28th-29th July. On Saturday we met our new crew Gayle, Andy, Grace and Matthew at the railway station in Oban. They arrived with impressively little luggage and together we caught the little ferry across to the marina on Kerrera island. In pouring rain and got settled into the boat and started to tackle the new challenge of drying out six people’s rain gear! Not easy – for the first time Nova felt like a small boat.
The next day after a crew briefing and ‘treasure hunt’ round the boat (to learn what’s where) we set out. (Bob our stowaway decided to join in).
It was still raining and very grey, with practically no wind and poor visibility, so sadly we didn’t see the coastline at its best. ‘Atmospheric’ was the best spin we could put on it! We passed places familiar to us from previous sailing here: the slate-mining islands of Seil and Easdale, hollowed out in the centre by slate quarries, through the Fladda ‘narrows’ – a safe passage between two lighthouses – and down the Sounds of Luing and Jura. The tide helped us on our way – the currents are so strong here it is not advisable to try and go against them – and we passed the entrance to the Correyvreckan ‘whirlpool’ (the Sound between Scarba and the north of Jura) hardly seeing it in the misty conditions. Our intended anchorage for the night was Lussa Bay, off the east coast of Jura, and we found ourselves in company with four other boats. The weather improved for a while in the late afternoon and some of us went ashore to explore, finding impressive-looking stags nearby. There is a tiny community – and a post box – at Lussa, and on some days of the week it’s possible to order afternoon tea, to be delivered to the beach.
The following day some of us got up early so we could take advantage of the tide going south. It was dry and clear, but windless, so another motoring day. The rain held off until we’d almost arrived. We felt a little sad as the hills receded into the distance behind us – we have been within sight of mountainous landscapes since mid-June. We passed the MacCormaic isles on our left, one of which was a hermitage in ancient times and has a cross set atop it, clearly visible against the skyline. It was a good wildlife day, and the still water made spotting them easier; we were regularly spotting harbour porpoises – often in pairs – and we saw three Minke whales as well as seals, guillemots and gannets.
The outline of Gigha emerged, and at about 11am we arrived at Ardminish bay with its white sandy beaches, and moored up on the new pontoon. After coffee at the Boathouse restaurant and a short walk up to the shop, hotel and craft centre (all within 5 minutes) we felt restored. The craft centre café is particularly to be recommended for generous drinks and home-style baking (fantastic shortbread). In the afternoon the rain eased off and we were able to get sailing gear dry and enjoy the delights of the island. For some that meant a brisk walk to the south pier. Others couldn’t resist the delights of the beautifully clear water and spent the afternoon crabbing off the rocks.
- Distance: Kerrera to Lussa Bay 25nm, motored. Luisa Bay to Gigha 21 nm motored.
- Wind: negligible
ABOUT THIS BLOG
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.
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