The Inner Hebrides

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Bliss in Oban marina

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Chris up mast

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Even cloudy days have their own magic

We have spent two nights in Oban marina, which isn't actually in Oban, it's about half a mile away across Kerrera Sound on the island of Kerrera, one of the Inner Hebrides. Skye, Mull,Rum, Eigg, Muck are a few of the 18 or so Inner Hebridean islands, so we have our work cut out just trying to decide which of them to visit, let alone getting there! The table is strewn with books, maps, charts, leaflets and copies of sailing logs from friends and acquaintances who have explored this area before. The trouble is it is all so stunningly beautiful, with amazing walks, climbs and natural wonders, we could easily spend our full six months here.
While I write this Chris is up the mast! Essential repairs/maintenance have to be done. We sustained a tear to the mainsail whilst sailing down Loch Ness last Sunday, the sail had to be taken off the boat and was collected for repair, should be ready later today. Chris went up the mast to find and rectify the cause. He's safely down now, we had to recruit some extra muscle power to hoist him up there, Sven, a Crew on a Swedish yacht duly obliged, my upper body strength is improving with all the winching I get to do, but Winching Chris up to, almost, the top of the mast could be asking for trouble!
Mast sorted, supermarket shop done; consists of dinghy ride over to Oban, secure dinghy, walk to supermarket, shop, carry shopping back to dinghy and motor back to Bliss over the Sound of Kerrera. Having to carry everything does limit the amount of heavy shopping we can manage, which is basically fluids, fluids in glass Just means we have to make two trips!
General chores pretty much done, now just the task of collecting repaired sail. Bizarrely, having collected sail from us in Fort William, the sail repairers want us to pick it up from their sail-loft. With no car, they suggested we sail to the bay in which they're situated, anchor, row ashore in dinghy, trek through a caravan site, collect sail and return, carrying sail. Chris has gone, I am left aboard Bliss in charge in case of anchor dragging, not sure who has drawn the short straw! Our recent form of attempted anchoring has been 2 out of two failures, and the echo-sounder has picked a perfect moment to go on the blink!
Once Chris returns we will set off to our overnight mooring in Loch Aline, just off the Sound of Mull, a harbour that sounds small and welcoming. Most marinas are welcoming, and helpful, unfortunately the woman running the Oban marina was neither; indifferent and unhelpful probably sums her up, shame. We've been so amazed by the Scots people, warm, friendly, laid-back and thoroughly charming. I'm not sure what we were expecting, perhaps I thought they'd be like the French towards us!
The decision of our next destination has been made. We had been planning to go to Toblemory, which is only about 12 miles up the Sound of Mull, but....the forecast is for a fabulous following breeze and t'would be a shame not to make the most of it so we shall head for Canna, about 45 miles north of where we are now. Canna boasts amazing wildlife, with a slim chance of seeing a basking shark or eagles, as well as the more likely shags, puffins, razorbills, seals porpoise......we'll let you know!

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