|The Treshnish Isles, where nature abounds|
Nature and human nature
|An adorable puffin on Lunga|
|Strangely shaped islets|
|Sails up but not full in glass calm|
Meteorological situation: a high of 1030 mb has settled over Europe.
Forecast for 24 hours. Winds variable E-NE Force 2-3, seas smooth, conditions fair, visibility moderate to good, poor in fog patches, risk of thundery showers, temperature reaching a high of 22-24 degrees C.
Forecast for the following 24 hours. Winds variable, E-SE Force 3-4, seas smooth, conditions fair, visibility moderate to good, poor in fog patches, risk of thundery showers.
Longer term forecast: Winds variable NE to SW, Force 2-3, sometimes 4, seas smooth, conditions fair, visibility moderate to good, poor in fog patches, risk of thundery showers.
We could stop writing the forecast down, it was always the same. Felt more like Long Island Sound than Scotland! We were as tan as we had been in the Caribbean.
|Seals conversing on the rocks behind|
In the morning, we pressed on to the Treshnish Isles, a strangely shaped group of islets that form a string extending out from the mainland just 5 miles away from where we were. Aside from their bizarre shapes, these islands are home to some of the most extraordinary and endangered sea birds in the world. Among the most numbered inhabitants are the adorable little puffins which seem almost tame here. We anchored in the little harbour of the largest island, Lunga, which is only viable as an anchorage in settled weather, and watched the puffins cavorting all around us while we prepared lunch. We had no idea they were so tiny. I had always thought of them as being as large as parrots.
|Colourful Tobermory, lively "fishing" village|
Curiously we also heard seals calling to one another in conversation. It’s something neither one of us had heard before. We’ve heard barking, but never this wailing discussion the seals on the outer rocks conducted. As the tide rose and the rocks went under water, the seals put their discussions on hold till the next change of tide.
|Moorings in 90 foot deep waters|
It was a very calm day and we decided to motor over to Tobermory, one of the few stops we’d be making where there was actually a town on the harbour. We were doing over 9 knots with the current and made the 16 mile trip in under two hours, only to see TWO cruise ships anchored in the harbour. Double horrors! One was a smaller French ship about 400 feet in length, the other was a 750+ foot monster. We could tell from the AIS, which gives us all kinds of information about commercial vessels. Luckily the big one was pulling people off the island and scheduled to depart by 6 pm. The smaller one had just arrived but was leaving by 8 pm.
|The harbour at sunset|
Normally we like to anchor, but in this anchorage, the shallowest spots are 90 feet deep. As we have about 200 feet of chain, we’d have to extend that with rope by a lot to get enough scope. And as the designated anchorage was full of moorings, we opted to take a mooring for the first time. It was a bit undersized for us but the only big boat mooring was already occupied by a 60 foot Hinckley. As there was no wind and it was forecast to remain that way, we thought we’d be fine on the smaller mooring. They were spaced far enough apart.
|Local Isle of Mull microbrew, |
Red Monk of Iona amber ale
|The Mishnish pub, where the locals|
hang out, very friendly and has wifi!
|Ironmonger off license|
|and musical instruments shoppe|
|View from Cafe Fish|
|Squat lobster and langoustines |
at Cafe Fish
|The Main Street|
We quickly went ashore to find out the lay of the land. The shops were jammed with cruise ship tourists. There is a whisky distillery right in town so we made a beeline there to resupply. The shops normally close at 6 pm on a Saturday, but with the cruise ship in, many were staying open later. We walked all the way to the end of the town where the ferry pier is. Then stopped for a pint of local brew at the pub called the Mishnish, a nice little Victorian pub. It’s where all the locals and the occasional tourist hang out. They have wifi, so we pulled out our laptops as they pulled us a couple of pints. It was much more comfortable than the marina office.
|Lobster at Cafe Fish|
Tobermory was designed in the late 1800s to be an iconic fishing village. Today, its brightly painted harbour front shops and homes invite tourists from all over. They have some of everything: many restaurants, a ferry, a co-op supermarket that is exceptionally well stocked, an off license iron monger that also sells musical instruments, cafes, a bakery, a bank, craft and gift shoppes, and a petrol station. We decided to spend a second night. We had dinner at the delightful Cafe Fish, where we sampled the perfectly cooked langoustines, lobster, and squat lobster - which we had never heard of. Absolutely delicious. The place deserves its reputation as the best restaurant in Tobermory and all of Scotland. Reservations are a must there.
|Cafe Fish, exceptional restaurant|
Sundays, shoppes open only from 11 to 3. We managed to get wifi onboard and finally downloaded email – no password needed. By the time we got into town, all the bread was sold out and it looked like the shops had been ransacked. We bought what we needed, had a big lunch at the pub next to the marina and took a long walk up and over and around the inlet and to the waterfalls. It was about 40 minutes each way with beautiful views through woodlands and along streams on one side and the harbour on the other side. Well worth it.
|Services at the marina HQ|
Monday morning, we made sure we got to the bakery as soon as it opened. Bought bread and rolls and had breakfast there. Got some extra cash from the hole in the wall and headed out again.
|Waterfalls on the walk around the harbour|
|Beautiful views over the bay|
|Hey, there's lots of action here.|
|Where should we go next?|
|Moonset, time to go to sleep|