Ferry Watching

COLL and TIREE,  Status: Disrupted Service
Oban – Coll – Tiree – Coll – Oban Thursday 6th March. This service may be liable to disruption or delay due to swell conditions at the island ports and possible operational issues.The vessel departed Oban on time at 0715. Her ETA in Coll is 1025. The vessel will then proceed to Tiree as per timetable – ETA 1140. There will then be an approximate 1 hour wait to facilitate commercial vehicle turnaround (in light of recent weather disruptions) before the vessel departs again for Coll (ETA approx.1405) to pick up a delayed inbound service to Oban, the expected departure time for which is approximately 1415, resulting in a delayed arrival time in Oban of 1725 approximately.Calmac Ferries apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Last Updated: 06 Mar 2014 08:25.
Ferry watchers, particularly those with an interest in CalMac have been speculating as to what is happening on the Oban-Coll-Tiree route this past Week. As reported earlier, the Sunday sailing was cancelled due to the adverse weather. Although the Monday sailing berthed at Tiree, no vehicles were able to leave the island, due to the dangerous swell (See  Blue Skies and Broken Ropes.) The Tuesday sailing ran to the timetable and an additional sailing was made that evening. However, the additional sailing scheduled for Wednesday was cancelled because of adverse weather. Today, Thursday, CalMac’s alert had many speculating, but it did make sense. At present the island needs regular supplies of diesel with the sub-sea electricity cable broken. With Wednesday’s additional sailing cancelled, the tanker carrying the diesel needed to be discharged today and then returned immediately to Oban, and likewise a lorry needed to be accommodated in the turnaround.
Those travelling on today’s sailing were treated to a free cruise. That’s one way of looking at it! The ferry berthed, unloaded and loaded as per normal, but then went out into the Passage of Tiree, before returning an hour later to collect the tanker and the lorry. It was deemed safer for the MV Hebridean Isles to wait off Tiree due to the swell conditions at Tiree Pier.
On the winter timetable there is no sailing on a Friday and if the weather forecast is accurate the ferry will be cancelled on Saturday, with Sunday’s sailing is doubtful.
Such is the situation that it has even been suggested that the number of cancellations is due to my visiting the pier!