We left Ardfern for Jura and the moorings at Craighouse. The weather was glorious and the wind favourable we tacked our way down the Sound of Jura averaging six and a half knots. We picked up a mooring in the bay directly opposite the hotel and I got the tender and engine ready. I spent about 20 minutes trying to start the outboard but with no success. I changed the spark plug and checked all the bits I could, but it still wouldn’t start. As we were putting the outboard back on the boat, a couple from a neighbouring yacht came alongside and asked if we wanted a lift or a tow, Unfortunately we weren’t ready to leave and told them we would just row and we would meet them in the hotel later. We eventually crossed and at the hotel we ordered dinner. They managed to screw up the order but were very apologetic about it. We got talking to the couple who had offered us a tow, New Zealanders Pete and Nancy, who were coming to the end of their nine year sail around the world. They owned a holiday camp in north Wales and were taking their yacht back there after a whisky tour of Jura and Islay. We sat all night and listened to their fascinating tales of sailing in the Pacific and through The North West Passage – what a great couple.
Thursday 24th we set off south for Islay and after a good sail we arrived at the pontoons at three in the afternoon. The pontoons at Port Ellen were quite exposed to the South West and it was fairly bouncy when we arrived. Islay is a beautiful island, but the same can’t be said about Port Ellen which is very much a working port. The toilet and shower facilities are a bit of a walk from the marina, but they worked and only cost a donation. We visited all the pubs in the town and would recommend The Ardview as the best of the three, The Islay Hotel very much caters for food and the one at the far end the other one, I can’t even remember the name of it was that notable.
A flotilla of boats from Northern Ireland shortly after us and we joined them on a great sail the next morning to Gigha. On leaving Port Ellen we spotted Princess Anne’s yacht “Ballochbuie” passing the Islay ferry. We had seen the boat in Ardfern, her home port, and I had said hello to her and husband as I was making my way to the showers 😀 . It was a great sail to Gigha, the Irish boats were all bigger than Jess but we kept up with them, indeed, we ended up mid field, not that we were competing :-D. We arrived in Gigha and picked up one of the moorings closest to the shore as we were going to have to row! The Gigha Hotel is a short walk from the landing pontoon where we had dinner and drank delicious Loch Nevis beer. We got talking to a couple at the next table who were on holiday in the hotel and came from Midlothian. We spent a great night in their company talking about all things Midlothian!
We had toyed with the idea of anchoring at Tayvallich but decided instead to make straight for Craobh Haven as we would have a favourable tide get past Corryvreckan.
Sound of Jura