Arriving in Oban, I could see the 95 foot mast of Alba Explorer from what looked like miles away which was a sight to behold!
I was quite nervous at the start knowing I was going to spend a week with 17 other people on this boat but to my relief they were all very nice and great fun. There was a boy called Zach who had come from Washington DC to visit Scotland and Ireland, and also 3 girls who came from England; Gracie, Sachs and Eva. The Clyde Cruising Club Dinghy Section was well represented with myself, Stan, Ewan and Oscar all on board. The skipper's son was there as one of the crew members too.
I really enjoyed going round the Hebrides and it was without doubt the best week of my life! We traveled to a little bay near Loch Drambuie on Mull, staying there for the first night, then went all the way up to South Uist, then to Castle Bay on Barra, followed by Tiree, Tobermory and then finally back to Oban. It was amazing!
On three of the nights we anchored. On the first night the captain, Stuart Simpson, the first mate, watch leaders and bosun did 'anchor watch'. On the other two nights we had planned to moor up to pontoons however THE SAME BOAT took our place twice! So the crew had to do anchor watch. Anchor watch is where some crew members need to stay up during the night and watch the anchor, hence the name! The First mate draws a box around the boat on the navigation screen and you have to report to someone if the boat floats outside the box (I know, exciting eh?).
All the hard work was worth it because I and all the others were awarded the RYA Competent Crew certificate!
I can thoroughly recommend an OYT voyage to anyone who is interested in sailing. It was exciting, challenging, rewarding and great, great fun!