We've been quite busy since our last blog entry. So much so that sailing today in a force 6 felt like a rest but more on that later. It seems like ages ago that we had our day off in Tobermory but it was only last Saturday. I loved going up the mast in Tobermory despite getting covered in bruises. It was a beautiful sunny day and it was a great way to see the town. It was also great to have a proper shore shower - the first since Skye.
Not only did we buy a kettle in Tobermory but we also bought some books to keep Stan entertained and a fishing line to keep Tom entertained. On Sunday we sailed circa 45 miles from Tobermory down the sound of Mull, the Firth of Lorn, the Sound of Luing and through the Dorus Mor passage. All these places sound like something out of a Tolkien novel. We had a cracking sail - lots of sunshine and the wind behind us. Tom attempted some unsuccessful fishing with the new line. Patience for fishing is not one of my husband's fortes - he seemed to spend most of the afternoon letting the line out, pulling at it a bit, swearing a bit, bringing it back in again then muttering grumpily at it. We didn't catch anything. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing as neither of us is going to have a clue what to do when we finally do! (Note to self: read the fish book!)
The 4 nights in Ardfern were our first on shore power for as many weeks. We made the most of it by getting lots of jobs done. The marina engineer confirmed Tom's suspicions about the batteries - 2 of them aren't holding their charge which ultimately means new batteries somewhere down the line. Not great.
Stan, Tom and Richard in Adfern
It wasn't all work though. We got to see Richard one of our fellow New York Clipper crew which was great. We also met some other lovely people including Jimmy, Colin and his wife and fellow Bowman owners Harry and his wife. (Stan particularly enjoyed sitting on Jimmy's knee looking at his fabulous beard!)
The 0335 alarm this morning was a rude awakening after so many weeks of civilized start times. We took one look outside decided it was still too dark and went back to bed for another hour. We finally set off just after 0500. The weather forecast had said 3's and 4's with the occasional 5 - pah! More like 5's and 6's with the occasional 7 thrown in for good measure. Thank goodness it was from behind. We flew down the Sound of Jura. We came up onto the wind as we rounded the south coast of Islay to come in to Port Ellen with 2 reefs in and a scrap of headsail and were still doing 7.5 knots. Arriving in Port Ellen wasn't quite so smooth. We had originally intended to anchor but with gusts up to 30 knots across the deck it seemed more prudent to pick up a mooring buoy and wait for the wind to abate. Usually this is one of our best manoeuvres however with the conditions as they were it took us several attempts to get safely attached to the buoy (there are no pick-up buoys on the buoys). Stan obviously also chose this moment to demand lunch so everyone was a little fraught by the time we got settled. A family afternoon nap soon restored us though.
Other news - Stan is finally starting to enjoy 'tummy time' (See pic) he'll be crawling before we know it and then the fun of living aboard with a baby will really begin!
Another early start tomorrow - feels odd that this is our last night in Scotland. We really have had a fantastic time up here but feel that we've barely scratched the surface of discovering all the area has to offer the sailor. Guess we'll just have to come back!
Phil and Stan