A breezy day Wednesday…. but dry and a hint of sunshine. We departed our berth at Craobh at 8.50am having planned a route which would first take us south in order to go north. Then out into the main channel and full speed ahead to Oban.
A view of the lighthouse called Fladda…. the tricky section of the journey.
We turned southwards out of Craobh …. breezy and enough wind to sail… but after three or so miles we were going to turn northwards up the Sound of Luing. So motoring again…!! At 9.25am we rounded the south cardinal at the southern tip of the island of Luing and headed northwards into the Sound of Luing. So far our understanding of Scottish terms relates to the two words “Sound” and “Loch”. A “loch” is always enclosed at one or both ends, whilst a “sound” is open at one end.
It was the top or northern end of the Sound of Luing where we had to be extremely careful with our navigation. The north end is almost blocked off by a whole series of rocks and little islands. The chart shows two sets of sector lights to guide you through, with lighthouses on two of the little islands. Sector lights give you three coloured sectors…red, white and green. You try and stay in the white ( safe ) sector. This is mainly for night navigation…. but in daylight with the electronic chart plotter, you just keep the boat in the white sector.
This we did…. as well as keeping the boat in the deepest possible water and avoiding the rocks. Mike helmed Poli Poli through this section of the route in between trying to keep up with his reading… currently the Alex Ferguson biography!
As we moved northwards through the gap between the two lighthouses, a yacht past us going south…. another Southerly … a 42…. came roaring past us…lots of waving and thumbs up! Two guys with big smiles.
The photo of our chart above shows the route from Craobh to Oban. The blue triangle is where the “tricky” navigation took place…. the triangle indicates an alternative route to passing between the two lighthouses.
So far in 61 days at sea and over 1,400 n.miles, we have seen only five Southerly yachts…
truly a rarity and unique!!! Two moored up in the Dart Marina, Dartmouth, a brand new 47 in Kilmore Quay ( Eire ), a white solo 46 in Craobh ( man and elderly dog, actually both elderly ) and the 42 yesterday at the Fladda Lighthouse in the Sound of Luing.
By 10.15am we were safely through the Fladda Lighthouse narrows and out into the Firth of Lorn, where a north easterly course would take us straight to the entrance of the Kerrera Sound… on the end of which was our destination … Oban Marina… although not actually in Oban… but on the island of Kerrera opposite.
Poli Poli heading for the Sound of Kerrera…. dead ahead. The Scottish mainland on the right and the Island of Kerrera on the left. The island is about 4.5 n.miles long and its northern tip faces the town of Oban across a big, wide bay.
Poli Poli approaching Oban Bay ahead. We will turn to port ( left ) soon to enter the marina on Kerrera Island.
As we make our entry into Oban marina on the left, all the fenders have to be put over the side ready and our six mooring lines ( 3 each side as at this stage you do not know which side of the boat you are coming in on ) have to be prepared.
This is a photo of Oban Marina on the island of Kerrera… our first view is just a mass of masts. We communicate with the marina by VHF radio or mobile phone… they tell us which pontoon we are to use…. in this case it was B pontoon and the instruction was “take any empty berth”. Finding the letter nominated pontoon can be straightforward where there are big letter signs… but in many marinas the signage can be very poor. And that is not what you want if you have just done a 10 hour passage. In this case, the signage was excellent.
We berthed next to the hammerhead and tied up using special mooring lines…. so that the boat could not move forwards or backwards ( called “springs”) and lines which held the boat bow and stern into the pontoon. A journey northwards of just over three hours…. puts us on a latitude further north than Perth and Dundee on the east coast of Scotland. Poli Poli has never been this far north!!
Poli Poli on her berth at 12 noon, Wednesday 25th July 2018 in Oban Marina on the island of Kerrera. The town of Oban is across the bay behind Poli Poli. Fenders on the starboard side ( the one you see ) have been raised from “low” ( pontoon height ) to “high”… if another boat comes in to moor up next to you, these high fenders protect your topsides!!
After a visit to the office to register and pay, we adjourned to the marina cafe… “The Waypoint Bar and Grill ” overlooking Oban Bay for a beer and “sandwich”! Then we caught the free passenger ferry to Oban town at 3pm . There were 32 persons on board.
On board the “ferry” Pamela J with 30 other folk….. leaving Kerrera Island for Oban town. The boat ride took exactly ten minutes and views of the Oban waterfront were many.
We walked the full length of the waterfront… looked at the Council run waterfront marina…. looked good, all new pontoons and lots of space but only two very small showers and you would have to use the public toilets…. so a no no.
Mike visited the Cathedral whilst T monitored the regular and often, ferry traffic in and out of Oban port. After tea and a muffin, we trekked to a big Tesco’s and bought all the necessities that we had run out of. So with four big bags of Tesco shopping we caught the 6.10pm ferry back to the island of Kerrera… which was a lot more peaceful than all the traffic and throngs of tourists in Oban.
A poem on the waterfront in Oban. The marina in the photo below the poem is where the sort of black dot is on Kerrera Island opposite. Perhaps the marina was not there when this pic was taken?
A view of Oban from the departing 6.10pm ferry.
Distance Craobh to Oban: 21 n.miles.
Duration : 3 hours and 10 minutes.
Distance travelled now from Eastbourne: 1,443.5 n.miles.
And specially for Dad in Rusthall, Tunbridge Wells…. The Scots are doing it too….
Ferry traffic in Oban Bay…. late afternoon… much commercial traffic in and out of the port.
Nearly a full moon over Oban last night…for sailors an important event. A full moon means “Springs”…very high high tides and very low, low tides with very fast moving tidal streams. The tide table shows “Springs” in 3 days ..so full moon in 3 as well.
This monster jelly fish / Portugese Man of War appeared beside Poli Poli about 11am this morning…. about 12 inches wide and pulsating as it moved. The tendrils were about two feet long. We will not be swimming here!