Firth of Clyde: 55 34.5 N 004 57.8 W

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 17 Jul 2009 12:15
15 July 2009

Position: 54 13.63 N 004 41.52 W
Moored Peel Bay
Wind: South, light
Weather: sunny Sea: calm

By Thomas:
We had dinner at about 7:30 and sailed into Peal yesterday at about 8:30 p.m. and managed to clear Bob Cat for customs and moor in the harbour. Forgoing the chance to have a late beer, we read and caught an early night. Next morning we woke up at about 7:30 and, after a brief discussion about The Life of Pi over bran flakes, went into the small town and managed to get in a peek at a museum and took a tour of a grand castle on St. Patrick's Isle. This castle spans several eras and has a clear view of the cliffs and sea below. It also has a variety of different architectural styles and buildings which vary from a monks tower to a cannoned wall. We were given small audio guides that helped understand the history and mythology of the castle. For example there is a legend about a spectral dog that once haunted the castle and drove the soldiers mad and mute with fear. The town itself is very pedestrian friendly and charming, in its own way. We mucked around town trying to get our gas cylinders filled which, to our dismay, is more complicated than it should be. We sent a 20lb tank ashore in the hope that one of the local hardware store owners could get it filled in a nearby Douglas. The wind, which had been virtually non-existent, has picked up a bit while we were in town.

Bob Cat:

The new human has managed to acquire a slight sun burn already, and waved a small pen at me which I promptly captured and killed. Captain Bob has been a little lenient on the Tuna lately, of which I delight in reminding him. Additionally, I managed to wake both of them up in the wee hours of the morning. A few extra pets but mainly things remain unchanged. I shall have to wait to see how this unfolds, and how better to wait than. zzzzz.

16 July 2009

Noon Position: 54 37.8 N 005 13.6 W
Course north nor'west Speed: 4 knots
Wind: Southwest, light
Weather: partly cloudy, mild Sea: slight

Skipper Bob:

Yesterday afternoon, now having someone other than Bob Cat to consult with, Thomas and I explored options for where to next, we pored over charts, tide tables and various guides and listened closely to the weather forecasts coming over the VHF radio. After much deliberation and several iterations of tidal calculations we came to the conclusion, keen to be on our way, that a midnght departure should have us in the North Channel in time for the ebbing tide in our favour, then from there we would make our way up the Firth of Clyde with a view to transiting the Crinan Canal, providing a short cut across the Kintyre Peninsular (and the Mull of Kintyre). Thomas's "Moon" guide waxes rather lyrical about the countryside round about, in particular the Knapdale Forest, so we figured this has to be the way to go. Also strong northerlies are forecast for later today so we are hoping to be able to find some shelter up the Firth rather than be stuck out in the strong tidal streams of the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland. Beyond the Crinan Canal lies the island of Jura where George Orwell wrote "1984", also home of the world's third largest whirlpool, the Corrywrecken, if possible we will observe it from a safe vantage point ashore.

So this is the plan, and like all good plans it has had to be adapted right from the start; the wind was very light last night after we slipped the mooring such that we have arrived at the Northern Channel with the tide against us and our progress towards the Firth of Clyde very slow. Such are the nature of adventures.

Bob Cat:

I have waited and things have unfolded, the new human, the third hand, seems as insensible to my anguished midnight wails as skipper Bob, the food remains the usual unending supply of hardtack, there is perhaps a marginal increase in pats. But always one to look for the positive, my professional pursuits remain largely uninterrupted, speaking of which . Zzzzzzzz

17 July 2009

Noon Position: 55 34.5 N 004 57.8 W
Course Northwest Speed: 5 knots
Wind: North, fresh
Weather: overcast, mild Sea: slight

It seems the blog has not been updated since Sunday, computer problems, argh! I am keeping my fingers crossed that I might have fixed it, so we will re-send the journal for the past few days, if you are still with me you can catch up.
Yesterday's plan is going OK, we are now half way up the Firth of Clyde, the wind eventually kicked in last night and fortunately has provided us with some nice sailing so far even if it is a headwind. It is supposed to get stronger later, near gale, but I am hoping by then we will be pretty close to the entrance to the Crinan Canal and will have plenty of shelter. Already half way up the Firth the land is offering a good lee and keeping the seas down.
Seeing as there is so much catching up to be done I will keep this entry short.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

Watching humans tear their hair out is rather a fascinating past time. Well that was tiring, time to catch up on some work . Zzzzzz.