Twenty seven days and 3,800 sea miles after leaving Lebanon, our new vessel, Lucy Mary arrived in Oban on June 3rd. Skipper James Fairbairns was at the wheel on reaching the Isle of Kerrera, but then passed the steering to Skipper Rob Barlow who came on board to finish the journey - an emotional moment for both. Our vessels Emma Jane and Elizabeth G were on hand to accompany their new sister ship into Oban Harbour where friends and family were waiting to welcome Lucy Mary to her new home in the Hebrides.
For our family business, finding the perfect vessel to provide us with a cruising fleet of three ships has taken several years of searching and is a major commitment. Despite the fact that the ship was in Beirut, we decided to make the purchase and arrange the ship transfer. Beruit was an experience. Rob went out a third time for the ‘signing over’ of the vessel to Hebrides Cruises, having first been picked up by a chauffeur-driven Range Rover. This was followed by an opulent feast in our honour - it just happened to be Robs birthday as well!
James and Rob flew out to Malaga to help crew the ship on part of the journey, sailing to Gibraltar and then on to Lisbon. This was challenging in many respects, including being able to take on fuel which was a changing scenario at each port as to the availability, price and quality. The journey was dogged by bad weather which thoroughly tested the ship’s performance. James and Rob were delighted that the ship kept a steady 10 knots, pushing on no matter what the sea conditions, helped because of the well-designed bow allowing the vessel to effortlessly cut through the waves. James also commented that the ship is so quiet when at sea that he did occasionally feel he should check if the engines were actually running!
One of the delights of the journey was the amount of cetaceans spotted. The Straits of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean was an amazing hot spot for dolphins with pods of hundreds of common dolphins and smaller pods of bottlenose dolphins bow-riding the ship.
James re-joined the ship once she reached Dublin, to skipper the final leg to Oban. He had another magical wildlife moment passing the Isle of Jura where he was accompanied by a young Minke whale which surfaced over the bow of the ship 8 times, while the ship was motoring at 10 knots. James has never seen such behaviour before and said it felt like the whale was escorting him home.
Lucy Mary will spend the next few weeks moored in Oban Bay, undertaking essential servicing checks and adaptions to suit the style and quality of the hospitality of our cruises. She is taking the name of Rob’s 12-year-old granddaughter, who will be centre stage at the renaming ceremony in Oban Bay on July 9th. The following day the ship will put to sea for her inaugural cruise with 8 guests on board, to explore Mull, Iona, Staffa & the Treshnish Isles.
Double Award Winners for Herald Scottish Family Business 2023
Friday, 8 December 2023
Our new one-off expedition cruise "in search of giants"
Monday, 13 November 2023
Species report from our recent whale watching cruise
Tuesday, 29 August 2023