After a winter where extensive work was carried out on WAVERLEY’s main engine, and having proven her over a trouble free dry-docking and the Clyde weekend, we set out on our annual sojurn to the Western Isles.
The lack of a berth at Campbeltown put paid to our traditional half way house so instead we made calls at Lochranza and Port Ellen on our way to Oban. The tides on the way round meant an early arrival at Port Ellen where we were able to berth on the round-head of the new pier. Knowing that the tides between there and Oban would not be so favourable helped us decide to leave early to give us a fighting chance of an on-time arrival at Oban…which we duly achieved.
The weather settled into a pattern of good “ship weather” but barely acceptable “passenger weather” i.e. No wind but no sun either! All of our sailings went according to schedule with only a slight delay at Gairloch due to very low tide and then sadly no landing at Iona due to a swell in the Sound. Although WAVERLEY anchored quite happily the Boatman was not happy lying alongside the larger ship or making the passenger transfer….we will always bow to his years of experience as operator of passenger launches. A
sea state which causes WAVERLEY almost no trouble can look very different from a small launch!
Our last night in Oban was never going to be possible as LORD of the GLENS had beaten us to the punchline when it came to booking the berth but they very kindly vacated to allow us to discharge passengers and garbage while taking on fresh water, we then anchoed for the night off Craignure in the company of HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS. LORD of the GLENS again pulled off the berth to let us embark passengers for our run back to the Clyde which saw perhaps the nicest weather of the whole period… the evening sun in the Kilbrannan Sound providing a very nice end to the trip.
All in all a very enjoyable Western Isles trip with decent passenger numbers and congratulations due to the Company’s Management and Ship’s Catering Staff who all worked very hard to develop and impliment the changes to the Catering offer onboard. It was also nice to see the new range of logo’d clothing selling like hot cakes from the Souvenir Shop!
Captain Andy O’Brian,