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.


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