Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Wind, Rain and a Quiet Anchorage

Rainy Day
Having thought we'd be stuck on our Lock Linnhe mooring for a couple of days as yet another low passed to the north trailing its fronts with their associated high winds and rain over the Highlands, we found on Sunday afternoon the sky was brightening and the rain easing. Time to move as another blow was forecast for later. So we made the quick hop south under engine through the narrow channel between Shuna and The Knap, then between Eileann nan Caorach a small island to the west and Port Appin on the mainland to reach the top of the Lynn of Lorn. It was just five miles round into the gorgeous and isolated Loch Creran from where we'd been moored but surely one of the most beautiful five miles of coast with its rocks, islands and mountains that we'd seen so far.

Tiny flagged Red & Green Buoys marked the Shuna Channel
If the Shuna channel had been narrow the entrance to Creran was narrower, a short zig-zag - south round Dearg Sgeir (some seals were resting on this seaweed covered rock) but north of Glas Eilean, turn north east to round the top of the isle of Eriska then south east into South Shian Bay. There were half a dozen boats on moorings deep in the bay but we dropped our hook level with a recycled fish farm now doing duty as a tern nesting site. It was pouring with rain again so we were happy to sit under the sprayhood munching on Kevin's first ever loaf of bread! Close by was a tiny yacht also at anchor, it looked like the skipper had roughly tied up the sails and gone to bed on arrival. It's pram bowed plywood tender was almost as big as the yacht. Much later we saw the elderly owner slowly moving round on deck tidying things up and he motored off further into the loch the following  morning.

We were fascinated by the terns, they seemed to whirl up in a mass for no apparently reason shrieking at each other in a large wheeling flock. During one of these sessions the unmistakable arrow like shape of a falcon dived down through them and missed, we held our breath as again and again the falcon failed to catch a tern for its supper. Then things changed, the terns started breaking out of their formation and successively attacked from above their foe. The falcon, probably a Peregrine beat a hasty retreat and the terns settled back down for the evening on their fish farm.

Proud Baker!
After a quiet night July greeted us with high thin cloud and sunshine. With things that needed ordering from a chandlery or being alongside to fix Oban Marina at the north end of the island of Kerrara opposite the town looked a good place to hide away from Monday night & Tuesday's forecast blow, plus it being Susie's birthday a meal ashore was in order. we set a course as direct as you could from our anchorage to Oban via the North Channel (between the mainland and Kerrara) but once out in the Lynn of Lorn it was a glorious sailing day. Temptress motored west to the shore of Lismore enabling us to get an angle to the southerly wind which would permit sailing. With the engine off we unfurled the genoa (no main for ease of sail handling as it was only a short 5 miles of so) and set off on a beat southwest wards.

The Castle in Loch Laich, below Shuna

Loch Creran

The weather is improving
Looking down into Oban as we passed the North Channel
Once out on the water we were unanimous, we should sail to the bottom end of Kerrara and up the Sound. A quick re-do of the nav and we were set. A long tack out towards the lighthouse at the southern tip of Lismore and then a tack back to the gap between Bach Island and Kerrara - a narrow passage but still mostly over 20 metres deep. Then ease away along the southern shore of Kerrara, lots of lovely places to anchor on calm days or in northerlies but unsuitable for now. Then downwind north up the sound towards Oban negotiating the various rocks and buoys whilst eating Scotch pies and beans for lunch. The marina was full so it took a while to get berthed somewhere acceptable to both the management and ourselves. Eventually we squeezed ourselves in French style onto a short finger pontoon meant for a boat two thirds of our size. We're snug and its a "blowy off" one so the fenders won't squeak during the promised force 7's with gusting 8's. After a run over on the free ferry to the town for a wander and a pint we returned for a poached chicken supper cooked in the thermal cooker whilst we were out. We were also waylaid by Moana's crew Chris & Wendy who we'd not seen to speak to since Inverness. They invited us aboard their lovely Elizabethan with it's cosy wood lined saloon for a glass or two of wine before supper. It was nice to catch up again.

Lismore Lighthouse

Glorious mountain views

Castle Bay, Kerrara

Castle Bay, Kerrara
Apart from baking bread and cakes what else do you do at anchor or in harbour when its raining? Over the past few days we've hoovered the saloon & master cabin (our UAE investment in a rechargable Dyson means Temptress is much spick-er and span-er than she had been of late), shaken out the rugs, completed yet more Suduko (Susie), attempted making soft shackles from Dyneema rope core (Kevin), fixed odds and ends like valves on the heads (the toilet), changed the bed, tidied lockers and done a couple of lots of laundry ashore (in Corpach & again in Karrera Marina). All fairly mundane just like living ashore! Kevin wants to order a spare ram for our autopilot so we can pick it up when we return to Oban at the end of the month and he's booked a table for tonight at the Waypoint Grill here in the marina.

And shush, not too loud... the weather might improve next week but first the wind is going to be a bit northerly and we had thought of heading north up the Sound of Mull. Ah well we'll see what tomorrow actually brings.

Wrapped up warm with Suduko


Dallens Bay - Loch Creran - Karrera 26.6 nautical miles logged, 687.6nm total

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