Its strange cruising back through the Bay of Biscay, with its heavy seas and biting rain. Myself and the crew of Lord Jim have bright hearts and are expectant as our course was set for Scotland. At time of writing (and being a Scot) I am ashamed to say that in those days back in 2012, we all knew Scotland but surprisingly we have never “sailed” Scotland.
We had all heard about those pristine white Caribbean style beaches with turquoise blue waters and a ruggedness to match but surely that was just PR wasn’t it? As each mile went by and the seas started to calm we knew that our yacht Lord Jim was as eager as we were to cover the miles and arrive at our destination in Oban.
Strange how Lord Jim (like many other boats) has a spiritual value, almost a presence, one which our guests have since commented on as they have enjoyed the beauty of sailing aboard this most majestic of yachts. Difficult to imagine then the culmination of four circumnavigations for her by tender age of 36 and yet her lines and beauty still shine through as we cruise north to our new adventure playground in Scotland.
During this long voyage we take time to prepare the dive gear, recalling stories of our childhood heroes such as Jacques Cousteau and other such great adventurers, imagining what it would be like when we dive on the abundance of beautiful wrecks and (as we were told) some of the finest soft corals found anywhere in the world. Yes I said soft corals, white sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters and anchorages to die for and all on the west coast of Scotland. Our impatience was becoming unbearable!
During our many worldwide voyages, including cruising The Canary Islands and sailing in the beautiful Cape Verde Islands, the underwater sea life in those sub-tropical islands was a magnet for cruising yachts similar to Lord Jim. They provided our guests with the opportunity of diving with the many species of whales and dolphins, itself a magical experience. However Scotland would be different….or would it? Only a few days to go and we could feel Jim starting to stretch her pace, like a comfortable racing greyhound that knew the last couple of laps were to be her crowning glory and we the crew, wild with anticipation and expectation, kept on preparing the sea kayaks, wind surfers, ski boat, wakeboard and of course the obligatory “Ringo”…the one that we had so much fun with in The Canary Islands and Cape Verde Islands, where the tipping over of our guests into the warm blue waters was in fact a relief to them, as opposed to a penance.
With the thought of great laughter still ringing in our ears we all wondered how our guests would enjoy the similar experience in the rather colder, but equally turquoise blue waters off the west coast of Scotland.
Polished and prepared, our expectation and impatience was now a thing of the past. We had arrived and like children at Christmas time in a privileged household, we were beside ourselves knowing what to visit first and which toy to play with, all of course, as you will understand, under the auspice of playing with the guests toys. We were fortunate as we cruised for the first few weeks around the beautiful islands of Skye, Rum, Eigg and Canna, before heading to the magical beaches on the Outer Hebrides and of course Harris. Onto then to St Kilda out in the Atlantic, knowing very well that our guests would want and expect us to guide them to these most magical of places before returning towards Mull and the Island of Iona, recharging our spiritual selves.
As we cruised and sailed down the sound of Mull, you could be forgiven for believing that the crew (from the chef through to the stewardess, the engineer and myself as the Captain) had all turned into Cheshire cats. Something magical had truly happened….we had arrived! Having travelled the world and experienced some of the most beautiful sights, it was hard for us not to place the West coast of Scotland and the sailing opportunity an equal experience to that of the Caribbean, Canary Islands, Cape Verde and even our trip down through the south pacific, to New Zealand. Yes all these experiences were different, magical and beautiful, yet our sailing and cruising on Lord Jim around the West coast of Scotland islands (with all its magic and majesty) was our new found playground and one where we could royally entertain our guests, both visually and spiritually, with the added bonus of an abundance of wildlife both above and below the waters.
I now understand why, at the end of marketing materials for Scotland, they always refer to “Haste ye back”. In our case Lord Jim is back and to be honest with you, apart from visiting warmer climes, such as the Canaries and The Cape Verde Islands during winter, we will be most happy with our lot.
Come and join us.