Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Aleria's Jaunt to Scotland: 15 July 2013, The Gulf of Corryvreckan & Pig Bay, Jura, Scotland

The Race, whirlpools, swell and ticks…dangers all around.

Gulf of Corryvreckan between Scarba and Jura

Water boiling and whirlpools
at slack water
Aleria was among the first group of five boats to pass through the Corryvreckan and, even at slack water, the water was still boiling all around us as we passed through under power at almost 10 knots. Our speed through the water was only 5.8 knots as we raced over a 224 foot deep chasm that would soon shallow out abruptly. We were being set quite substantially.

We anchored in hard sand and weed in gorgeous Pig Bay (Bagh Gleann nam Much) just on the inside of the top of Jura with the Race's waters rushing past the opening to the Bay while inside it was calm and secure.  The Race extends out quite a distance, which is called an overfall here in Scotland. Luckily, there wasn't much wind, only about 10 knots, because when wind opposes tide, it can get very nasty, with standing waves and square chop intertwined. 
9.8 kts SOG with 5.8 kts STW


The nice thing about sailing with such experienced people is that you can trust their judgement. All have completed at least a 1000 mile offshore passage in a boat of less than 70 feet.  Most have many thousands of miles beneath their keels.  Just watching everyone come in and anchor was such a pleasure. You could see everyone preparing, thinking through, and choosing exactly the right spot for their boat relative to others.  It was a joy to experience.  Mind you it took us two attempts to anchor here as in the first attempt, the anchor dropped into an uncharted hole and took all of our chain rode straight down! It was the first time we had actually gotten to the end of our rode. Luckily we had followed our own advice and had the rode secured to the bulkhead! The second attempt was actually a two and half, as the first spot had too much weed so we just lifted and drifted until we were over a more weedless environment.  We’re sure everyone was watching; but we were comfortable in the knowledge that we did not succumb until our boat was securely anchored. 
Pig Bay opens up from the Gulf

Onyx supervising the anchoring
maneuver
It was a beautiful morning, so Alex and I took the dinghy ashore and went for a hike to search for the lookout point from which you can see to the other side and watch the Race at its height from a secure vantage point. We never did find that spot, but had a lovely picnic at the very top of the steep hills overlooking the harbour and all the boats anchored below. Beautiful.

The crew of Calypso building
sand castles
We met Tim and Sophie off the lovely Bowman 46 Calypso playing with their children on the made-for-kids beach.  OCC members too, they were locals from Loch Craignish on holiday here by chance. We introduced them to Simon and Sally on Shimshal when they came in.

Although we knew there were ticks on Jura because of the deer population, and we had taken precautions (long sleeved shirts and long trousers, socks and hiking boots, all sprayed with 50% deet) we came back to the boat crawling with hundreds of ticks. We spent the next several hours grooming each other to get to the ticks before they got to us. Ich! Creepy. Crawly. 

Rain greets the second half of the fleet
The second fleet came through unscathed on the afternoon tide.  Bill told us later that he was nervous anchoring knowing that the “experts” were in the harbour, citing our book "Happy Hooking".  Everyone found a suitable spot expertly and all boats stayed put for the duration.
Pleasure coming through gives
a sense of the scale

Some crew managed to get ashore for a walk. Others just relaxed onboard as the wind shifted and a light rain started to fall, the first in many days. A planned get together aboard Pleasure was postponed. A gentle swell entering the harbour made for an unpleasant night for some of the smaller boats, while we slept peacefully as usual. 

It would be a relatively early morning again the next day to catch the slack water coming out of Pig Bay. 

We took the opportunity to hike up the hill in sunshine.

Climbing through bracken taller than me

The magnificent view of Pig Bay from the top

Venus Fly Trap in the wild

Alex unknowingly being infested with ticks during lunch
Two OCC vessels in this beautiful anchorage

2 comments:

  1. I think we were all a bit nervous about anchoring within the view of Aleria - Good to know we passed the test!

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  2. One of the greatest place to be is at Scotland. Corryvreckan cruises is one of the most awesome unique cruise experience that I had.

    ReplyDelete