29th – 30th June.  In morning mist we set off from Kyleakin, waving goodbye to Ben and Sally as they departed for their long journey back to Cornwall.  The wind was against us as we turned south into the narrow stretch of water known as Kyle Rhea, which has very strong currents.  It was close to neaps, so the current was not at its strongest, but we still had 2-3 knots of tide carrying us along.  We chose to motor rather than short tack down the narrowest stretch, then turned the engine off as the channel widened and tacked gently down the Sound of Sleat, with the mountains on Skye and the mainland misty on both sides.  At times the wind died completely and we turned the engine on, but for most of the day we were able to sail, timing our entry to Arisaig harbour just before high water, through its rather tortuous entry. In the distance the islands of Eigg and Rum loomed through the mist.

Egg and Rum from Arisaig harbour

As we arrived several other yachts converged so we took our place in the procession of boats going down the channel. Strong wind and rain is forecast for tomorrow so we suspect that, like us, other people wanted to be safely tucked up in a sheltered harbour before the weather takes a turn for the worse. We filled up with fuel at the small stone pier and found our buoy.  We’d booked the mooring back in February, as we are leaving Nova here for a couple of weeks – and we were glad we had done so, as there were few buoys spare.  It was another beautiful evening, with the water like a mirror.  We spent an hour or so doing jobs in preparation for leaving the boat – lifting the anchor off its roller and stowing it safely on deck, scrubbing the decks (thank you Caroline) and making sure the mooring strop was secured properly.  Finally we settled down for dinner on deck – the first time it has been warm enough in our trip for us to do so!

View from Nova’s mooring at Arisaig

Postscript: We woke on Sunday feeling we were in a different place. Wet, grey and windy (forecast was F5-7). We took the dinghy ashore with a bag of laundry, through the choppy waters: the upside was enjoying a leisurely coffee in the Arisaig teashop while the washing was on. A splashy return trip later, and all three of us ventured ashore, for a wet walk round the beautiful Larachmhor gardens and a delicious lunch in the Crofter’s bar, entertained by live traditional music. Then back to Nova to tidy up the boat and pack for our journey south.

  • Distance: 42 nm (including tacking). Motored 3hrs, sailed 5 hours
  • Wind: S/SW 3-4


On our passage ‘Around These Islands’ Anne is writing about each trip, and Jonathan is writing some more ‘technical’ blogs, from our perspective as ordinary cruising sailors. We are sharing what we’ve learned, and welcome your thoughts too. Please remember that this blog – and your comments – are public.

There’s also a special focus on 12 key ports on our planned route, with articles from These Islands and a series of podcasts from Chrome Media called ‘Around These Islands in 12 Ports’.


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