Although I donít sleep much at night.. I do like to get up early. During the long days of summer I am awake and ready to go.. at 6 am most mornings. Sunday was no different. I got up and went down to the shore to check the boats. I was pleased to see..that despite the Guinness and Whisky dinner ... my calculations of tides was correct. They were still afloat on the falling tide.. by 7 am they would start to dry out.
There was a fresh northerly breeze .. and although it was blowing with the tide.. I could see there was a good deal of confused water over the races.
I took a couple of last photos of the ruins in the golden early morning light... before heading back to camp
I called Poly to let him know his boat would be high and dry in half an hour. Soon everyone was awake and having breakfast. The wind was still freshening .. so we discussed the proposed visit to the Garvellachs.
To get there involved crossing a strong tide race..it looked ok at present..but I knew when the tide turned..and wind was against it.. it could liven up very quickly ... it would be a rough ride back to Oban. No one objected to not going to the exposed Garvellachs..and an hour later all SIBS were loaded and in the water.
There were now quite a few white caps appearing on the waves in the ever freshening wind. I suggested a 75 degree course to the waves and head for the mainland ..then zig zag towards Easdale ..to avoid a head on course into the waves. Poly headed off in a cloud of blown spume. It was the last photo I could take before reaching sheltered waters again.
When we hit mid channel..the size of the waves became ďinterestingĒ for lack of a better description. All SIBs managed to kept on the plane.. but there were a number of waves where I had to cut throttle to avoid flying into the air and slamming the boat when hitting water again. I was glad of the spray cover.. not only keeping the spray off.. but for keeping the loose camping gear in the boat.
The waves eased as we eased into the shelter of the Sound of Easdale..but when we left the Sound again..and hit the full force of the wind and full reach of the waves in the exposed Firth of Lorn.. if one or two of the waves were not 2 meters tall..they were not far off it. White caps were now regular occurrences .. horizon to horizon.
All SIBs still kept on the plane ..slowing only to cross the largest waves. .. all boats handled the conditions well... air floors .. aluminium floors ..wooden floors and poly floors.
We made the right decision not to go to the Garvellachs that morning.. conditions were tough enough..but in a couple of hours time..when tides turned to face the wind..travelling would be much worse. However.. the wind dropped as we reached the shelter of Kerrera..and by mid day it was flat calm again... such is the unpredictable wind.
It was still only mid morning ..so we landed at Kerrera Parrot Sanctuary..not to see the birds..but to walk over the hill for a cup of tea. Kaman.. Deano.. and Rab Rib decided to head off for an early start home.. so we said our good byes and parted ways.
Poly ... Willk and myself enjoyed the walk in the warm sun and headed over the hill ...
To the lovely tea cottage of Kerrera.. where we enjoyed homemade Lemon Drizzle cake and a pot of coffee.. and we scoffed every last crumb... delicious
At mid day..I followed the Cal Mac ferry out of Oban bay before landing at Ganavan Sands.
I arrived home at 4pm..a very happy man..and thoroughly enjoyed the first Ribnet Scottish SIB outing. I look forward to the next outing.
To finish this post.. Im going to give another observation..but keep in mind..its only my observation..otherís can add their thoughts if they wish.
Without doubt.. Polyís poly SIB was the fastest boat.. despite having a smaller 20hp engine than some of the SIBS. This didnít surprise me as PVC bottoms have much more drag than smooth hard hulled boats.
There appeared to be no significant difference in the performance between any of the SIBs. Air Floors.. Aluminium floors ..and wooden floors.. all handled the conditions very well. There was not a bad boat in the line up.
Thanks to all for reading this drivel..if you have enjoyed it..think of coming on the next one.. real life adventures are fun.
My thanks to Poly..Kaman.. Rab Rib .. Deano.. and last but certainly not least Willk.. it was a great weekend .. and I enjoyed the craic.... I hope we all meet again on another adventure.
Best regards ... The Gurnard
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gullís way and the whaleís way where the windís 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 trickís over.