Sunday 9th August 2020 – Port Ellen (Islay) to Port Talbert (Jura) – 34 nm – 5 hrs

The winds were too strong to get away from the pontoon this morning. Although we had bright skies we didn’t get our share of the heatwave those at home were experiencing.

This morning we watched a fishing boat offload its catch, apart from people adjusting their warps and pondering over the wind strength and lack of sustained direction, not much was happening. So we went for a walk around this quiet and very beautiful bay, the highlight was to find a Co-op that offered cash back.

At 1330hrs we took the decision to make best use of tides and as the wind had dropped significantly we made our way over to Jura. During the passage we passed the Lagavuln and Ardbec distilleries – their buildings showed their names in huge Hollywood style lettering.

At Proag Bay, Islay, we were joined by several seals bobbing around the boat, they must have liked our singing – we had the musical ‘Half A Sixpence’ playing at the time followed by ‘Grease’, Stockard Channing eat your heart out, we were such a merry pair.

Half way along our passage took us into a channel between Islay and Jura. Passing by Glas Bheinn standing at an impressive 562m 1844ft., Talavera reached 11.6 kts SOG, we could hear the water literally fizzing, the sea state was very disturbed. All along the coastlines of both islands were secluded beaches with not a soul on them.

Port Askaig lifeboat was stationed close to the Caolila Distillery then about one mile apart we saw the Ardnahoe and Bunnahabhain Distillieries. What a pity Covid-19 has prevented a few tasting sessions.

We reached the anchorage at Loch Talbert with much excitement, there sitting proudly on a rock was a Golden Eagle! It was then we vowed to look out for a decent second hand camera with reasonable zoom lense, as we only have iPhones to take pictures on this trip.

Photography is not our big thing but wished at that moment it was.

In the evening we rowed ashore….. Was this a big mistake?…… or was it an experience?…. Whatever it was we discovered why the beaches were totally abandoned. Rowing ashore was no problem, pulling the dinghy over the lovely hard sand was no problem. Then it dawned on us ,,,, first the stinging sensation and then the biting began, followed by swarms of what can only be described as a vicious attack from flying talcum powder sized demons, with their larger friends resembling flying ants standing by to home in and take good sized chunk out of us.

What looked like grass gave way to peat bog and the bracken just came alive with insects which we didn’t hang around to identify. We legged it back to the sand in peels of laughter, we were covered in these horrible insects but in such a fit of giggles we both grabbed the oars and were rowing like crazy going nowhere as still aground. Row did the honourable thing and rolled up her trousers and took to paddling to get the dinghy away from the shore, but then wasn’t too keen to get into the dinghy as a cloud of midges were swarming around Tim. This coupled with her desire to get a photo of the nearest thing to a sunset delayed our return to our safe haven.

We eventually got our act together, rowed back to the boat, then put the insect screens in place (tailored made for the windows by Row – design readily available on YouTube), and contemplated the pleasures of wearing scratchy tweed!

What a brilliant day, we’re just loving this adventure.

Published by Sailing with the Ship’s Cat

Tim & Rowena Heale sail on Talavera a Hallberg Rassy 36 mk2 and this summer 2018 they plan to sail from Gosport to the Baltic, follow their journey as they travel north.

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