Waves, dolphins and bombs

Leg 8 / Day 2 (Monday)

Courtney says: Despite the crashing waves, heavy wind and freezing water, I feel fine and am enjoying (almost) every minute. Unfortunately, I’ve missed seeing dolphins and the army shooting at us but I did see millions of stars last night and I’m glad I chose to go on the Duet.

Josh L says: Wow! Mad day today. Sea sickness hit us all. With my start of the day hugging the bucket. I could have gone home then and there. But after going above deck, I felt SO much better! As everyone stayed below deck trying to keep their stomach contents, I kept watch above deck rolling around on roller coaster waves. Finally anchored up early hours. The highlight of my day, however, was being shot at by the ministry of defence as we sailed around the coast.

Lauren says: Day 2 was damn rough! I spent most of the day sleeping and throwing up! I haven’t felt so ill in my entire life. But, as we sailed into Dale lake, (I think that’s what it was called…) I recovered enough to have something to eat. Cheese sandwiches. Win! Before going to bed we all went up on deck to finish clearing up and I’m glad I ventured out. The air helped and the night was gorgeous! Stars out above the ocean look prettier than they do at home. J Only downer other than being extremely ill, is I missed seeing the dolphins and the ministry of defence shooting at us! L

Josh S says: started off the day in OxwichBay. Water was fairy calm but I was still sick though. Then we sailed from Oxwich to Milford Haven. After spending two hours on deck I was absolutely soaked and freezing. I then spent what seemed like minutes but was actually hours below deck being sick and trying to sleep. Finally we made it to Milford Haven at 2 in the morning, where we anchored and finally slept.

Luke says: It was a very wet and cold and I was sick whenever I went below deck but as the day went on it got better and better. First it started with the dolphins coming up to the boat, then the MoD firing at us. It was just very cold on deck doing an hour shift. When we finally anchored down, it was a beautiful night with all the stars and lights.

Jessie says: OMG! The waves are crazy! Being sick, wet and cold is not fun at all!! The boat does not stop rocking and almost everyone has been sick, not fun!!! On the bright side, I saw dolphins and we got shot at by the army. The boat is nice at midnight. All the stars were out and the water was much calmer. I haven’t eaten today, only an apple and warm water. All my stuff is soaking wet, so it’s a cold wet night for all. I wish I was home!

Phil says: What a day The sea was crazy! A huge swell and lots and lots of sick. Only myself and Courtney was not sick but the smell of saucepans and buckets full of the stuff was horrific.On deck it was amazing. The dolphins came to say hello and the gannets were dive bombing for food. Talking about bombing, the MoD gave us a very close firework display with missiles and bombs, which kept us on our toes.The lights of  Milford Haven were upon us and the feeling of relief was immense. It seemed to takeages to get in though. Cheese sandwiches were served at 3am and a very,very wet bed awaited. Phew!!!


Dolphins, seals, crabs and a frog named Gilbert

Leg 5 / Day 4 & 5 (Tuesday 26th & Wednesday 27th June)

Caledonian Canal – Lynn of Lorne – Oban – Crinan Canal – Ardmarnoch Bay

Saskia . .It was hard beginning this morning setting up the sails and allowing the wind to guide us forwardWe sailed south past the Lynn of Lorne passing scenery so devastatingly beautiful.. So enigmatic it was hard to look away!

The weather brightened up around noon and we all enjoyed a much deserved lunch of lasagne and chips.

Levels of excitement reached a crescendo when we witnessed a pod of dolphins swimming by the boat. It was magical. Watching the animals leaping out of the water was truly a sight to behold.

.It was a mad start to the day when leaving Oban. Trying to haul up the 60m anchor chain before breakfast was not easy. Fitness has definitely improved.

I have now decided how I feel about sailing. It is literally methadone . . .all consuming. No greater feeling in the world than when the boat is cutting through the  icy water.. . .smooth . . . free.

Hilda . . .It’s just a few days after midsummer and we are way up north and west so it gets dark really late. At midnight you could almost read a newspaper. Then it is light again by 3am.

On Saturday and Sunday it rained often but the sun came out on Monday and we had two glorious days of sunshine with just enough wind to sail but not so much that the sea was rough.

After sailing south from our anchorage we sailed past the Isle of Seil – we didn’t see any seals except for a brief glimpse of a seals head checking us out. But we did sea the ‘bridge over the Atlantic’ which connects the Isle of Seil to the mainland over a narrow stretch of sea at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

For nearly an hour we were accompanied by about twenty dolphins which swam by the boat. One of them rolled over and stared at us from underwater with it’s beady eye.

We continued south past the Gulf of Corriwreckan and the famous whirlpool north of Jura where the Atlantic is squeezed through a narrow underwater chasm.

We could see a strange stillness on the sea’s surface which could lure underwater sailors but we kept at a safe distance

Saskia . . .Get up. Eat. Pass through a lock. Rest. Pass through a lock. It rains. Pass through a lock. Navigate. Pass through a lock. This was the perpetual motion of the morning. It was exhausting work manually move the 15 lock gates going along the Crinan Canal. However when we got out into the open sea things got better. We passed endless islands and uninhabited coastline. In my peripheral vision I could see the horizon stretching for miles around, mist shrouding much of the land. We docked up near Loch Fyne and lowered the anchor for the night. As a special treat we wre allowed to go ashore in a small dinghy to explore and have a treasure hunt.

Shelly . . . Today was a hard day as we had to pull the boat through  the locks as it weighs 27 tonnes. We also had a fun day as we saw loads of dolphins.

Kayleigh . . .Today we have seen amazing mammals in the Lynn of Lorne. We saw dolphins and the head of a seal. And we went past a whirlpool near the Atlantic Ocean.

Hilda . . . Gavin has been busy throughout the day making repairs to the boat. He never asks for thanks but whenever he disappears you can find him beavering away somewhere onboard, for example tying elaborate knots to fix the guardrails around the deck.

Francis showed us how to draw our position on the chart by putting a cross on the latitude and longitude reading. This apparently would be useful in case we got lost.

The Crinan Canal is completely different from the Caledonian Canal. It is much narrower but fortunately we didn’t meet any oncoming vessels. There wasn’t much room to pass. It’s much shorter but their are lots of locks – and unlike the Caledonian Canal where the lock gates are machine operated, these are manual – you have to push them open. It’s very slow.

The lock keepers have been friendly. Almost all like to chat and passing tourists enjoy watching the boats going in and out of the locks. We talked to many international visitors doing our bit for international exchange. We went through the Caledocian Canal together with a big Swedish yacht in tandem, motoring across the locks and lochs.

Although the Crinan Canal is only 12 miles long it seemed to last a long time. It felt like being trapped in Groundhog Day. That we’d never get out of the canal.

Heather . . .The trip up to now has been amazing. We saw dolphins and they came right up to the boat. We also found a frog and called it Gilbert. We went through lots of locks that we had to push open ourselves. It was hard work and a really back breaking task.

We anchored up at Ardmarnock Bay and pumped up the dinghy and went ashore. We had to find four things. It was hard to find them as we left it to the last minutes when the boat was coming back to get us.. We made a fire but it didn’t work for long.

When I was tying the fenders to the side of the boat, my glasses fell off into the water and they sunk.

On the island we found a crab and called it Gavin.


Incredible scenery and wildlife

Duet has crossed Scotland from East to West via the Caledonian and the Crinan Canals

Leg 5 / Day 4 & 5

Sophie writes . . .The last couple of days have been incredable. The scenary and the wildlife have amazed me. The pod of dolphins was so beautiful and I am so happy I have the videos so I can keep watching them. It is certainly a memory I won’t forget.

The sailing was good. A bit wet and cold and going through the locks was hard work but fun as we had to open and close them.

Duet locks through the Crinan Canal

Duet transits the Crinan Canal

Dolphins escort Duet in the Lynn of Lorne

Dolphins escort Duet in the Lynn of Lorne



Smooth seas and dolphins

Leg 4 / Day 4

Locking in at Inverness

Locking in at Inverness

Oscar . . . Got up for 3am to leave the oil capital of Europe and started our journey to Inverness. I saw the sun rise over the sea for the fist time in my life, the sky was clearish the water was calm. It was laid back sailing all day, but I didn’t get much sleep because of having to clean a lot.

Chloe . . . We left Aberdeenat 2.30 am so we were with the tide.

As grumpy as I was for being up so early in the morning, the view was amazing we travelled by motor for most of the day because there was no wind and the sea was too calm. Even though I still managed to chunder thankfully not as much, HA!!

We had some lovely traditional haggis, neeps and tatties was goooood. Then off for a couple hours’ kip before starting another of my 4 hour shifts. Another good day.

Aaron . . .We were up very early around 2:30 feeling very awake and alert, unlike the rest who were still dull. We then set the boat up ready for a 36 hour sail to Inverness. I felt good apart from a sore head and kept waking everyone up by singing “Good Morning” I continued helping with the tacking of the boat and being a helmsman, also making tea and coffee for the other group. Also felt a bit pissed off due certain people not pulling their weight. Our watch also practised man over board procedures on a dead bird floating in the sea. Me, Susie, Scot and Chloe also enjoyed our chocolate orange face masks!

Cory . . . Left Aberdeen harbour get up and saw the sun rise went down under deck and slept for sometime I don’t know how log for but it was good the shifts were pretty easy going.

Scot . . .Set off to Inverness  at first light. Very calm seas. Got so calm went fishing caught nothing, went straight through the night.

Jack . . . Sailing went really well not great bumps so no spewing gutted we only have two days left but I am looking forward to meeting our champion tomorrow

Susie . . . We set sail this morning at 3am. It was clear and all decided to watch the sun rise before starting back on shifts. We were planning to arrive around 5 pmish in Inverness on Wednesday 20th June

Sailing was very calm through the day, with a few showers on Scot, Aaron and Jack’s shifts, but lovely and clear on Chloe, Oscar and Cory’s shift’s!

Oscar and Cory were on tea, Haggis neeps and Tatties! Everyone wolfed it down !!

Both shifts were lucky enough to have between 3 and 5 dolphins alongside the boat – Daphnie, Flynn, Jerry and Derek!! (Named by Cory, Susie, Chloe and Oscar), it was beautiful and clear lovely to see all of the costal towns.

Spirits rising high. Lots of team work, supporting each other and hilarity within the group. Lots of praise given by me, very well deserved!

Just a wee message to all the parents- your kids are doing you proud and I shouldn’t really be calling them kids – your young men and young lady as they have grown up so much in the last week.

Dolphins in Moray Firth