If you can imagine the perfect sailing day…we had it. We left Coll at 10am with a north westerly wind. Sailing 60 miles, passing the Treshnish Isles at a good pace. Today was the type of day where the winds complimented our sails, and we were able to enjoy the entire voyage. At one point we had playful (giant) dolphins swimming beside us while we headed south towards the Crinan Canal. If you have ever seen a dolphin…….these beautiful creatures were bigger than that. But alas, they were ordinary dolphins — Not the spotted dolphin that has eluded the Tioga crew for thousands of miles. Yet, we approached the dolphin pod, and got close, closer still, hoping for that spotted dolphin sighting. Yet no joy.
When we arrived at the Gulf of Corryvrechan where depths ranged from 30 feet to 686 feet, we witnessed the standing waves and swirling whirlpools that resembled boiling water. With Linda at the helm, we passed through with ease and awe, as current and wind pushed us out at record speed of 11.6 knots! Needless to say, we cheered on our helmsman to push the speed higher. Relative to ordinary sailboat speeds, Tioga was a rocket sled on rails. At the end of this interesting hot spot, we exited to see 9 sailboats! In the distance, we saw 20 or so more. So in the course of this half hour period, we saw more boats under sail than we did during our 5 day journey from Oban. It was quite nice to see those white triangles in the light of the sun.
Our final destination for today, after a 9 hour sail, is the Crinan Canal. We arrived at 7:01 pm, an hour ahead of estimated schedule!!! Whoop whoop! Unfortunately the canal closed at 6:45pm, contrary to the published 9pm time that was listed in the cruising guide. Hence, here we sit at lock #15 waiting patiently to enter the lock system tomorrow at 8:30 am.
The saying “you are where you are supposed to be” hit home tonight. We enjoyed the company of a cruising Irish couple who had met Tioga in Inverness.