After an amazing day seeing puffins up close at the Treshnish Islands (and I mean within a few feet) and gasping in awe at the sheer natural splendour of Staffa and Fingal’s Cave (must dash home and write an overture to celebrate it…!) we have come over towards Mull and anchored in a tiny inlet called Gometra Harbour, separating the islands of Gometra and Ulva. There are 2 other boats here.
I want to try to capture what is so special about places like this, and it can’t be done in pictures. Of course there are the lovely views of rocky hills around, the sun, still almost too hot at nearly 8pm, glinting off the rippling water There is one old stone building with a rusting tin roof onshore. But what is so wonderful is the peace and quiet.
The only sounds we can hear are a cuckoo calling, the occasional seagull giving a squawk as it pursues some guillemots, a hidden waterfall nearby and the faint noise of waves breaking lazily against the rocks beyond the enclosed anchorage. A faint breeze. Nothing else.
This is it. This is the peace and tranquillity I spent 8 years building the boat for. It is balm for the soul, no less. I breathe great gulps of it, hoping to take it away with me, but knowing that these moments are all too rare. When if ever in our lives do we escape the infuriating buzz of an internal combustion engine – perhaps only after heavy snow? Here there is so little sound that we lower our voices not to disturb the quiet. There are few things on earth better than this, in my opinion.
And then a 2 seater autogyro flies low over the valley! It is a brief intrusion, thankfully, a reminder that just about everything we have achieved over the last couple of centuries has been to do with harnessing power, and that has meant noise. Sailing to remote anchorages may be one of the last ways to escape this. A fair return on those hundreds of hours sanding, I would say.
A little postscript: earthly bliss comes at a price…. the wind got up during the night, and as I am always a little anxious when at anchor, this meant I was checking our position every hour or so until dawn. The plot on the electronic display showed that we swung about 150 feet side to side in total, but as the wind shifted from NE to N this wasn’t so much, more like 50ft for the angle of the wind.