|Summer sunset in Craobh.|
The harbour of Craobh Haven, my friends, is a great place. Situated in a protected bay and secured by piers made of natural stone, it's a joy to enter. You call them at VHF channel 80 and get a berth with complete ”parking directions”. Unlike most of the harbours in Northern Scotland, there is no locked iron grid door at the marina entrance, and no barbed wire in between the boats and the very well-kept facilities, which means that you can come to the marina without visiting the harbour office which makes it easy to skip paying, as many long-haul sailors do. In this harbour however, you would not want to skip paying since they are so kind and helpful that you would probably be reincarnated as a seacockel if you would try.
There is also a very nice bar there, called "Lord Of The Isles", and a few houses, and that's about it. Upon arriving, we met Paul, who has been running the same route as us ever since Loch Oich, so we have been double-stalking each other all the way to down there, and we once again had the privelege of having him over for the supper and some drinks. Hope he got his gear box fixed!
We had less luck with fixes though. Waited for the right tide to give us a nice current, we were all set to go off, but the outboard would not start. At all. Even after applying Easy-start, a spark plug change, a fuel system cleaning, and 5-56 just about everywhere. Luckily, we had great weather, so I could go around and swear in sunshine instead of rain, for once. Paul got me a cup of coffee, which cheered me up and it was time for action. Talked to the harbour office about the problem - and it did not take more than a half a minute to locate John the Mechanic, a local celebrity it seemed, a Viking-like fellow who threw the outbouard on his back like it was a female captive, and briskly proceeded to the cave, I mean the workshop.
The carburator was the problem (damn carburators! Enough already!). He did not work out how to fix it, so I headed for Crinan, determined to get a new carburator or a new outboard engine. Asked a couple of gentlemen on the pontoon whether they had an outboard for sale, just in case, and one of them was going to Crinan so I got a ride there! Dave turned out to be a principle at the Yacht and Sailing school, I got a map and some advise and he had to get back, while the Crinan mechanic still tinkered with my carburator. A plug was missing; he replaced it but did not know if that would do it. Time to get back and try it out, but before that I wanted to visit the second-hand outboard shop in a village nearby, to raise the chances of heading off tomorrow.
There was a decent 6 hp ourboard for 400 pounds, and he'd drive it to Craobh. So, now for heading home. There were no buses since it's summer vacation, and it's a long way to walk, especially with that strong sun. Everyone seems to hitchhike, that's the public transport in Scotland, so after getting that advice a couple of times I went for it.
Unfortunately, there were no cars in my direction for a good while, and those that came later would not stop. I had walked for several hours, in the middle of nowhere, wishing desperately for a shop with some water and lunch, and covered some kilometers, setting sores on my feet. Luckily, later I got two rides in a row delivering me straight to the harbour. The carburator worked. We set off. Finally!
From here, we were going to Port Ellen. Read on!
|Me, inside of the boat, happy about this lovely Craobh place.|