Sunday, May 28, 2023

2023 May 28th, Day 45 Lochmaddy to Opsay Basin, Sound of Harris.

WIP pictures to follow.

With the weather looking reasonable from Tuesday or Wednesday I planned another couple of short legs, the first is a very small anchorage with excellent protection from any swell or waves coming in from the Atlantic, there is little protection from the wind but that is likely to be around Force 3 so is a non issue.

Opsay Basin, the red circle is Sancerre shortly after arrival.
note the scale! Also the narrowness of the exit to the NW that
is part of the Grey Horse Channel to the NW of tje Sound.

8 miles in 3 hours in light winds.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

2023 May 25, Days 41 - 43 to Loch Keivagh and Lochmaddy.

 WIP, very poor internet, more to follow.

My plan was to spend the night at Loch Keivagh then Friday and Saturday nights at Loch Maddy either both in the marina or on there and one at anchor depending on exactly when some strong winds went through.

[Pics of the entrance, route etc.]

My track in and out of Loch Keivagh.

The entrance was a little problematic due to the fish farm and lobster pots, and once though the narrow entrance it was quite bleak, had limited swinging room in the shallower bits and the wind was funnelling down the loch, so went on to Lochmaddy. 

Likely to be there for 3 nights as F4-6 winds are forecast for the Minch (F7 in the north) but looking OK for next week with seas < 1 metre by Wednesday for several days but NE winds on Thursday could mean a long trip back to the Sound of Harris. 

22 miles in  three and a half hours.

Click here for Opsay Basin.

2023 May 24, Day 40 To the Wizards Pool, Loch Skipport.

 WIP, v poor internet, more to follow.

[Pic of boat in position “A”.]

The best spot was taken by a boat staying all night so I chose to anchor between Wizards Island and a rock that uncovers almost to windward. 

The Wizards Pool, position A in the given wind was in the NW
corner but I had to settle for where the red circle is with the
anchor towards the small rock. Note the scale.
It was a bit closer to the island than I would have preferred but the wind would blow me clear and the wind was likely to back giving a good long way behind, this is a good safety measure as it can be problematic getting anchor up in a breeze single handed if there is not room do drift back when the anchor breaks free as I need to be on the foredeck to flake the chain into the shallow locker.

In my view a much better the next door Kettle Pool that I used last year, except probably in a north easterly.

[Pic: Channel to Kettle Pool]

My track going out, the initial move west is largely hauling
the anchor up.

15 miles in 4 hours

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

2023 May 22nd, Days 38 & 39 CastleBay to Lochboisdale.

WIP with very poor bandwidth everywhere pics to follow.

With fresh or strong winds forecast I decided to move on to Lochboisdale which is well sheltered and hopefully would have hat water in the showers - they did.

I had planned to go into the Sound of Barra for a look round but the wind was a very cold force 4 - 5, I was wearing gloves for the hole trip despite bright sunshine, so I decided not to and got to Boisdale at lunch time..

Back in 1978 whilst sailing on the half tonner Green Dragon we and another boat hit a supposed Basking Shark off Portland Bill, just past the Sound of Barra I almost did it again; I was sailing so not making much noise and it was fully underwater so I could not see it then a big tail briefly appeared close off of the port bow  and then all that was to be seen were a lot of swirls in the water as long as the boat only 4 or 5 yards away.

I spoke to Dr. Simon Keeling the boss man at who do a lot of work on medium and long term forecasting and there is a reasonable to good chance that the weather and sea state will be ok for St Kilda early / middle next week. So I will leave Lochboisdale tomorrow and have planned a number of very short legs to get me to the Sound of Harris ready to leave on Tuesday.

There is no grocery shopping here and the only shopping point on route is at Loch Maddy and that is very limited so it looks like I will be on tinned food for a while from later in the week.

21 miles in 6 hours.

Click here for the Wizards Pool

2023 May 21st, Day 37 Cornaig Bay to Castlebay.

 Very much WIP, no phone signal and poor wi-fi, this only possible due to my wi-fi extender.

After days will little or no internet access I have found that "marine traffic's" ground stations lost contact with me half way to Vatersay, I have manually updated my position today and will do so in the future IF I can get an internet connect.. Providing I remember to switch on the IridiumGo, tracking withour paying for Marine traffic's satellite tracking service should be available from "Track Sancerre" above.

Just a couple of miles to Castlebay marina for a shower and shopping. Disappointed on the former as there was no hot water so it was very quick and no hair wash, the latter was much better with the best Coop I have seen north of the boarder.

A small cruise ship arrived early on Sunday putting a number of tourist ashore then got them back and set sail at lunch time as everything opened up. As least they, including the Coop opened in the afternoon, they don't everywhere in the Western Isles.

pics and probably more to follow.

Why its called Castlebay, the castle is on an Island.

Click here for Lochboisdale

Sunday, May 21, 2023

2023 May 20th, Day 36 Vatersay Bay to Cornaig Bay

  WIP with very poor bandwidth @ Castlebay, Barra, pics to follow.

Fog bound with visibility less than 150 metres and no phone signal on O2 or Vodaphone so the only forecasts I had was the downloads via satellite for wind, rain and pressure and a general warning on the slightly out of date shipping forecast of some fog banks in the Hebrides. 

I could see that I needed to be in shelter by Tuesday evening because of strong westerly winds, I would be OK at Vatersay Bay and a couple of other places but did not want to stay here that long especially if the weather was poor, so I called my wife on the IridiumGo satellite app only to find there was no mention of fog in the domestic forecast for Barra Airport just up the coast. So I would just have to wait and see.

The fog lifted to give about a mile visibility so I moved north through the Fisherman’s Passage with the option of going to CastleBay or an anchorage at Cornaig Bay on the north shor of Vatersay, I was hoping to get a phone signal from a mile off of the village of Castlebay which is a ferry port and the main settlement in the southern Outer Hebrides and could then decide what to do.

The Fisherman’s Passage is very narrow and a bit of a white knuckle ride as it looks far narrower due to lot of seaweed on the channel side of the partially submerges central rock and the islet to the east, I’ll write that and the two a anchorages up later.

No such luck, no phone signal, and Castlebay anchorage and pontoons are a bit exposed to the SW wind only F3 – F4 at the time but could get stronger and whilst I could do with a shower and a bit of shopping I opted fore comfort and headed for Coraig Bay where, by late afternoon I was again fog bound.

The current plan (Saturday evening) is to go into Castlebay on Sunday when the wind is due to be northerly, briefly explore and anchor in THE Sound of Barra on Monday and head for Loch Boisdale, S. Uist on Tuesday for a night or two until the strong-ish  winds have passed through on Wednesday or Thursday, there is no worthwhile grocery shipping there but showers, laundry and a hotel which served some decent fish and chips when I was there last year.

Four Miles in an hour and a quarter.