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Old 25 April 2015, 19:36   #21
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...and meanwhile, 9D is sitting in an office looking out the window and wishing he had booked the week off...

Can I be just a wee bit jealous?
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Old 26 April 2015, 03:56   #22
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Thanks for calling in guys. Im afraid Im no Hamish MacInnes although I did run around the hills with his cousin in my younger days... so we have met. Im just an old man and the sea..trying my best to land a fish before I die .....

Eilean Dubh Mor looked very suitable for a wild camp. There is a large grassy area above the smooth stoned sheltered beach.






On the other side of the grass area in another stone beach pointing in the opposite direction from the one I landed on..so has multiple possibilities ..depending on the direction of the wind. If the south shore of Belnahua proves a bit tricky to leave boats overnight..this is an alternative spot





Some research has found that the outward bound centre on Lunga sometimes drops kids off on this island to rough it and fend for themselves for a few days. They normally go to the caves and we probably would not see them. They build a flag pole and fly a flag if they are on the island..so we would know they were there.

Relaxed after lunch and warmed in the sun..we got back on the boat and started heading north leaving Lunga and Eilean Dubh Mor behind in our wake.





The weather gods were kind to us.. the wind dropped to nothing..and the sea turned to a mill pond. Far in front we could see the lighthouse of Fladda.






We could also see the dark streak of the tide race running across our path once again.





This time there was not any dancing waves.. just a silent swirl .. the SIB felt nothing as we slide easily across. Belnahua and the distant island of Mull looked very inviting from this angle.





Soon we were passing Fladda and its lighthouse. I knew we were now in far kinder waters. We had just touched on a few of the most treacherous channels and tidal flows in the UK.. but pick the day and watch the weather..and you are rewarded with views of truelly stunning seascapes and scenery.





A passing note for other small SIBbers if you venture here on your own. On our journey never saw another boat since Easdale. The handheld VHF didn’t pick up many comforting messages from coast guard or other boats. Range I suspect is often too short among the rocky islands but I didn’t try transmissions. Water depth is 100ft or so but an anchor in a tide race is as much use or as dangerous on a small SIB as rubber oars.


My most valuable safety item is the Auxiliary engine.. don’t go on your own..without one. Granted.. it wont get back to Ganavan or fight the strong tides..but I know it will ferry glide the SIB across the currents and get to the nearest landing spot..where I wont drown..and hopefully be rescued before I starve to death.


It is worth practising using the Aux engine too..Kayakers practice self rescue.. mountaineers practise self rescue.. small boats should do it too.. but how many actually do ? My opinion only of course.. others can disagree if they wish

On the Scottish SIB outing..there will be other boats to assist if problems occur ..so an Aux is not a necessity them

I will continue the journey back to Ganavan..with some more sight seeing photos.. shorty.
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Old 26 April 2015, 08:49   #23
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We were now heading up the west coast of Luing.. another of the Slate Islands. Passing Cullipool I decided to show my Daughter the Cuan Sound.. another narrow fast flowing tidal channel.





But first I had to slow to displacement speed and give the Helanda K159 a wide berth. Although she was flying the Alpha flag..it was not very obvious in the still wind... but I knew she had a diver down.. probably collecting Scallops from the sea bed.





I turned into the Cuan Sound ..it flows around 7knts at springs..however as the tide was now almost full out.. there was not much flow. The ferry from the Island of Seil to Luing was on its slipway..so no need to worry about avoiding it.





I checked out the caravan park that someone on Ribnet has booked a holiday at ..Beerbelly ? There was no one around though...





So I headed back to sea.. just in time to see the...






... Cal Mac Car Ferry pass up the Sound of Insh as I passed up the Sound of Easdale.. only our engines made a sound in the quiets of these two passages. The Island of Mull watched over us both from the far distance... across the Firth of Lorne






Soon we were skimming over the now silent sound of Insh..heading for Insh Island.





I had promised my daughter (and you guys).. to show the cave the owner of the island sometimes stays in.. There it is ..up on the rock at the far end of the island..





Where said my daughter ? ... There said I ..... see the wooden hut.. and the cave he stays in has a wall and window in front of it.





Then Insh Island fell far behind us as we continued back to Ganavan.. Silence again fell on the Sounds.




I will continue with some more sightseeing on the way back.. some time later ...
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Old 26 April 2015, 15:08   #24
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Leaving Insh Island..I then set course for a favourite safe anchorage of our yachtie brothers.. but first I had to slow and keep clear of the Atlantia UL62 ..another scallop collector. There was no mistaking this boat’s flag indicating “diver down” ..but only if you know your flags.






It was perfectly calm in the anchorage..but then..it was perfectly calm on the sea today too...so no yachts were at home.





Yachties like the anchorage because its just a short walk to the pub at Clachan Bridge.. the bridge that crosses the Atlantic to the Island of Seil. I would have to walk to it too ..as the tide was out .. which is why I didn’t try going under the bridge from the Cuan Sound.





Next stop was on the southern end of Kerrera where we saw some strange rock formations ..





And the ruins of Gylen Castle standing on the cliffs above us.





Then we headed up the sheltered Sound of Kerrera to Oban bay. Looking back..the island just to the left of my wake is Insh Island..and the faint blue island to the left of that again is the Garvellachs..approx 20 miles away as the albatross flies.





I gave my daughter a tour of Oban town from the sea..at least she couldn’t say..Dad..can I get that pair of shoes. A helicopter came in to land as we passed the Cal Mac ferry terminals.





The folly high on the hill crowns Oban town..and seeing it again ..just made our day.





I quietly slipped out the north channel heading for Ganavan Bay and the car. A huge ship appeared in our path as I rounded the point..but I already knew it was there before I saw it.. it was announced on Channel 16 of the VHF.




When I filled the tanks again..it was 26 litres of fuel used.. not bad.. tad over £30 quid for a day’s boating from 7am to 4pm..covering 54 miles

That concludes my adventure to the Garvellachs. I hope you have found it of interest..and I also hope some of you will see it all for yourselves on the Scottish SIB outing in June..here’s hoping for calm seas then too.

Thanks for reading.. and I hope to catch you all again on another adventure

Best Regards
The Gurnard

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
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Old 26 April 2015, 15:46   #25
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Thankyou. An absolute delight to read.
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Old 26 April 2015, 17:49   #26
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Brilliant,feel like I've been there,your details are so comprehensive,could this trip be done in a 3.3 Rib on a calm day?
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Old 26 April 2015, 17:56   #27
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Originally Posted by bmb779 View Post
Brilliant,feel like I've been there,your details are so comprehensive,could this trip be done in a 3.3 Rib on a calm day?
bmb - are you free for the "S*IB Gathering" in June? Much of this is the proposed "good weather route" and you'd have the reassurance of company. Its not exclusive to SIBs. Some of us with "hard" boats might have some extra challenges with beaching on Belnahua (Gurnard thanks for investigating that!) but we will work something out.
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Old 26 April 2015, 20:20   #28
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Bravo bravo!
Take a bow Gurnard.
That as always, was a superb read. The pictures were fabulous too.
Petrol wise I was reckoning on taking 12.5 litre in my tank plus 2 x 20 litre Cans.
Plus a 5 litre can. So all in just shy of 60 litres.
Looking forward to the trip even more now.
Hope the weather gods are looking down favourably!
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Old 27 April 2015, 06:21   #29
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another good one gurnard
i have done this area many times some very good tips there for any that have never been,pitty the tide was too low to come under the bridge lovely route that, i went through last year with just 24in of water under the keel, stunning pics they have wet my appetite for the ERR on the 2nd thanks for your time posting.[The gurnards guide to the western isles] has a good ring to it.

cheers jeff
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Old 27 April 2015, 06:29   #30
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Excellent thread sir.

Cap doffed.
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