Moored in Tobermory Harbour on the island of Mull

Saxon Blue's Blog
Harvey Jones and Andrea Stokes
Wed 12 May 2010 19:32
56:37.187N 006:03.612W

We're moving again! Only a short hop today along the Sound of Mull but enough to make it feel good. We're on a mooring buoy in the middle of Tobermory harbour and I'm looking out at the "Balamory" houses in all the different colours. It's very pretty with the fishermen's dock in the middle of the town. Still the same fish and chip caravan on it that's been there for years although I managed to not eat any chips today. Kali and I went for a walk through the woods outside the town while Andrea was working on her art project. The woods were lovely. All spring-like with wild garlic and bluebells. They may be the last woods I walk in for months so I was making the most of it.

Oban was great, as ever. We left Saxon Blue in the marina on Kerrera for 4 days which worked well. There is a complimentary ferry to and from Oban every hour so we made good use of that. We spent 2 nights in our favourite hotel, Manor House, in our favourite room with a view of the harbour. The stay in Oban gave us time to stock up on stuff that we'd forgotten or just not had time to find in Southampton.

Andrea and I spent Sunday walking all round Kerrera so we were knackered after that. We even visited a new feature of the island, a parrot sanctuary. Now, you may think that rescued parrots would like to live in the rainforest but, apparently, a windswept Scottish island is much better. I don't imagine the neighbours were very impressed, especially as one of the Macaws makes a noise like a mobile phone and a whole aviary full of green parrots sing Old MacDonald's Farm. The Macaws were beautiful. The colours of their feathers don't look real and we could get up very close to them. Even more interesting were the young couple who showed us round. They were the sort of people you'd expect to find on an eco-protest. Very committed and passionate but about parrots instead of roads or whatever. A young girl there was amazing, too. She was only about 6 years old but told us all about the African Grey that was rescued from some drug addicts and said some "very naughty words". Now, I couldn't very well just say "what words" but eventually she volunteered that it would say (shock, horror) "shut-up". We tried to look suitably disgusted.

The stay in Oban also gave us a chance to adjust to our new life. Well, I say "adjust". It was more of a mini-crisis, really. With all the preparations working towards a definite date and then the frantic first week hurtling along towards Scotland, we hadn't really had a moment to reflect. If moving house and changing job are two of the most stressful things in life, we'd done both of them at the same time. We had to spend some time just reflecting and thinking "blimey". It's going to take a while to adapt but we're doing better now that we've discussed it and realised that we're both feeling very similar.

One thing we did get sorted was that we didn't really fancy crossing to the Faroes with just the three of us so I asked Greg if he could change his plans and meet us in Stornoway to cross over with us rather than meet us in the Faroes. He's a star and agreed so that's a big weight off our minds. We'd be OK with just three people but there's not much slack in the system if one of us gets tired or sick. It will put us a few days behind where we wanted but we can make that time up in Iceland. We're now looking forward to a relaxed crossing with easy watches.

We also met up with the Reverend Bob who's just had an article published in Yachting Monthly about his trip to Greenland last year. He's off up there again this year so we've arranged to meet up. He's extremely knowledgeable about the whole Arctic sailing thing and very good company. It's starting to feel as though there's a little community of people heading up there, all of whom have read a bit too much Bill Tilman. I think Kali's amazing bread is going to be a major feature of the Greenland sailing season this year.

The forecast was for strong winds tonight which is why we came to a proper harbour. Of course, it's now flat calm but at least we'll get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow we're off to find some remote anchorage with just us and the wildlife.


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