Fog, anchoring, charging and the big screw-up

As we continued down the Sound of Jura, the fog started to descend, so much so that I could not distinguish between the sea and the sky. The biggest problem was that the land was obscured too, but according to the ranging rings, the shore that I could see was 1 nautical mile away, so enough for us to see a problem ahead. Beverley got really into the fog situation and started to blow her own horn, but of course the saying is blow your own trumpet. I have since learnt that it could of been toot your own horn, so from now on that is the phrase I will use as there are simply no trumpets on Salty Lass.

Once we had navigated through the rocks at the bottom of Loch Sween we motored up Loch Sween to the Fairy Isles and into clearer horizons. We were looking forward to anchoring in the Fairy Isles because we had received a lot of good reports from a variety of people, it certainly was well protected with tree covered hills to brake the wind and small islands to break the sea state. From our point of view however it felt tight. We carry 50m of chain so ideally we need a minimum of 100m between the 2m contour, and the Fairy Isles felt tighter than that. I have since measured the distance and the Fairy Isles meets our requirement however as Beverley and I are still struggling to gauge distances, I think for now we prefer more space around us, until we really understand our capabilities as far as anchoring is concerned.

We discussed the passage down and Beverley explained that in a fog situation then she relied on her instruments more. Making sure that way points were put into the chart plotter, steering aliong a contour line so that you can check the depth and using bearings whenever possible. For me I was just freaked because I know how easy it is to miss something of vital importance and I have learnt to use the instruments as the backup and make sure that I was centred in reality, whereas in this situation reality was messing around with my senses and I was totally reliant on instruments and as I could not see those, I had nothing while at least Beverley had the instruments.

The next day it was rather overcast so I sat and did Sudoku puzzles, in fact I finally finished a Sudoku book, I have had the book for at least a year and a half so it was about time that I completed it. Next I will be doing crosswords, happy days.

Seeing as it was so overcast we decided that we would run the engine for some time. The solar panels do a great job keeping our batteries fully charged, but at some point or other, they just can't hack it. So we did what every other boat owner does and that is run the engine, making sure that the engine was running at a charging revs. On Salty Lass, this is a simple operation as we just need to press a button on the throttle, to put the engine into neutral, then move the throttle to a charging speed which on Salty Lass is over 1100 revs. We left the engine running while we got the dinghy sorted so that we could go for an explore. We had got Salty Sausage ready and I was just wanting to put our spare kill cord in Beverley's ruck sack when we realised that it was not aboard. We searched everywhere, then I decided to phone Craobh marina only to find that they had it. We had fair tide at the moment so I had no choice but to lift Salty Sausage and go.

It was yet another motor and I only managed to reach about 7knots as I was not in the acceleration zone, when the fastest part of the tide was running. I was on a really tight schedule and the sun had set by the time I got to Craobh marina. I have to tell you that entering Craobh at night was particularly challenging as the green buoy at the entrance was not lit and there was just the one sectored light at the entrance. On top of that there was all the buoys as you come in. It was a good job that I had a track to follow because I had never come into such a dark marina. The pontoons were barely lit and the best light was next to a pontoon that was lit by a yacht that had their deck light on. In the end I got Beverley to guide me in using instructions because I certainly could not see the pontoon on which I moored.

That night I was just so pleased to of got in that I slept like a log, the bag, extra fuel and everything else could be sorted the next day, when we would be going down the Sound of Jura for the third time in three days.

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