St Kilda last week

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mm5aho
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St Kilda last week

Postby mm5aho » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:34 am

Tne sound advice about Sound of Harris recently was put to good use and the weather was kind enough to allow a trip to St Kilda as hoped. In fact it was a little too kind, with not quite enough wind.

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Dunstaffnage at 0600, sunrising, but no wind.

Sat 4th: 0600 start from Dunstaffnage, destination Canna. Stopped in Tobermory for a fuel top us having motored all the sound of Mull, and not expecting much wind for the week. Crew decided to add to what was already more food than required. Bad experience at the Tobermory Coop. These people do real damage to tourism. Shouting at people struggling in English to "git the back o' the queue", will not promote the trade. But the bacon and rolls procured did go down a treat as the wind increased to about F2 enabling sailing and whale watching (Minke off Ardnamurchan, harbour porpoises bit further on). Overnight in Canna harbour, one I've always seen as a really good sheltered anchorage, even if the fishing boats can be noisy. (this time they were not bad).


Sun 5th: another earlish start for Sound of Harris. No shortage of wind, and dipped the rail much of the way. An uncomfortable beat across the sea of the hebridies, hitting Benbecula, and motoring a few miles north towards Renish Point and turn west into sound. Sailed through in more sheltered conditions, to find Taransay and anchor there for night.

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Leaving Taransay.

Mon 6th: 0600 start again for St Kilda. Poor visibility.
First sight of Boreray confirmed that I was right to stick to my course when two incidents caused doubt. One boat sighted behind us, but having come from further north, perhaps round north of Lewis?, but not on a converging course, rather an intersecting one. By my reckoning they would pass south of but in sight of St Kilda.
Another, approached from somewhere more south (Barra?) to pass north of St Kilda. Until we'd sighted Boreray, these two yachts had me scratching my head wondering what the chances were of two boats heading for north america using St Kilda as a waypoint?

Here's one passing north.
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Boreray came into view at about 6-7 miles only, and we were on course.
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Not betting on weather improving, we took some time en-route to explore round BOreray and the nearby Stac An Armin and Stac Lee before heading to Village Bay. As it turned out the next day was even better, so we went back.

Village bay for anchoring overnight.
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Tues 7th.
0600 woken by a rumble of sizeable diesel. That can't be the two dive boats that had anchored there too, must be bigger.
This evil apparition appeared out of the gloom

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I'd forgotten the advice not to come on a Tuesday, and its Clapham Junction that day. Landing craft bringing a sewage tanker (to clean the septic tank), a container of supplies etc, and three helicopter flights for crew change (SNH and Qinetic), and 3 chartercraft with foot passengers to explore.

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Getting the tanker off the landing craft was an exercise, supervised by no less than three watching for escaping rats. I learned that to watch for rats its necessary to wear high viz jackets and hard hats.

We had to explore about of course, so spent all morning wandering about.
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And wandering (struggling) up the hill.
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Our mobile home seemed so small from this high.

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But the view was worth it.

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That afternoon we sailed out to circumnavigate Hirta, and visit Boreray and stacs again.
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Wed 8th.
Early start again intending for Barra. No wind, so we motored 77 miles, and through sound of Barra.
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Shepherded by 12 bottlenose dolphins.

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And into Castlebay for the night. Bought only 20 litres of diesel considering the price!

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There were others there too.

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One of our crew needed to be back Friday, so we pushed on...

Thurs 9th:
Barra to Tobermory. Just enough wind to sail, but some motoring too when wind lacked.
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Basking sharks about 3 miles from Cairns of Coll.

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and plenty of traffic...

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But no fishing luck for the crew.

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Sound of Mull was a millpond.


Friday 10th.
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Back to Dunstaffnage

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That evening's sunset.

There's more pix here if interested.
http://s248.photobucket.com/albums/gg17 ... 1QQtppZZ24
Geoff.
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aquaplane
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Re: St Kilda last week

Postby aquaplane » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:58 am

Thanks for sharing, it looks like it was a good trip.
Seminole.
Cheers Bob.

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Nick
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Re: St Kilda last week

Postby Nick » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:33 am

.
Thanks for that - looks liek a good trip.
- Nick 8)

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ash
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Re: St Kilda last week

Postby ash » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:24 am

Sounds like a great trip. Well done. 77 miles under engine would have been a long day.

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Telo
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Re: St Kilda last week

Postby Telo » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:17 am

Great write-up and pictures. Thanks.

It's on the list. Next year, perhaps.........

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Fingal
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Re: St Kilda last week

Postby Fingal » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:51 am

Great pictures, thanks. I'm intrigued by the choice of route. Starting from Oban I would have thought out by the Sound of Barra and back by Sound of Harris would make more sense, other things being equal?
Ken
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mm5aho
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Re: St Kilda last week

Postby mm5aho » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:20 pm

Shard,

While waiting for my wife to arrive on the train in Oban, I spent a few hours mucking about in Firth of Lorn, and encountered a boat named Shard. Is that you?

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The wind was all over the place, and we both ended up following a parallel erratic course heading towards Port Appin. Next day I went there (Port Appin) and anchored for lunch, and noticed Shard on a mooring.


Ken:
Route. Contender had done this trip 20 years ago to the day, and one of the crew had been on the boat on that previous trip, so we wanted to replicate it largely. The previous trip had been back through Harris and round Skye, but taking 2 weeks, whereas we had only a week.
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DaveS
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Re: St Kilda last week

Postby DaveS » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:55 pm

Shard wrote:Great write-up and pictures. Thanks.

It's on the list. Next year, perhaps.........


I've now been saying that for more years than I care to remember! One day...
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Telo
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Re: St Kilda last week

Postby Telo » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:19 pm

mm5aho wrote:Shard,

While waiting for my wife to arrive on the train in Oban, I spent a few hours mucking about in Firth of Lorn, and encountered a boat named Shard. Is that you?

Image

The wind was all over the place, and we both ended up following a parallel erratic course heading towards Port Appin. Next day I went there (Port Appin) and anchored for lunch, and noticed Shard on a mooring.



That's us; looks like my son on the tiller, so must have been Saturday last week. We'd anchored the previous night at Duart Bay but left early in the morning after the wind finally swung to the northeast - I say "finally" as the forecasted E/NE winds took nearly a fortnight to materialise (we'd been up around Lochs Hourn and Ailort). In fact, until that morning, if the forecast said E/NE you could usually assume it would blow anywhere between S and NW. Quite extraordinary; the higher clouds, such as they were, were blowing as forecast, but the surface winds were almost invariably in the opposite direction.

Yes, the winds were fickle to say least on Saturday - took us several hours to sail from Duart Bay to Airds Bay at Appin (motored the last bit) where we anchored overnight, continuing up to our mooring at Dallens Bay on Sunday. Give us a shout next time.

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Clyde_Wanderer
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Re: St Kilda last week

Postby Clyde_Wanderer » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:39 pm

Great pics.
Must be some satisfaction landing at St Kilda, one of the things on my bucket list.
Lovely shape of boat you have.
C_W

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Re: St Kilda last week

Postby Clyde_Wanderer » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:44 pm

mm5aho wrote:Shard,

While waiting for my wife to arrive on the train in Oban, I spent a few hours mucking about in Firth of Lorn, and encountered a boat named Shard. Is that you?

Image

The wind was all over the place, and we both ended up following a parallel erratic course heading towards Port Appin. Next day I went there (Port Appin) and anchored for lunch, and noticed Shard on a mooring.


Ken:
Route. Contender had done this trip 20 years ago to the day, and one of the crew had been on the boat on that previous trip, so we wanted to replicate it largely. The previous trip had been back through Harris and round Skye, but taking 2 weeks, whereas we had only a week.


Yes that is the Shard, confirmed by the height of the boom, obviously set for the skipper!
C_W

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BlowingOldBoots
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Re: St Kilda last week

Postby BlowingOldBoots » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:12 pm

Thanks for the write up and sharing the pictures. It brings back a lot of memories as I sailed out in the late 80s a few times. Now that my son is getting older, being the 1st Mate, I am hoping to retrace some of these voyages.

Regards,

BlowingOldBoots
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Nick
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Re: St Kilda last week

Postby Nick » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:49 pm

Green Boat wrote:Great pictures, thanks. I'm intrigued by the choice of route. Starting from Oban I would have thought out by the Sound of Barra and back by Sound of Harris would make more sense, other things being equal?


Why?
- Nick 8)

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Nick
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Re: St Kilda last week

Postby Nick » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:49 pm

Clyde_Wanderer wrote:Great pics.
Must be some satisfaction landing at St Kilda, one of the things on my bucket list.
Lovely shape of boat you have.
C_W


Eamonn, surely you are too young to have a bucket list?
- Nick 8)

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Fingal
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Re: St Kilda last week

Postby Fingal » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:34 pm

Nick wrote:
Green Boat wrote:Great pictures, thanks. I'm intrigued by the choice of route. Starting from Oban I would have thought out by the Sound of Barra and back by Sound of Harris would make more sense, other things being equal?


Why?

Well if you care to look at a small scale chart you will see that the rhumb line between Oban and St Kilda passes more or less through the Sound of Barra. It's about 30 miles farther via the Sound of Harris. Not that shorter is necessarily better of course but if the objective is to visit St Kilda the shortest route would be a good start.

The question seems to imply that you might have a different view? Care to share?
Cheers
Ken
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