Ardminish Bay, Gigha 55:40.45N 005:43.841W

Frans & Sarah Toonen
Fri 22 May 2015 07:25
Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd May 2015. SW5 then W4 and finally NW2-6, mostly dry, some sun and jolly cold airs and sea temperature of only 8C. 30 hours, 166.9nm. 6 engine hours.

We have been watching the weather for weeks now and the endless stream of fronts bringing rain and strong W/NW winds has become tedious. A small gap opened up on Thursday morning with favourable SW wind and we decided to go for it and try and get through the infamous North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland before the NW blow set in on our nose. We made good speed, up to 9.4kts, during the afternoon roaring across the Irish Sea staying high on the wind so as to have the best angle when the W wind arrived.  The wind dropped unexpectedly in the evening but we needed the engine on anyway as the voltmeter was showing the batteries were not holding their charge. Frans actually went off watch at midnight and Sarah managed by herself until 0400. Plenty of fishing boats to dodge and at Portavogie it seemed they all waited to set off until Sarah was crossing the harbour entrance. 

Arriving on the Irish coast around 0200 we were completely on the wrong point of the tide for passage north and this together with the light westerly wind slowed us down. By 1000 the North Westerly was building and reached F5 as we came abeam Glenarm. We continued north to maximise the angle but we couldn’t sail across the North Channel so we tacked. The current was such that we were being pushed back into the Irish Sea along our own course when we tacked so we were sailing to stay still. Engine on then and blast across the current - Scotland here we come. 

It was lovely to see our favourite birds again, gannet, guillemot, black guillemot, razorbill, fulmar and one puffin. We also saw a group of sea birds with black collars and struggled to identify them - we think they were juvenile kittiwakes.

Delighted to be back in Scottish waters and although it was a bit misty the Mull of Kintyre was ablaze with streaks of gorse. Picked up a mooring on first attempt at Gigha - phew it’s macaroni and bed time. 

Juvenile Kittiwakes