Monday, 19 September 2011

"Pieces of eight!"

Avast behind! This update is being posted on September 19th, which is of course 'international talk like a pirate day' mi'hearties. It also happens to be the day of my birth some 50'odd years ago. So grab yoursel' a tot of rum and raise a toast to seafarers the world over. Arrrrrh!

I mentioned last post that I had anchored in Asgog bay, this is located at the Southern end of Loch Fyne. The bay faces South'ish looking towards the Northern tip of Arran. It is a gorgeous anchorage, but only suitable  for use in settled weather as the holding here is not the best.
On this occasion the weather was kind to me allowing me to stay here for the night. The ships batteries were running a little low just now as 'Otto' had been steering for most of the day and because I have had no access to shore power to keep them topped for a couple of days. The laptop used for blogging and video creation is pretty hungry for power and drains the ships batteries quite quickly, so with no chance of blogging the night away I decided to turn in for an early night. This was about 22.30, (as anyone who knows me will testify this is early for me as I tend to bit of a night owl).
At this point I must tell you that during the whole of my trip I have been a little disappointed with the views of the night sky. I was quite prepared for a lack of stars during the early part of the trip because it was just too light for most of the time. The sun only dropped to a twilight glow rather than the full inky blackness of night this far North. But I did expect to see some spectacular night skies as I progressed down the Western shores. Unfortunately I had not had the opportunity to see one single spectacularly clear night the whole trip, the best I had seen was a few stars peeping out from behind broken cloud.
Around 00.45 I was awoken by the boat having a very agitated motion. I guessed something big was making its way up or down Loch Fyne kicking up a sizable wake in it's track. It was not only the motion that had robbed me of my slumber but it was also accompanied by the sound of the leathered gaff jaws creaking and squeaking against the mast as it swung to and fro. There was no way I was going to get back to sleep until I'd re-tied the boom off to silenced it, so reluctantly I threw off the duvet and slid back the hatch to be greeted by a most fantastic sight. The sky was like a diamond studded velvet cloak with the clear swath of the milky way down the center reaching from horizon to horizon. As my eyes became accustomed to the light I thought I saw stars reflected in the water. I then realised that this was not a reflection, these specks of light had the peculiar green tinge of phosphorescence and actually emanated from the water. I dropped a weighted line over the side of the boat and swished it around to display an explosion of bio-luminescence. It's a shame that my camera is not sensitive enough to capture a record of these sights.
It was almost as if Ruach had woken me up on purpose to see this sight. "Come on David, get up, now, get up, you just gotta get up and see this!"..... and I'm so glad I did.

If you click this chart to zoom in at the white arrows you will see there are two Rubha Dubh's.......
.......but try as I may I couldn't find three men in a tub!

The next morning I made my way the short distance from Asgog to Kames in the West Kyle of Bute, but to extend my sail I went almost all the way across to the Kintyre shore before heading back across and up the Kyle. I spent a night here on one of the moorings provided for patrons of the Kames Hotel before heading just a few more miles further along the West Kyle to Caladh harbour; located where the West and East Kyles meet.
A windless view from Kames looking East along the West Kyle

The Northern entrance to the tiny Caladh harbour

While I was preparing my evening meal I heard the unique slap slap slap sound that emanates from the Paddle Steamer Waverley - The last of a long line of sea-going paddle steamers. I stopped my preparations while I watched her glide majestically past my anchorage as she made her way through the Kyles. (See the video).

Next day I was off down the East Kyle to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. Again, not very far and the little wind there was was on the nose, but as time was my own I tacked my way down the Kyle passed Port Bannatyne and on into the inner harbour at Rothesay.

Rothesay - Looking more Torquay than a Scottish island

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Catch you next time.

David H.