Monday, 24 July 2017

Jura Circumnavigation Day 2 - Crossing the Sound of Jura

Lying in my sleeping bag, it's the end of July but it's cold this far north as the rising sun lights up the clear sky rousing me early from my slumber.  I manage to catch a few more minutes before Simons alarm sounds a few feet away, it's 0430am.  Four hours ago we were solving the worlds problems with a few beers on the beach...I should have gone to bed early.

Breaking out of the fly sheet the cold air awakens my senses.  The waters velvet smooth apart from a bit of movement on a bed of seaweed close to shore.  A seagull stands patiently next to it..wait is that an otter.  My eyes haven't yet adjusted to the morning twilight.  I scramble for my camera, where is it??? my boats all packed up.  Stumbling down to the beach we notice there's another, maybe 20ft away, possible a youngster.  It's happily chewing on a jellyfish and not at all bothered by our presence.  Well this doesn't happen very often so I see how close I can get...  
    
Already I'm regretting not packing my SLR camera.  It sits there a while searching between the rocks before scurrying off into the undergrowth.  What a great start to the day. 
Time to get a shift on.  I shovel down the first of my rations, pre-packed porridge a handful of raisins and a coffee to wash it down and begin packing away the tent.  Seal the hatches, don my wet gear and I'm ready to go.  Just past 6am, spot on timing.  Lowing the boat onto the water, I'm not even sure if this things going to float with the weight on it.
Final picture, Jura here we come.
The flow on the sound of Jura flows at about 3.5 knots at springs (it was springs) and according to our calculations the ebb flow should have kicked off about an hour ago.
Out on the sound the water was glassy smooth, it doesn't get any better than this.
In all honestly we didn't really know exactly where we would end up or what our exact heading was.  Our aim was to simply make it across to Jura on a rough WSW heading, hopefully somewhere near Tarbert Bay, a small inlet on the far side. Martin was in control of our GPS, I believe we averaging about 10km per hr with very, very little effort.  We were enjoying the conditions, hoping for some disturbance in the silky water signaling a pod of cetaceans of some sort or another.

As we approached the shore there was a stiff breeze blowing over the Isle.  We had arrived at Tarbert Bay in about 2 hours and were looking for somewhere out of the wind to take our first break on the Isle of Jura.
We lazed in the sun for a while, there was no rush.  This was important for me.  I have done my 24 circumnavigations and long open crossings.  This was about exploring the island in its every detail, relaxing and enjoying the company I was with.  We were well aware the forecast for Wednesday (today was Monday) was likely going to mean a day spent ashore.  At the last check Thursday and Friday were also looking like a no-go but that was changing all the time.  For now we would stick with the plan and continue on to Craighouse, home of the Jura Distillery...

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