Once again there was a lull before the storm. It was only late on Sunday evening that the wind began to rise and around 5:00am the gusts peaked at 64mph. Those relying on the ferry had been advised to sail on either Saturday or Sunday’s crossing. Throughout the morning the wind speed and gusts decreased to the low 40s.
Most doubted that the ferry would ever leave Oban, even with the revised timetable. However the MV Clansman with Michael MacNeil as the Master, set sail from Oban at 8:30am bound for Coll and Tiree. At 11:05 she berthed at Coll and headed back out to sea at 11:26. Her departure was only about 5 minutes down on the revised timetabling.
Out in the Passage of Tiree the sea was lively as was evidenced by the Clansman’s impressive bow wave. Standing close to the pier and looking out to the Passage of Tiree, the ferry could be seen rising and falling.
As the ferry turned into Gott Bay and made her way towards the pier there was some relief for the few passengers on board. However, their relief was short lived.
At first it looked as if the ship’s anchor might be deployed, but there was no rumbling and rattling.
The Clansman drew across the pier roundhead. Just at that point a squall struck. She lay off the roundhead rocking and rolling. From the pier office and waiting room we watched and waited. Having come out all this way, was she going to have to turn back without berthing?
The few passengers waiting in their vehicles must have wondered if they were going to be able to board. Those on board must have had an anxious wait.
After about 20 minutes or more the squall passed and the Clansman safely came alongside the pier. Relief! Thanks to the Master’s determination and perseverance the Clansman successfully berthed. In no small way the ship’s crew and those working on the pier played their part. It is no mean task to stand on the roundhead in such stormy conditions.
There was no hanging around – even if the sun was shining down on the pier. As soon as the vehicles and the passengers were disembarked and the three vehicles, a trailer and the passengers were on board, the vessel was secured, the ropes released, and the Clansman headed out to sea.
There was no dramatic bow wave as she headed for the Passage of Tiree. The drama had been at the pier.
This is ‘Life on Tiree’ reporting on one stormy Monday.