Sunday 22 July 2012

Troon to Campbeltown to Islay

Troon was good but life must go on, so we left at 1000 on Saturday 19th July.
At 1005 the Troon to Somewhere ferry also leaves Troon (going somewhere or other) but we didn’t collide.

Troon is dredged to about 4 metres but we only had 0.0 beneath us near the entrance.

Next stop Campbeltown on Kintyre. 
Saw porpoises on the way; also Guillemots, Shearwaters and BBGs.
We’ve visited before and dropped our anchor on exactly the same spot (just up from the submarine).

The view from our anchorage

Nearby was Yacht “Ithaca”  (again).
Ithaca’s owners plus dog, flubbered out their boat.
Later the dog took them ashore again for a walk.
Later still, they returned.
Next day, the dog was up early. They flubbered ashore, presumably for another walk.

Friday 20th July.
Off to Port Ellen on Islay via the infamous Mull of Kintyre.
We took the “inner passage” through Sanda Sound.
Having calculated this to the nearest five minutes, we were not impressed to see other boats completely ignoring the tidal constraints and sailing through these treacherous waters at the wrong state of the tide and in the wrong direction but without any difficulty.
It did get a bit bumpy on the SW corner of the Mull but nothing too terrible.  (Next time we would go closer inshore and hopefully completely avoid the overfalls.)

It was something of a slog across to Port Ellen on Islay as we wanted to go NW and that was where the wind was coming from.

For some reason, our boat will make 6 knots on port in 12 knots of true wind beating but only 5 knots on starboard.  We are confident that Martin will sort this out for us.
We have also discovered that hoisting the genoa properly (using a winch) makes the sail set much better.

Anyway, we managed to sail, against the wind, for almost all the way to Port Ellen where we arrived in sunshine at 1740 feeling pretty pleased with ourselves.

 Port Ellen (BSA>10) is lovely, and we berthed without trauma.
Saturday 21st July.

We walked to the Laphroaig Distillery and had a guided tour.
Making alcohol taste of burnt peat and oak takes a lot of effort.
The distillery is cleverly camouflaged

It’s all quite interesting really.
Only 85% of the malted grain required to make Laphroaig Whisky is manufactured at the modern chemical plant near the port, the rest comes from the more traditional process still practiced at the old distillery.
Much of the flavour, I understand, comes from the phenols present in the smoke from the peat.  Phenols, as far as I remember, intercalate rather neatly into the helical structure of nucleic acid polymers thus disrupting the coding required for protein synthesis. This makes them, potentially at least, potent carcinogens.

We tasted a couple of drams then we walked home and had a sleep.

Saturday afternoon dawned brightly.
The internet cafĂ© was still shut  (everyone was busy at the highland games up the road) but we remained confident that the weather on Sunday would be terrible.
We had another little walk (past the chemical works) and back along the beautiful white beach.

 The Marina at Port Ellen

The word was now out that tomorrow was going to be windy and our little marina was completely full.  Mainly Swedes and northern Europeans, one French boat and us.
Bradley Wiggins has the yellow jersey.

We decided not to talk on the pontoon about, football, the war or cycling.

We had a nice meal at The Islay Hotel  (Soup, Sea Trout and bottle of sauv blanc) and returned to our boat.

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