Life at the end of the road

April 15, 2018

It’s no wonder they need a lift :-)

Sorry, couldn’t manage a post last night, was pure wrecked, it’s not a hard day here on the Lochaline/Fishnish route but it’s a long one and ‘yours truly’ was pretty shattered last night. We’d had a busy enough day with commercial traffic right enough but I can’t use that as an excuse.


My prep work on and around the aft fire shutter was hardly reason either, truth is, I’m just getting too old Smile Having said all that I don’t need a ‘lift’ to get back into the boat if I’ve been diving, despite being in my 60’s and having a ‘bad back’.

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It’s been a bit of an education working here this last few weeks, I’ve been a diver, both recreational and professional for over forty years now and have been much impressed with the advances in so called ‘technical diving’ in the leisure sector where gases are mixed to prevent narcosis increase ‘bottom times’ and reduce decompression times thus making contraction of the ‘bends’ far less likely. ‘Back in the day’ when I was a serious wreck diver we regularly dived to 55m on air alone and spent an hour decompressing on USN tables (United States Navy diving tables) Nowadays the modern ‘technical diver’ carries with him huge air tanks and oxygen enriched mixtures for decompressing with. Not only that but he requires a lift to get him out of the water cos he’s carrying so much carp!!!! I kid you not, both of Lochaline boat charter vessels, Peregrine and Brendan have diver lifts fitted and when you see all the carp that the modern diver carries around it’s no wonder why Smile 

The O2 café and Lochaline dive centre

As I’ve said in the past, I spent many a memorable holiday in the Sound of Mull back in the seventies and eighties diving some of Britain’s most memorable wrecks. Lochaline must be unique in the British Isles in having such a wealth of spectacular wrecks that are accessible all year round and in all but the worst of weather/tide conditions. Relatively sheltered yet supplied by mild Gulf Stream water the Sound of Mull is a positive ‘Mecca’ for the true enthusiast and novice alike with everything from the historic HMS Dartmouth in a few meters of water to SS Buitenzorg  

Remote sensing image of the SS Buitenzorg

in the heady depths of trimix for the ambitious ‘technical diver’. Either way Bodie and Malcolm of Lochaline Boat Charters or Calum from could ‘drop’ you on them, along with the Hispania, Ballista, John Preston, Rondo, Meldon (my very own 2500 ton collier mined in 1917) and a whole host of other wrecks nearby, not to mention the multitude of scenic, cliff and drift dives in he area. Lochaline truly is a divers paradise Smile 

When I was out for a walk with ‘wee dug’ last night we wandered along through the community owned woodland towards the West Pier


and its awesome views over the Sound of Mull before turning back towards home and the wee caravan

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passing by the O2 café on the way way. It was whilst gazing through the shop windows that I noticed a sign that said they had diving cylinders for sale at around £45 each, needless to say Molly and I went up there today, spoke to Calum and came away with four 12lt Faber steel cylinders for less than the price of four bags of coal Smile

As Ships go by

Well, it’ll be after 22:30 now and time for bed so I guess I’d better wind this up.



The latest batch of divers getting ready for some spectacular dives in the Sound of Mull, courtesy of


MV Hallaig at Lochaline slip


April 8, 2018

The Lochaline Triffids

A fine Sunday evening here at our berth in Lochaline, with ‘wee dug’ and meself just back from a good walk along the shore of the loch towards Ard Tornish House .

Wikipedia’s picture and not mine Smile Me, I left the good camera back in the caravan Sad smile

We do like it here the ‘wee dug’ and I,


she gets lots of attention from the public and crew, and we can go for leisurely walks in the evening and at lunch. Not only that but I can roll out of bed and onto the ferry in a matter of minutes Smile

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Even though the working day is much longer here with a 7:00am sailing, I don’t actually need to get up any earlier and am ‘home’ much sooner. There’s a great village shop just a two minute walk up the hill and loads of great local services even a self service fuel pump. At this time of year there’s much going on and if I was ‘so inclined’ the Lochaline Social Club is ‘just outside my door’ so to speak Smile Perhaps that’s not a good thing come ‘chucking out time’ right enough but I’ve certainly no complaints.

Lochaline Boat Charters operates out of here


with their two Aquastar boats, Brendan and Peregrine both of which will drop divers on awesome wrecks, reefs, cliff and drift dives in the local area and beyond. As a destination for diving holidays Lochaline could not be better equipped and that’s coming from an ‘anorak’ who spent much of his early adult life and beyond doing the ‘trainspotting’ equivalent of scuba diving Smile Sad I know but I’ve always had a ‘soft spot’ for this little corner of Scotland. Never in a million years did I ever think I’d actually get paid for staying here Smile


So, despite the normal Sunday service here at Lochaline not starting till 8:45, the skipper and I were aboard the good ship Hallaig at 6:30.

One of the very expensive ABB motorized battery switches had failed and we were going to change it prior to sailing.

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There are four of these on the ‘hybrids’ and at almost £900 apiece it’s a fecking disgrace that they fail with such regularity. Allegedly ABB say they are good for 5000 cycles but ours fail regularly at half that. Luckily we carry spares aboard and had it all sorted prior to sailing.


Failure of one or more of these switches does not stop the ‘hybrids’ from sailing but it does mean you cannot utilize the 600kWh LiFePO4 battery banks Sad smile Anyway, that’s all sorted now, and a sternly worded email is winging its way to ABB Smile It’s not like they have these things in stock, there’s a six to eight week ‘lead time’ which I think is ‘ABB speak’ for camel ride from ChIndia or wherever they churn these things out from! No kidding, I pulled the old one apart and it’s made out of the same ‘Micky Mouse’ metal

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that my Dinky toy Morris Minor was made of.

I kid you not, here we have an £11,000,000 ferry with a £1000 switch broken cos of a 3pence part which the manufacturer refuses to supply separately. The world has gone mad!!!

The Triffid

Anyway’s, we got that sorted, sailed on time and had pleasant enough day here at Lochaline, after which the ‘wee dug’ and I went for that walk I mentioned earlier.

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Along the shore, past the sand mine towards Ard Tornish House.

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It was here that we spotted the Triffids!!! never seen anything like em before but they were growing on the shore and pretty much what I’d imagined John  Wyndham’s plants to look like Smile OK, perhaps not exactly but they were odd and that’s for sure.


The damage I could do with one of these Smile A proper ‘dumper’ from the sand mine.


This really is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of sand Smile

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The ‘office’ Smile

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