big fish farm vessels and the ferries. It was a busy day in the Sound of Lorne.

Our plan had us anchoring in Camas Nathais which is north of Oban, west of the airport, and south Eriska. Its a pleasant horseshoe bay protected from all but southerlies. The forecast was to be westerly backing northerly but there was still a tad of southerly swell entering the Bay and I did wonder how comfortable it was going to be. But anchored up we could see the swell reducing and by the time dinner was served on deck it was barely noticeable.

We sat in late afternoon sunlight on deck and enjoyed Lucys sausage rolls, boiled potatoes and ‘insalata caprese’. This time served with some lovely Moet James and Kasia had brought along everyone was more abstemious this evening. We had seals all around us, swimming and fishing, and popping by to check what we were up to. There were no sea eagles as there had been my previous time in the Bay but it was a very pleasant evening anchor and we listened to music for a good while outside before retiring inside and playing cards for a while. We ate some lovely snacks that Andrea had brought along but we never dipped into the pink gin; that will have to remain for her next visit.

Everyone seemed tired after a day sailing and in the sunshine. Although no one appeared as tired as me! And I called ‘Bed’ first around 10pm. I slept really well overnight. Awaking only once at 3am when a large ship sent a goodly wash into the bay.

The morning was blue and bright and already pleasantly warm for breakfast at 07:15 on deck. I cooked some bacon for sandwiches, but also there was muesli, yoghurt and berries and lashings of OJ, tea and coffee. We had a strict 0800 anchor up to ensure passage through Cuan so it was a quick breakfast, then up with he hook and southbound we went.

James was on the helm most of the day and we entered Oban Bay planning on skirting the island and popping across to the Kerrera side and tracking in. As there was a yacht coming towards us we crossed behind diagonally in the absence of any other traffic. The light winds and requirement to have engine running meant we motor sailed to Heather Island then bay on the flappy white things all the way down past East End and out towards Pullobraihn.

We travelled across from Kerrera to Insch Island in bright sunshine making 5kn under sail all the way but turning east, south of Easdale, the wind died away to nothing and we had to rely on the Iron Sails to get us into Sound of Cuan. It spat us through rather efficiently and we popped out the other end just in time to unfurl the Genoa and sail into Loch Shuna under foresail alone.

The loch was full of jostling racing yachts and we did our best to keep out of their way. Andrea was on the helm. We travelled east along the top of the loch as though we were going to Melford then only turning south for Craobh outside their course, and when there was a gap in the flow of racers.

It was beautifully warm with blue skies and it was a pleasant motor into the marina to tie up. Once berthed Linda provided a lunch and I started the cleaning. We had a cracking weekend!

67 Miles over two days. Getting home was rather less fun. Linda and I got stuck behind an accident at Taynuilt that ended up with a road closure and us having to backtrack to Connell, head to Ballahullish and then drive through Glen Coe on the way home. It was a beautiful road trip but the extra 90 mins meant we were both exhausted.

Saillogger Entries:

James and Denise Weekend

Linda and I arrived up to Misha on Thursday evening and worked from the boat throughout Friday. Marie-Ann and Richard from Gabriella asked us to join them for drinks on Friday evening following which they joined us for dinner in Lord of the Isles. James and Denise made good time coming up the road and joined us in time to order before last orders for food.

I had previously installed a ‘black box boat monitor’ into Gabriella for Richard meaning he can monitor the boat’s health when he is away from her.

Black Box Boat Monitor

Dinner was great fun and the lady who had spent the day looking for her missing cat popped in to let everyone know the cat was back safe. The whole thing was just very relaxed and pleasant. The food was good, the company was great and we really enjoyed our evening. We adjourned to Misha and enjoyed one more night-cap before we all retired for the evening.

While James has been on Misha before, Denise has not and she was initially quite nervous of the boat and sailing in general. The forecast was for ultra light winds to it was the ideal weekend for her to pop her sailing cherry!

We had a breakfast of muesli and yoghurt, toast and jam before we prepped Misha and headed out. The weather wasn’t as bright as forecast but there was a slight westerly breeze which allowed us to sail (slowly) from Craobh Haven to Ardlussa Bay past the Corryvreckan.

We anchored for snacks in Port an Talbart on the NE corner of Jura north of Banhill and watched a family of seals. We were intent on them when Linda and I spotted a minke whale just about 20m away from us however she only breached once and we didn’t see her again.

We sailed from Port an Talbart down the coast of Jura to Ardlussa but needed the motor more than once. Pulling into the Bay there were more seals and we sat there at anchor and enjoyed a late lunch

After lunch we decided we should head for our planned overnight anchorage so started north again for Airds Bay. When we arrived there was already a yacht in our usual anchor spot but given how calm it was and was forecast to be, we anchored on the inside of Black Rocks.

The plan was for BBQ but with the overcast sk it wasn’t as warm as we had hoped so ate inside, enjoying hot dogs, corn on the cob, along with salads followed by Gin & Tonic Ice Creme and berries. After dinner we socialised and even played poker for a while enjoying music and a wee drinkie.

The night was calm and we all slept exceptionally well.

The morning had a breakfast of grilled bacon and boiled egg with bread and butter. We were able to sit out on deck enjoying the morning light.

Lowlandman’s Bay to Craobh Marina

My plan had been to wake up at 7am and head north but I was wide awake at 05:00 and having breakfast on deck by 05:30 watching the sunrise. It was a colourful sunrise with shimmering shades of red, orange, yellow progressing to blue.

The Bay was still flat water and you could see the odd bird and occasional seal breaking the morning surface. The sky was alive though. The stars disappeared the colours churned and the lightest of breezes started from the north west.

I passed wide of Minke and the other boat that had come in later in the day and motored out turning round the Dun at the entrance to the Bay. I raised full sail and headed north initially motor sailing and then quenching the engine. I did get a sail but the wind was up and down all morning and swinging by 180 degrees at times. 

When the wind was there, I sailed, when it wasn’t I motored. Probably 50/50 all the way up to the Corry where it does completely and the motor went into its own with the sails stowed, boat cleaned and the preparation for berthing completed way too early as usual.

I parked her perfectly and Richard came to grab lines. Richard and Marie-Ann are planning on leaving soon and were stripping Gabriella for the winter. I missed Peter and Marian who were out winning the Round Shuna Race and headed home after a successful weekend.

Link to Sailloger Log.

Lagavulin Bay to Lowlandman’s Bay

The morning in Lagavulin was stunning. There was the gentle mechanical noises from the distillery but otherwise peace and tranquility. I had breakfast on deck of boiled egg on toast with coffee and grape juice. It set me up for the day.

I was nervous about leaving the Bay in the absence of the Green Perch. So I had Antares on the binnacle and was taking it very slowly rock dodging my way out under the castle. I captured a few photos on the way out. It was a ‘Kodak morning’!

There was a very light breeze from the west caressing the water as I motored out towards Iomallach, so I raised the sails and quenched the engine, letting the breeze drive me and the peace return to a post diesel contrast. Iomallach was her classic self, dressed in cormorants. 

Sailing northbound along the Ardmore Islands was simply bliss. It wasn’t fast, I never topped over 4 knots until I got to the Sound of Islay. But once I was passing the lighthouse I saw the first of two minke of the day. She was heading south-east and appeared to have come down the Sound of Islay. The second one, about an hour later and at the top of the mouth of the Sound was heading south and appeared to have come down the Sound of Jura. The second one I managed to get a (bad) photo from a distance and out of focus but at least I can ‘prove’ the sighting.

Minke whale

All the way across  the Sound of Islay there was a good breeze and, with full sail up, I was getting in excess of 6 knots. It started to die back as I approached Craighouse but the sun came out cleanly there from the speckled sky of the early morning. A small yacht cut across my bows heading for Craighouse and about halfway up the Bay of the Small ISles, the breeze died away to nothing at all and the diesel had to return. 

Stowing the sails I noticed the staypack’s loops which connect to the lazy jacks were very badly worn and about to go. A small running repair kept it going for this weekend but I will need to do a more permanent repair real soon.

Turning into Lowlandman’s Bay I noticed the lighthouse keeper’s house was gone and replaced by a big green shed. The plant machinery was still there along with a substantial heap of debris from the demolition. The Bay itself was as lovely as ever and the clouds had cleared from the Paps giving crystal views of the island.

After a couple of hours Andrew Prince arrived in Minke and we sat in Misha’s cockpit with a drink, chatting and enjoying the afternoon. I cooked frankfurters with pasta and pesto and a garlic bread. We ate on deck and it was a great afternoon. It threatened to drizzle at one point but came to nothing and I was able to sit on deck till mid evening when it was time for bed. 

Link to Saillogger Log.

Ardlussa Bay to Lagavulin Bay

It was a lovely peaceful night in Ardlussa Bay. I awoke twice during the night and each time was gently rocked back to sleep by the tiny swell leaking into he bay.

The morning was heavily overcast and very damp. After a breakfast of coffee and muesli with yoghurt I kitted up in the storm suit and went on deck. The rain was easing but it was very humid and damp. The swans that had been there the previous evening had scarpered and there wasn’t any movement at all.

The anchor lifted easy with only the smallest bit of weed and Misha naturally set herself pointing eastward out the Bay. I raised the sails although there wasn’t a whole lot f breeze and set southbound. Having not used the fridge of the heater, the battery was full in less than 30 minutes and I quenched the engine. It wasn’t a fast sail initially; I was making 4.5 knots at a 45-60 to apparent close hauled.

The breeze increased once I passed Tarbert Bay and I reefed early sticking one, then two reefs in the main and the foresail balanced slightly over the second reefing mark. I was still making 6.5 kn southbound but I was into 20-25 mph wind 30-45 degrees off it. The tide was with me; so wind over tide, but thankfully there wasn’t a lot of tide. It was a sporty sail all the way south.

I passed slightly east of Na Cuiltean rock and lighthouse and got good views but no seals.

Turning by Iomallach and westward towards the Bay was a lot calmer and I stowed the sails easily under power. I was aware in advance that the starboard perch (or pinnacle) had been lost in the winter storms but it was a lot more complicated than I expected. Even with the Antares Charts on board, not having that big green post to navigate by was hellish. I got through but then I drifted off the leading line and was damn close to touching the bottom on the 1.7m reef on the inside of the narrows. The depth alarm was squealing and showing 1.8m when I hauled her left hard and back towards the safe path.

The south mooring was taken by a little motor-sailor (I didn’t see anyone on it the whole time I was there). so I took the north mooring closest to the Pier. I was able to grab is painter which had been lying in the water and use it to hold while I tailed my mooring strop through. The excitement of getting into the Bay had me seating and I took a moment and a glass of Diet Coke to calm down.

I spoke to the Distillery but they had no tours available. There was a tour group on the Pier to whom I waved and I got some good photos of the Distillery.

Dinner was the second helping of Sausage Roll and Mac & Cheese and I was able to sit outside as it had dried up.

Link to Saillogger Log.

Single Handed Weekend

Because of a ‘Covid Cancellation’ (a company cancelled their workshops last minute due to Covid) I have a Thu-Sun weekend all by myself to go sailing.

I arrived at the marina early Thursday afternoon and did a bit of maintenance plus topping up the water. I wanted to do a couple of things to make single-handing smoother so got them finished and headed out about 14:30.

The breeze was from the SW and was generally light as I sailed close hauled down the east of Shuna and towards Jura. My plan had been to go through the Corryvreckan and out to Oronsay. However, as I approached the Corry a significant squeal came in on the front of a CB. Unsure of how long it would last and how hard it would blow (it had got up to 20mph on the nose, I took two reefs on the foresail and one on the main and headed South along the east coast of Jura.

I realised I was hungry and tired, the tide would shortly be against me, and although it was only 16:30 I was looking forward to a rest. Making a positive decision to just take it easy, I sailed into Ardlussa Bay and anchored there in 3.5m with 20m chain to the waterline. It was lovely and calm in the Bay and there were a few seals checking me out as I dropped the hook and settled Misha for the night.

The weather improved, the gusts dropped, and I was able to sit out on deck watching the critters, getting a visit from the local swans and generally spacing out reading a novel.

Dinner was Mac&Cheese with Greggs sausage roll followed by berries. I was more tired than I thought and was tucked up by 21:30. It was a very comfortable night with just the gentle rocking motion bar a couple of big craft passing and I slept well.

Link to Saillogger Log.

Tobermory to Loch Don

After staying in Loch na Droma Buidhe on Wednesday night we awoke very cold and damp (and without a heater) on Thursday morning. Our initial plan was to head into Salen Jetty, get dried out, top up water and restock supplies there. When I phoned in to confirm it was achievable the owners informed me of a Force 7 forecast from the SW which would result in them closing the pontoons. We had a rethink. The options were to anchor up in Loch Sunart somewhere and sit out the forecast blow of head into Tobermory.

Long story, short! We spent a happy, warm, dry two nights on Tobermory pontoons sitting out the storm and restocking. We actually had a good time and it was, as ever, really comfortable in Tobermory with lots to keep us entertained.

Saturday morning after breakfast and showers we headed off with full water tanks into the Sound of Mull. The weather was 15mph SW gusting up to 25mph. We rigged half the forsail and still spent most of the way down to the Sound of Lorne doing 8 knots.

It was amazing how busy the water is with leisure boats and commercials too. We basically never had a minute without something imminently heading in our direction.

We had great views of the relatively newly uncloaked Duart Castle as we whooshed by then it was furling the foresail, prepping the anchor and getting the iPad ready for the entrance into Loch Don.

There is no way I would have attempted it without Antares Charts. The level of detail makes it so much more achievable and even then I was curling my toes as we went in over the sill.

The zig-zag in past the outer pool into the first pool is very tight and a couple of times we were in 1.5m LAT (with 1m tide) in actuality and according to Antares but on the ground according to Navionics.

The good bit about the entranceway is that it is heavily populated by seals waiting for you to make a mess of the entrance so it is very pretty and very photogenic.

Into the middle pool we anchored on the 3.6m depth marker (with a potential 3.7m tide) so put out 35m of chain. The anchor bit right away and was well dug in before we were finished dropping chain.

There are geese, seals and loads of wildlife around.