Loch Sween to West Loch Tarbert, Jura

We slept well throughout the night and I awoke at 7am when my 2nd anchor alarm went off. We hadn’t moved I had just set it with the scope too narrow deliberately as we were close to the shore on the West side at full stretch and I wanted it to alert me if the wind went eastern and risked us getting close to the shoal. We were about 3m off it with the anchor chain taught so I went back to bed for an hour. 

I run a different scenario where, instead of going to Carsaig or Crinan on Friday and the Lagoon on Saturday, we would sail out through the Sound of Islay to West Loch Tarbert Friday and to Craobh Haven (which so failing, the lagoon) on Saturday. When Linda did wake up she was happy with this plan. It gives us ore sailing although we are ‘retracing our steps’ to some extent.

Linda didn’t fancy getting up so I offered to take us out the Bay and let her rest but by the time I had the anchor retrieved she was up and dressed and by the time we left the Bay she was up in the cockpit with me.

The breeze seemed to have calmed again but we rigged up and were making about 5kn southbound past Tayvallich. The first 18mph gust made me think about a reef so I immediately took in one reef on the main as we approached the northern most rock in the loch.

We made a great sail all the way down the loch but just before the McCormaig islands and the reefs at the bottom of the Loch the wind became unreliable, disappearing and gusting at right angles so we stuck the motor on and motored south of the McCormaig Islands.

Once they were behind us we quenched the engine and sailed, mostly a tight reach across the Sound. It was very pleasant. The sky was dark and pretty and the breeze was a solid 12 knots and gusting up to 18 knots. It was a very pleasant crossing and we must have averaged over 6 knots in the crossing.

As we approached the base of the Sound, I made us a brunch of team and coffee and bacon sandwiches. Just as I brought out the sandwiches, a little seabird on our port side caught my attention for a moment. I urged Linda to look and we sat watching as a puffin spotted us watching him, got shy and took off towards Gigha. It was quite excellent munching bacon sandwiches washed down with hot drinks as we cruised past Brosdale Island and Black Rocks up into the Sound.

By the time we were past Black Rock Buoy we were sailing at over 9 knots with the wind behind us and we went from seaboard run, to goose winged, to port run. Passing Port Asking we were doing 11-12 knots and we didn’t drop below 8 knots all the way round into West Loch Tarbert.

The wind increased again as we came out of the Sound and I brought a double reef in on the RR Genny and we were still doing 8 knots, clipping eastwards into West Loch Tarbert. The Loch was pretty choppy with white horses although we were only 100m off the lee shore.

We dropped sail about a quarter mile off and motored into Glenbatrick Bay West anchoring in 3m and putting 15m chain out. It held fast and we settled ourselves inside but not before we watched an otter on Sgier Ageanne running along the ridge and down towards the water. We could hear occasional squeals from the rocks and I imagined the Otters warning us of the horrific gusts that can roll through the hills. 

Of course, no soon we were settled I felt something strange and noted to Linda I thought she was dragging. Minutes later the anchor alarm rang and we popped out to find 30 mph wind and big white horses with Misha pointing east and obviously dragging quickly. 

We recovered the anchor to find the biggest single piece of Kelp I have ever seen; boulder and all. It was so big I couldn’t lift it out the anchor and had to spend ten minutes pulling bits off to get rid of it.

We decided to motor into the inner loch where we knew it would be much calmer and passed at least six seals sitting on rocks looking at us. Every one of them thinking to themselves, ‘could have told them they would have been better in the Inner Loch’.

We turned right into the Inner Loch and anchored in the first southern anchorage (where I spent my Birthday last year); Cairidh Mhor.  Misha was very happy about tis and said it was were she wanted to be all along!

All tidied up, we settled indoors again and I have to admit, Misha is right, it Is far more comfortable here. But of course, no reception so Linda doesn’t get a Masterchef fix tonight!

Tonight’s dinner is left over chicken casserole and brussel sprouts which was all very tasty. We had some crappy television downloaded on the iPad and watched a couple of hours before our eyelids got too heavy and demanded horizontalness.

Both of us slept very well and I awoke about 7am rested and comfortable all except my right shoulder which is whinging again after the incident with the kelp in the anchor. I let Linda sleep (it wasn’t truly my decision). However by 09:30 loneliness got the better of me, I slipped out of bed and made tea before returning with the hot beverage. It still didn’t wake her, so I actually raised the courage to deliberately wake her up. 

Breakfast was toast, muesli and yoghurt. I ran the engine for the toaster and the hoover to tidy up the saloon from the crumbs and drain the bilge etc. Then we sat around rejig until it was time to set off around 13:30.

44 miles in 6 hours; Saillog Entry.

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