Launch preparations this year were rather relaxing as there were no major projects or unexpected jobs. Typically the rain held off until it was time to move out of the shed when the day started with light drizzle and progressed through heavy rain to continuous downpour. It was a good test of the newly waterproofed oiles as attaching sails, rinsing and filling water tanks, testing the engine and washing the decks are all jobs that need to be done outside. But we were staying in our favourite B&B in the area, who are well set up for damp guests as they also run a sea kayaking business. They have a bright conservatory that looks out towards the Connel bridge and the Falls of Lora at the entrance to Loch Etive. Here afternoon tea and home made cake is provided, and there are binoculars and a telescope for watching the birds. If there are no rarities in sight, then there are always herons hunting around the bridge footings to provide an hour or two of entertainment.
Launch day was a decidedly blustery day with heavy showers, so we only went a few miles, anchoring east of the tidal island of Eriska near the entrance to Loch Creran. On our test run we found the radar was not working and the seal of the gland for the mast electrical cables through the deck was slightly leaking water, so we stopped an extra day in the anchorage and, between the showers, did some running repairs. The image below is the view from our cockpit looking north east from the anchorage, with the squally showers much in evidence.
With severe gales forecast we made a run for Tobermory on the island of Mull where we will stay until the worst has blown through. It is the sort of conditions where a Vancouver would thrive, but we have not yet got our sea legs, so although the boat could handle it, we could not. So we shall do some walking and listen to the cricket instead. At least with the heavy rain accompanying the gales the waterfalls in Aros park are spectacular (right). One of the definite things on the agenda is a visit to the fish and chip van on the pier, these are the best in the region in our opinion as the fish is landed at the pier and goes straight into the deep fat frier. It is where the gulls (left) hang out hoping for scraps.