Mull Odyssey Cruise: Staffa, Iona and the Ross of Mull
Keeping well clear of Caliach Point we head down towards the Treshnish Isles, breeding grounds for seals and puffins, to Loch Tuath. Our destination is a pretty anchorage in Soribay Bay where we see, in the distance, the mountains of Mull dominated by Ben More (963 m) and close-by, across the Loch, is the picturesque Eas Fos waterfall tumbling into the sea.
Lunga, one of the Treshnish Isles, is a site of Special Scientific Interest because of the plants which grow there and the wildlife. There are seals and it is especially famous for the breeding colonies of kittiwakes, Manx shearwaters, guillemots, razorbills, storm-petrels and the colony of puffins which, in the breeding season, allow you to approach very close. Coll and Tiree: The two islands are called the ‘sunshine isles’ because of their unique climate. Tiree is more populated and famous for its miles of clean, white sandy beaches that are renown throughout the world by surfers and wind surfers. In contrast Coll is rugged and mountainous and indented with deep, but sandy coves. The islands are some seven miles off the west coast of Mull and on passage we can see dolphins, Minke whales and basking sharks. If conditions are right we can drop anchor and appreciate the tranquility of its sweeping sandy beaches, the cry of the corncrakes and the gentle pleasure of being 'away from it all'.
It may be difficult to anchor off the island because of the lack of sheltered anchorages but we can sail close to the island to see all of its natural beauty. If time we can head up to Loch Na Keil with its great views of mighty Ben More, to circle round the Island of Eorsa before we head south to the north side of the Ross of Mull. Dolphins and porpoises often follow us into our secluded anchorage in Loch na Laithaich near the little village of Bunessan. We can also arrage a day trip to Iona from Bunessan, via a short ferry crossing, as there is no sheltered overnight anchorages possible on Iona.
Up anchor and travel down the Sound of Iona. This a special Sound where the clear blue waters flow over the white sand and where the Abbey tower is used as a navigational mark to denote a safe passage. Out of the Sound the dangerous Torran Rocks have to be avoided as we travel along the rocky southern shores of the Ross of Mull to enter remote Loch Spelve. A narrow entrance leads us in to the tranquil waters of Loch Spelve with its surrounding ancient oak forest. The anchorage gives us a different perspective than our previous views of the wonderful mountains of Mull. There are resident otters along the loch's shoreline.