Oban to Gigha Island

After completing the three-day passage through the Caledonia Canal, our first port of call was Dunstaffnage Bay, Oban.  While the rain and light winds continued, our spirits were lifted by sharing the ritual of Cocktail Hour with the kids.  We introduced them to cold ginger beer with generous wedges of lime upon arrival in Oban.

Our arrival in Oban was perfectly timed to allow our trusty crew, Rona, to meet up with us.  Rona is joining us onboard Laridae for the first portion of the trip.  She is an experienced sailor (one of the kids sailing instructors at ASYC), amazing with children, and a true pleasure to have join as a member of the family.  She is teaching us something new every day, and hopefully she is receiving a fun experience in return!

With the arrival of Rona, the rain subsided and the sun returned with a perfect beam reach in 10-20 knot winds during the 60 mile passage from Oban to Gigha Island.  We picked up a mooring ball at about 5 PM and immediately launched the dinghy to explore the clear waters and sandy beaches.  Basking in the warm sun, the kids explored the shallows and tide pools until we begrudgingly forced them back into the dinghy to return for dinner and bed.  We had an early morning in front of us for another 70 mile day to Bangor (Northern Ireland) the next morning.

Caledonian Canal: Locks and lochs…

We were all excited to start our journey home by getting to experience the Caledonian Canal one more time.  The canal system is so amazingly run and lovely. Views along the canal are lovely and there are wonderful places to experience and enjoy along the way. The canal system is worth exploring by land or by boat. It is definitely a feat of engineering!

Our first day’s travel brought us to Dochgarroch Lock and day two just though that one lock to the north end of Loch Ness. The kids got to explore a bit by scooter (SO thankful we made room for these!) while we spent a day letting the winds calm a bit on Loch Ness.

The next day wasn’t much calmer, but it had calmed enough to make it worth moving onward. Other than the headwinds and waves, our journey across Loch Ness was slowed down a bit by the fact that we wanted to take some CTD samples in a transect across the lake!  Science was a well-covered topic that day for the kids homeschooling!

After crossing Loch Ness and possibly seeing Nessie on our depth sounder (Dorian is STILL convinced!), we made it up the set of 4 locks in Fort Augustus and then moved to stay near the one playpark we know of on the canal for the night.

We then made our way out of the canal system, making sure to get in one more set of CTD casts as we went through the lochs.

As we made our way into the final sea lock at Corpach, we were reminded that the Caledonia Canal is ‘sisters’ with the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada.  The flags above Angela (photo below) clearly show our voyage route from Scotland to Canada.

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The Caledonia Canals is “sisters” with the Rideau Canada in Canada.

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Descending into the final sea lock to rejoin the salt water at Corpach, Scotland.