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0009 - Balnakeil Bay to Kinlochbervie

After spending two days on anchor in complete tranquil bliss we were ready to move on again - I say we were ready - but supplies were needed to keep the crew complaints to a minimum, kitty moral is very important to the Captain. They come first. Always.

Before setting off we prepared the mainsail with a double reef in case we encountered high winds around Cape Wrath - and we did this before leaving because as a solo-sailor it can be very difficult to reef the sails once you get out into the conditions that would require a reef to be put in - we're taking no chances on a Cape called Wrath.

As our target looms in the distance you can just make out the lighthouse that marks the Cape - from this distance, it looks very spooky and ominous!

We left Balnakeil Bay about 2pm anticipating that we would be passing Cape Wrath during a slack tide so as not to be fighting the current as well as any possible high winds. As we left the Bay the winds were actually very light - barely passing 8 kts but as we hit open ocean the winds dropped to a mere 2kts, we kept the sail up on the whim that we might catch some wind - but it was not to be.

About an hour into the trip - there was still no wind and the sea-state was calming as the tides were approaching their weakest - this was all looking very good for us.

Along the way there was some eerie but also quite enchanting landscapes, I am really starting to love the way the scenery is changing - the direction and pattern of change is quite fascinating - having only traveled a few miles the change is quite striking.

Rounding the cape and in almost perfect conditions, we are relieved that our preparations were not necessary and the Cape would spare us its Wrath. The high winds and riptides we had anticipated were entirely absent. "Strong winds can be a feature of weather conditions at the cape, with gusts of 140 mph (230 km/h) recorded"- Wikipedia

Just off the Cape there is also a rock that is fully submerged at high-water, as we passed at low-water were able to see this notorious ship-killer. We put just over a mile between ourselves and this rock - again, not taking any chances.

Passing the Cape in perfect conditions was a real treat, and were able to enjoy the trip and appreciate the mercy bestowed upon us by these conditions - we feel very blessed.

There is also a huge stone spike that I believe is called Stac Clò Kearvaig as mentioned on the wikipedia page.....but don't ask me how to pronounce it.

After rounding the Cape it was all just a bit normal after that, and wind still never came, and we motored down the coast at about 4kts, just taking our time to watch the low-lying mountains slowly come into view.

The weather was really getting quite warm, and we were now totally out of water... Luckily on this leg of the journey - we were close behind a friend of ours who was going further South than we were - He was kind enough to wait for us and supply us with a litre of fresh drinking water - I've told you, this guy is an inspiration! A legend among men!

After that little manoeuvre, we carried on South to a little place we knew had a shop and a pontoon - But, we had to quick as the shop shuts in a few hours and if I missed that shop - I wouldn't hear the end of it from the crew. The only problem is that the place is located up a narrow waterway and well, I guess I wasn't sure what to expect.

An hour later we arrived at the entrance to Kinlochbervie. There is just something about this terrain that kinda keeps you on your toes, staring at the depth gauge and the plotter trying to keep to the deepest parts because it just seems that at any moment you're going to hit something only the locals know to avoid...a totally irrational fear, but in the moment - it feels very real.

Going through this place was a new experience - Steep sharp rocks on both sides but all the way in we had plenty of depth and the channel was well-marked and was nothing to worry about....the water was calm and...but something was waiting for us on the Kinlochbervie pontoon we hadn't thought about - or prepared for...Midgies!

The legendary Scottish Mosquito - huge clouds of them - and they were hungry. At first, I didn't notice them, after getting tied up I made my way to the shop to get some supplies, I got to the shop with 15mins to spare! We met a charming lady in the shop who was very helpful as was able to sell me a facemask as I had forgotten mine, and I was then able to get my supplies - upon my return, I started to itch.

Once back to the boat I let the crew have a walkabout, so they could scope out the new berth for this evening.

The itching continued, then the scratching began - I began to notice the little bugs everywhere - even the crew were under attack - before long there were clouds of them descending from the hills - Playtime is over! - everyone took refuge inside the yacht and the hatches were firmly battened - this was no fun - damn bugs. It was an all-out assault! I guess with Covid-19 keeping everyone home the little bugs must be absolutely starving - and we were naive defenseless fresh meat.

Nothing wrong with the place or the people, it was quite a serene little place - but the crew and I collectively HATE midgies! I don't think it's like that all the time - but good god man, they were everywhere - coming through the vents and everything.

I have now, literally, lost count of how many bites I have - we will be leaving first thing in the morning....without fail...rain or shine we are out of here!


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