Shiant Islands and Loch Mariveg

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A sailboat was visible through the Garbh Eilean arch as we arrived in the striking Shiant Islands. We gave serious considration to anchoring there for the night, but high winds were expected so we elected to take a more sheltered anchorage in beautiful Loch Mariveg instead.

Trip highlights from September 6 and 7th in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland follow. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

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We’ve just crossed 5,000 hours on our Northern Lights 12kW generator. It continues to operate reliably, starts with 100% reliability and the only thing that has ever taken it down is a failed raw-water pump impeller, which is a maintenance item.
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Galtachan Rocks

The Galtachan Rocks, a string of ominous looking rock islets off the Shiant Islands.
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Shiant Islands

Dramatic steep cliffs on the east coast of Eilean an Tighe in the Shiant Islands. The cliffs are composed of vertical, hexagonal basalt columns similar to the Isle of Staffa in the Inner Hebrides and Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
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Vessel under sail viewed through a sea arch on Garbh Eilean in the Shiant Islands. We considered anchoring here for the night, but the anchorage is quite exposed and the winds were expected to increase.
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Garbh Eilean

Looking back south to spectacular Garbh Eilean as we round the north end of the Shiant Islands.
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Arch from North

The sea arch on Garbh Eilean viewed from the north en route to Loch Mariveg.
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Tender Seat

Our tender has a bow seat bow with a fiberglass hinged cover and storage underneath. The fiberglass at the edges where the hinge mounts is pure resin without reinforcing fabric, which holds up poorly to vibration. One hinge broke away years ago and the last one just failed and the lid slid off.
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Seat Repaired

James cut away the fiberglass near the front of the seat, replaced it with marine board and attached the hinges to the marine board. We now have a fully operational hinged storage cover again.
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Water Temperature

Our water temperature sensor was reading incorrectly, so we replaced it today. This is the third time that sensor has failed and James doesn’t look very happy about it. A one-inch hole four feet down really shows how fast a boat would sink when its open.
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Loch Mariveg

Classic wooden boat sailing out of beautiful Loch Mariveg.
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Water Heater T&P Valve

We had a water leak on the boat where the bilge has freshwater in it and the water pump cycled every 30 to 60 min even when water isn’t being used. We chased down the source to be a leaking water heater Temperature and Pressure valve. The valve is old, and either corrosion or a tiny amount of calcification has built up at the T&P valve and it’s no longer possible to get it to seal. We can get the leak down to small, but the valve needs to be replaced. We have one on order and will pick it up with some other parts we have waiting for pickup as we pass through the Calonian Canal.
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Transom Plug

The parts we brought back from Seattle included small-boat self-bailing transom plugs. We installed one in each cockpit locker to day as part of the changes we are making to address the water ingress issue we faced on our Atlantic crossing. The plugs will allow water to drain out of the locker, but prevent water from being forced in through the drain hole when operating in water rough enough to at least partially fill the cockpit.
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The hills forming the east side of the anchorage at Loch Mariveg aglow in the evening sun.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at


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4 comments on “Shiant Islands and Loch Mariveg
  1. Paul Wood says:

    The yacht under sail as seen through that sea arch is a fabulous photo! I also reckon you could earn a few bob by submitting your photos to image libraries.

    • Thanks very much Paul. We’re happy if people enjoy the blog. We don’t try to directly monetize it. As soon as you start selling things, customers have requirements, changes need to be accommodated, and the whole thing becomes work. We have a hard enough time keeping up with the trip already without additional overhead :-).

      Thanks for the feedback.

  2. Jamey says:

    I guess I just don’t understand having holes in a boat. Not that this land lover would, but still. While I can understand the utility of the thing that uses the hole, still holes in boats just sound counter-intuitive.

    Glad to read of the self-bailing transom plugs, I remember reading that post you mentioned.

    • Boats without holes certainly have great advantage from a seaworthiness perspective but humans need air, safety requires they keep watch, and holes are required. Judgement is needed on making holes judiciously and carefully to ensure water can’t enter. I agree with you that, in this case, the problem was certainly avoidable. We have gone with a bunch of changes that should eliminate the problem: 1) self-bailing transom plugs in the drain holes to prevent filling the locker, 2) high volume, automatic bilge pump just above the less than reliable, and insufficient volume bilge drying pump, and 3) put an extra set of hydraulic pump controls in the ER so it can be operated by a single person. I’m pretty confident we’ll never see this particular problem again and I’ve surveyed the boat and can find no other likely candidates. I think we have the “unprotected hole” problem behind us.

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