18 September 2023

Well! Where does one start to describe such a phenomenal adventure.  As a couple of old folk, well into their eighties, with one of us disabled and only recently diagnosed with dementia. You may wonder what on earth were we doing, taking on a  small vessel  wild life cruise into the seas around the Hebrides.  An act of Faith, maybe. Fear not!   This is no ordinary “cruise company”.   Read on,  this is something else.  From the very onset, when first contacting  Emma, (and before realising we had a dementia situation) ,  we were treated with immense respect, given prompt very sincere answers to all our queries and immediately realised we were dealing with a very genuine company and warm people. We could do this! So it proved to be.  All the guidance and joining information was detailed, accurate and very helpful. On arrival at North Pier, Oban, prior to boarding, we were met by the most friendly of people who promptly took our luggage and conveyed it to our boat, LucyMary. And there she was!  The most handsome of vessels, gleaming and awaiting her guests, whilst laid alongside the pontoons.  We felt like royalty.  At the foot of the companionway stood owner Rob,  waiting to greet his guests.  No, not captain, skipper, or the like, simply Rob.  The head of what was for the duration, a close knit group of guests and crew who blended together seamlessly into one very happy family the whole  trip.  The crew of four were simply brilliant.  Starting with Rob, of course. Then in no particular order -  Indie, our extraordinary and knowledgeable naturalist and wild life expert.  Abbie, delightful, ever accommodating stewardess, who looked after everyone with continuous attention. Serving meals, making drinks, tidying cabins, fetching and carrying.  Then , the chef! Perry. Wow, what he produced in the galley was exquisite.  But,  it didn’t stop there. All of the crew joined in where appropriate with any other duties too.  Launching the tender for trips ashore, putting fenders in position prior to berthing alongside, ensuring the cables were correctly placed on the quayside and boat. All very professional, with few words of command.  A “well run ship”indeed. Very impressive.  So we set sail.  Lucy Mary smoothly glided away from the jetty.  This was our boat now for six glorious nights. Go where you like on the boat, said Rob. On the Flying Bridge, the Wheelhouse, numerous seating and lookout areas, up in the Bow.  Fabulous!  No sooner were we out of the harbour, when the ever vigilant naturalist Indie was pointing out something interesting. He has a very keen eye, at times you would think he had an in built radar system, such was his skill at spotting even distant specks which invariably turned out, at closer quarters, to be precisely what he said. Gannets, Shag, Gulls of various types, Grey heron, Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles, Otters, Red deer. Porpoise, etc. he was constantly on the alert for anything of interest.  Rob and Indie, frequently had their heads together, plotting and planning the most interesting and potentially rewarding locations in which wildlife could be seen, all the time noting the sea and wind conditions for a comfortable trip, culminating in an interesting and calm harbour in which to moor up or drop anchor overnight.  Then, as evening approached, everyone was contemplating Dinner.  What surprise would Perry conjure up tonight?  His magic in the galley was a delight.  And so we eventually turned in. To our very cosy, heated, well equipped cabin, en-suite and well endowed  with storage space. Next morning, everyone was at breakfast by 8am. Eagerly awaiting Rob’s latest info on weather conditions and any changes to the plan for the day.  Throughout our entire trip, the consideration, thoughtfulness and attention given to everyone on board was exemplary.  Nothing was too much trouble.  As for the two older folk, they had  the most fabulous time and were very well looked after all the time.  This was really a stand out trip for us, amongst several special experiences abroad over the years.  Our profound thanks again to an outstanding crew, wonderful fellow guests and by no means forgetting Emma, on shore, for her valued contribution. God Bless and “Carry on sailing, the HebridesCruises way” A remarkable maritime family.  Mike and Margaret

Mike & Margaret Knighton