23rdJuly.  After two grey, windy, rainy days in Tobermory today the colour has been switched back on. The sea is deep blue with white wave-caps and the green shoreline dotted with cottages slopes up towards dark mountains with tops shrouded in white. Tobermory has been a good place to be stuck: there are pleasant facilities, a well-stocked Co-op within walking distance and the Tobermory Chocolate shop – all the essentials!  The only drawback is that internet connections are frustratingly slow. We have become quite dependent on the Internet for weather forecasts, and most days we’ve been sufficiently connected for Jonathan to publish a ‘daily sky’ image.

Tuesday morning brought sun and scudding clouds. There was a bustle of activity in the marina as everyone packed up their cockpit rain covers and made ready to set off.  We left mid-morning to sail down the Sound of Mull towards Oban, beating against a south-easterly wind (force 4-5 gusting 6). The sun alternated with dramatic clouds, but the rain held off.  The Sound was as busy as we’d ever seen – a steady stream of yachts going north west, running before the wind with sails goose-winged, one on each side of the boat. We dodged through them as if we were in the Solent, tacking back and forth, making good progress down the Sound.  It was a perfect sailing day and Jonathan was in his element tweaking and trimming and smiling as Nova overtook various other boats heading south-east like us.

Nova in the Sound of Mull (photo credit: crew of Cantata II)

It’s a beautiful stretch of water, with the mountains and coast of Mull on one side and the remote Morvern peninsula on the other, with the occasional remote cottage or impressive country house. Are these holiday homes or do families really live in such inaccessible places?  

We stopped for tea (how civilised!) near the southern end of the Morvern peninsula, at Innimore bay, another remote spot and a very obscure anchorage (thanks to Antares charts for the details). Dropping anchor in a sheltered gap behind rocks, we had a view across to Duart castle on Mull, guarding the southern entrance to the Sound.  Setting off again late in the afternoon we passed the lovely Lismore lighthouse and aimed for an overnight anchorage we’d never known about before, off the west coast of Kerrera island.  

The wind dropped and we motored the last mile into a small inlet inside the tiny island of Eilean nan Gamhna.  After dinner on deck in the warm evening, we decided – for the first time in ages – to watch the news, since we had good internet and we felt we should take notice of the announcement of a new prime minister.  Just as the headlines had finished we saw a sea otter pop up to take a look at us. Somehow the news didn’t seem important any more and we shut the computer to enjoy the sight of this elusive creature.  

  • Distance: 33nm. Sailed 6h15m
  • Wind: SE4-5


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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