Week 26 24 – 30 June 2019 Eigg – Puilladobhrain 114 nm and three days anchored.
24 June Monday Eigg
Quiet night and undisturbed sleep.
Still warm, but we started the Webasto to get hot water for a shower before breakfast. Rain clouds covering the sky but no rain before noon. After lunch we consulted the rain radar app and saw only rain offshore and over the mainland. Launched the dinghy and drove to the pier and the grocery store. Found almost everything we needed. Stored our back packs and took a walk around the neighbourhood. After a four km long walk we drove back to Moon.
Nice to come into a warm and cosy boat.
Still grey skies and no wind so we decided to stay another night.
25 June Tuesday Eigg – Coll – Ulva 38 nm
The forecast was spot on, northerly wind the whole night and a clear sky when we woke up.
Having only 20 nm to Coll we had a slow start with breakfast in a sunny cockpit. Before noon we sat sail and had a nice downwind run all the way to Coll.
The harbour was full of moorings for visiting boats, all marked with ten ton. Moon being a lot heavier, combined with more than twenty knots of wind through the anchorage was not a good combination. But we took a mooring for a short time, while we examined possibilities to anchor, using the radar to determine the space between the boats. We did not find space and the solution was to keep on sailing 16 nm to Ulva Island, taking advantage of the fresh breeze.
Half way we past the Treshnish Islands where we intend to anchor and visit in more settled conditions. Now it looked pretty dangerous to get close.
A great number of dolphins paid us a visit during our approach to Ulva where we found a good anchorage at the middle of the south coast. Our detailed charts are very good and let us anchor outside the pilot book’s recommendations. We had one boat more than two hundred meters away, but there were three boats crowded in the smaller, but deeper, recommended bay.
Ulva is three hundred meter high and gave us some downdrafts, but not uncomfortable at all.
26 June Wednesday Ulva and a 5 km walk
Woke up to a clear sky and only a mild breeze, still from north. Today we had decided for a long walk ashore after breakfast. Elevenish, when the nearby boats had weigh anchor and left, we took the dinghy ashore. Pulled the dinghy up on a white sandy beach and started our walk/climbing.
The trails are made by Red Deer and sheep and sometimes difficult to follow in the high ferns.
We followed one straight up a small ravine and came after half an hour up to the top. Quite an effort as the sloop was very steep, 18 degrees and in this warmth on the leeward side of Ulva it was exhausting.
We saw two groups of Red Deer high up while having a sandwich resting at the top. Although sunny, we had to sit out of the northerly cold wind because we had only shorts and a T-shirt on.
On the top we got good internet access and new weather information. For tomorrow the forecast is good for Treshnish, but the following days looks not so good.
On the way down the trail past a vertical cliff with a free fall down to a steep sloop of ten meters. The Red Deer are brave!
Found the dinghy where we left it and to launch it we had to take of our shoes and wade out in the shallow water. Very convenient with short trousers.
The island had many ticks, probably because of the deer.
Annika found a dozen on her legs but Björn only a few. Very small ones, when you think that all are found, you find the next smaller size.
27 June Thursday Ulva – Treshnish Islands – Staffa – Ross of Mull – Loch Buie, Mull 45 nm
Sunshine and no wind when we woke up. Well planned for an excursion to Treshnish and Staffa islands. The plan was to start very early to reach Treshnish Islands before the sun driven wind starts. Weigh anchor before breakfast and motored west. A light northerly wind started half way but nothing that bothered us. Stayed for a while close to the west coast and admired a steep cliff with numerous of different seabirds.
Decided not to go ashore, instead spend more time, hopefully ashore, on Staffa.
Half way to Staffa the little wind died and we furled the headsails. Lots of tourist boats around the little jetty and outside Fingals Cave, but there are always some angels for a photographer.
Thanks to the no wind and no swell condition we managed to find a sandy spot in the kelp and anchor on the west side of the island. Probably very seldom possible.
Launched the dinghy and drove to the cave. Not to destroy the event for the tourists, gathering at the entrance, we shut down the outboard in the cave. We became the photo object of the day!
Back to Moon we found a gap in the rock where we could more the dinghy to a small beach and walk up the only sloop on the west side of Staffa.
Spent an hour on the north side of the island trying to find Puffins on the edge of the steep cliff.
The method is to sit tight and wait. Sooner or later they will come and feed their chicks.
Finally we got some good photos and could return to the dinghy and later Moon. Hoisted the dinghy and weigh anchor. Lunch on our way south to the nest island – Iona.
Still almost no wind and the little wind came from behind, creating a no wind condition on deck. T-shirt and shorts is a very unusual dress when sailing in Scotland to say the least!
High tide and some following tide through the sound between Mull and Iona, a sound that is very shallow and difficult to navigate at low tide. The colour of the water was like in a tropical anchorage, only the temperature was different. But with the warm air it was even easier to forget that we actually were in Scotland. Coming around the south west corner of Mull we had to put on some more clothes as we turned into the wind.
Anchored in a very nice bay with white sandy beaches and greenish water four meter above the sand.
We sat down in the cockpit and summarized a fantastic day. Felt like we had been given a once in a life time opportunity anchoring on the west side of Staffa.
Looking at the weather for tomorrow we decided to weigh anchor and continue along south coast of Mull, taking advantage of the northerly wind. Tomorrow there will be south easterly, headwind for Oban.
We anchored shortly after seven in a big bay open to south west. Under “normal” condition when the swell runs straight in from the ocean, this bay should be avoided.
But now it was more or less perfect, especially as the predicted wind would come from the bottom of the bay. We found a good sized place with flat bottom and only six meter water over thick mud. Managed to dig down the anchor in the direction of the coming stronger wind.
An hour after we anchored, the new wind started to blow from shore a wind that built stronger during the night. If there were any sign of swell, the easterly wind will clear any traces of that, keeping the surface in the bay completely flat hundred meters off the beach.
28 June Friday Loch Buie – Oban – Heather Island. 22 + 1 nm
Woke up around eight after a very good night’s sleep.
Had a shower and then a long breakfast. We intended to wait until the wind became south east to have a better angle into Oban, but elevenish we weigh anchor and sailed south across the big water south of Mull. After two miles the wind started to turn to more southerly and we tacked east. The wind continued to turn south and soon we could steer close haul towards Oban.
Two hours later we furled the headsails in the canal south of Oban and shortly after the main came down.
Oban Transit Marina is an expensive one, but a short stop of four hours was acceptable. Found a good spot and soon we were off to Tesco and three other shops, filling most empty lockers and the fridge in Moon.
Filling water was as “fast” as using the Watermaker aboard, making us overstay but to their expense.
Cast our lines and shortly after we anchored behind Heather Island, south of Kerrera marina.
Annika had prepared a Lamb rack in the oven during our transport and soon the dinner was served in the cockpit under the setting sun. Much nicer compared to the hot condition in the marina, not to mention the laud music on the waterfront. We could still hear little of that out here in our anchorage.
Very pleased with our achievements during the day, and that we had saved £3 a meter boat not having stayed in the marina over night. This day was the warmest day in Scotland this year – 30C.
29 June Saturday Heather Island, Oban – Puilladobhrain 6 nm
No wind and no rain during the night. Slept like babies through the quiet and wind cooled night. The plan for the day was to only go to a well protected cove and anchor during the coming hard south-westerly blow. The anchorage had easy access to the “Bridge over The Atlantic”, a famous more than two hundred years old stone arch bridge spanning from Seil Island to mainland Scotland.
We waited out the morning rain and then weigh anchor. We had to use navigation light due to next to rain condition most of the six miles south to the anchorage. Found our way into the cove and anchored almost at the bottom, only one boat to windward.
During lunch we got heavy rain and thunder, but the sky cleared and we took the dinghy ashore and walked across the ridge to the bridge and the Pub.
Having got all the photos we wanted we had a pint in the Pub together with nice local people.
Back in Moon we hadn’t got a drop from above and we lifted the dinghy and secured it on deck before the wind was to increase tonight.
30 June Sunday Puilladobhrain – (pronounced Pulldohran)
Grey and windy start of the day. The stronger south westerly started during early morning hours combined with some drizzle.
Our next stop is right in the wind so our plan to stay another night is very solid.
The summer temperature has disappeared and the furnace is doing a good job keeping us comfortable warm and dry. The furnace even has a cocking top and save lots of electricity, important when we are several days at anchor and not using the engine.
The day became quite rainy and windy, almost gale force. We stayed indoors the whole day, occupied with reading and writing. Time flies when you are having fun!
Annika & Björn