Thursday, January 16, 2014

MV Chalice

I have only sailed once on MV Chalice. She was the ship that Northern Light Charters started operating with in 1995 (see this link).  Something I did not know when I sailed on her in 2006 was that her hull was concrete, or more correctly "ferocrete'. I first saw her in 2002 during a trip on MV Poplar Diver to North Rona. I vividly recall that event. Our paths crossed at a point in the Minch, and I saw the skipper (and owner) of Chalice, Mark Henrys, standing high atop the Chalice wheelhouse on the lookout for a minke whale as the ship rolled in the  heavy sea.

Four years later, in 2006, I booked myself on a Chalice cruise with skipper Chris Jackson. Below are a few photos from that trip. I last saw Chalice in 2008 when she was sold off. The 'Chalice Experience' attracted many followers, and there was much disappointment when she was sold. Every evening on a Chalice trip the skipper would recap the day's events, and the course that had been sailed, on a large nautical chart of the Hebrides. You can see an example of this in photo 6 where the course of the cruise is marked in red on the chart (British Isles , Scotland West Coast, Number 2635).  Good memories.

In fact, when I left the boat in Oban after that cruise in 2006, I went into Nancy Black chandlers in Oban and bought chart 2635. I rolled it up and hand carried it to the airport, where I carefully stowed it in the overhead bin of the 747 that took me home from the UK. Once home I had the chart framed and covered with a clear plastic sheet just as they'd done on Chalice, where I can write on it using dry-erase markers. I've used that chart to plan every Hebridean trip I've made since then, and I also used it to lay out the chapter sequences in the two books.

Chalice anchored at the Shiants - 2006
Chalice anchored in Ardtornish Bay - 2006
Ardtornish Castle - visited on Chalice cruise in 2006
The only window seat  - Ardtornish Castle
A regular on Chalice, and my room mate in 2006 - magician Archie Smith at Ardtornish
Nautical chart 2635 of the Hebrides showing the route of the cruise
Chalice motoring into Oban - 2008
Skipper Chris Jackson on Chalice the last time I saw her in 2008 
Photo of me on Chalice in 2006 - taken by Chris Jackson

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