Well, it didnlt quite go to plan, but by the sounds of things three out of the four of us had a good cruise..... just not together!
So, Hopefully Amac or Perro will be along to gve the "other half" story, but the "Largs launch" side goes a bit like this:
0815, I am driving my empty trailer up the slip as Scotseats arrives. 15 mins later both boats launched, engines warming up & ready to go. Very quickly found an intreresting problem with water separating fuel filters at -3, as Scotseats ground to a halt as his fuel line blocked with ice in the filter..... After a few attempts to get it flowing, we decided to split up, I would go meet the rest of the group & hopefully meet up at the bottm end of Bute later. So I headed off, and aimed for Rothsay. (AMac, I think I might have heard a shout on the VHF at that point?) Anyhow, the "big yellow rib" I was aiming for turned out to be that big ferry mooring, so after a shout on the VHF, I tried Phoning Perro, but no answer (this, it transpired was the beginnig of the phone curse and a good demo of why not to rely on a mobile on a boat.....)
So after a few mins of no reply & an MMSI poke I nailed it up the Eastern Kyle. Got to Tignabruach, no ribs, but I did spot a lobster fisherman, so I went and asked him if he had seen 2 ribs... "Yep, left 10 mins ago" he said,
Another WOT moment down the kWestern Kyle being chased by a Grey Porpoise and I got to Ardlamont Point, It was "Colin Baxter heaven" - Arran was in perfect silhoutette, apparently floating on the haze over the flat water. In the Kilbrannan Sound I could see a wake. I looked up Loch Fyne, and yes, you've guessed it, I saw another wake in the distance. Tried another VHF / MMSI / Phone shout. More radio silence. This also killed my phone (stoooopidly forgot to turn off the bluetooth whenn I got out the car, and presumbaly lack of signal it was "thrashing the network" looking for one & & the low temp didn't helop the battery. Anyhow, I decided that as we had talked about the Otter, I'd try that.
So, off up Fyne I went, sun warming my back all the way, and was joined by another (darker grey) porpoise for a few mins. Got to the Otter. Nobody. Thought ""good place to stop & get a bowl of soup or something hot to eat. Found that they didn't open 'till later, so meandered back with a wee diversion into the canal basin at Lochgilphead. With hindsight that was a bad move....
Decided I'd head for Tarbert and stop there for lunch. On appoach to the loch entrance, two wakes headed off in the genral directon of the Western Kyle... Another shoult on 16/77/ MMSI and no response, so I carried on into Tarbert. Found a kid in a wooden dinghy and asked if the two boats that left about 5 mins ago were...... Yep, two ribs, one bright yellow..... So, I then had my lunch, and decided as I had an hour & a half before I needed to be back that I would divert via Lochranza. Was stared at by a few seals who put their heads up above water as I motored down Fyne, had a wee play in the departing ferry wake and then aimed for Garroch Head. by this time the wind had got up, and put some waves into the game, nicely at about 30 degrees to my direction, so had a more interesing but still comfortable & dry drive back at 25 Knots.
Emptied my 2nd 30L tank about 1/4 mile from the marina, where I was out the water by about 3.30, found I couldn't flush engine or brakes due to the soid hose, and went home.
In total 82.3 nautical miles and as good as 60L of fuel. No photos, as my camera appers to have been droped once too often as I discovered when I thought "wake shot to beat all wake shots" and found it wouldn't even switch on....
Ignoring the camera & the frozen fuel filter, It was a fantastic day out.
Scotseats, did you ever get it fixed?
AMac, Perro, how did the other half of the cruise go?