Gigha to the Fairy Isles, Loch Sween

The sky was heavy. There was a small blue fishing boat lifting lobster pots about 100m outside the bay and I awoke to his winch rattling around 7am. There wasn’t a whole load of wind in the bay and there was no wash so it had been a very comfortable night and the only movement we noted was the odd boat passing through the sound sending wake into our bay.

Great Northern Diver
Great Northern Diver

We rigged up and headed north. After our encounter with Finlaggan yesterday when I saw Hebredean Isles would be crossing our path I radioed him to confirm we would pass by his stern. That was the only item of note as we sailed all the way up to the McCormaig Isles. 

Castle Sween
Castle Sween

We cut through them and north further into Loch Sween, passing by the castle and getting some good photos as we went. Hebridean Princess was heading out the Loch and we passed about half way up, just about the top reef. 

At that point Linda noticed a yacht turn out of Tayvallach northbound and guessed they were going for the Fairy Isles, our destination. I offered Linda a trip into Tayvallach, specifically as she had scoured the boat for wine and found narry a bottle on board but she assured me she just wanted to get to the anchorage.

As we turned into the Fairy Isles, sure enough the yacht; Wind Lass, was anchored right in the middle of the entrance. But there was also a small fishing boat anchored in the southern bay and a rubber dinghy motoring about with a fisherman in it. 

We headed for the Northern bay and surveyed it a bit. There was a seal sitting on a rock with his head and his flippers up, just as I remember a young one doing the last time we were here about twenty years ago. The Navinics charts show a spit crossing right across east to west of the northern anchorage as a drying spit. However there we no sign of that on the Antares charts or in the water. We dropped in 5m and tested a good hold then made tea. The fisherman wandered about us, the little fishing boat lifted their anchor almost as we finished dropping ours, and I made the decision to move just as the fisherman ran his dinghy up into the northern inlet.

We pulled in the chain and when the anchor was on the bottom with the chain vertical we could feel the bow of the boat dip but the anchor wouldn’t lift at all. It has been years since I had this previously and I was at the point of thinking I might stop using the tripping line. But of course as soon as I tugged the tripping line up, the anchor tripped and started ascending perfectly. Just to show why I always use a tripping line despite the grief of it.

We motored well around the yacht anchored and I noted he was right in the middle of the entrance. We travelled to the South Bay, and did a survey around the 4m contour. Then dropped in 4m right in the middle of the bay. We did a full anchor check, got the ball up, the anchor alarm set and Linda went below to make tea while I sat on deck looking at the shoreline, the geese and the seal.

After ten minutes I was certain that Wind Lass had moved position and I called Linda up to look but she was certain the yacht was where it had been previously. Another ten minutes passed and she as sitting ‘wrongly’. I couldn’t describe it, just ‘wrongly’. Then I noticed that while we  were moving back and forth in the breeze she was only sitting with her port bow into the wind. At that moment, we saw the fisherman in the rubber dingy rive back and jump on board. We radioed him to offer help but he didn’t answer. He very quickly lifted his hook; there wasn’t much chain out at all, and revved her hard. She bounced off the rock she was on and headed our of the Bay. She looked none the worse for her adventure. I hope he and his yacht are ok.

We double checked our anchor, set an extra anchor alarm and settled inside. I made chicken casserole and G&Ts and we had a lovely night. Linda got to watch Masterchef, I read planned tomorrow and then we watch crappy TV till out 9pm Bedtime.

20 miles in 4 hours; Saillog Entry.

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