A Travellerspoint blog

Scotland Slowly, Day 2

A Few Wee Drams on Islay

Hello friends!

Joe and I are in our comfy cabin after a very full day, and it’s not even dinnertime yet.

We began the day with the Wake Up Call at 0700. And, yes there is a Wake Up Call over the loud speaker, in every public and private spot onboard the ship (it cannot be turned off). Granted, we were warned, but still it’s a little unsettling for a voice to just show up in your room.

We got up, put on some workout clothes and went up to the gym for a very quick workout (a healthy back requires planks every other day, at least). Then, a very quick breakfast, because breakfast ends at 8:00. No lazy people allowed, unless they want to be hungry lazy people.

Back to the cabin to shower, dress and get our things together. The normal tours started loading up at 8:00, but Joseph and I had signed up for the whisky tour of Islay (pronounced EYElah). Our tour group was not slated for leaving the Ocean Endeavor until 8:45.

Since the announcement regarding weather told us that the passage from the ship to land would be a bit choppy, we found our wet gear—wet bags for storing our stuff and rain pants. Rain pants are the only required clothing on an Adventure Canada cruise (they distributed rain jackets and rain boots when we boarded).

We learned on our first Zodiac trip why those rain pants are required. Without them, we would have been soaked to the skin. It was quite choppy with a lot of water coming over the edge. But, at least it wasn’t raining as well.

Our group, about 24 people total, got organized into vans and off we went to our first distillery, Bowmore. Why not a wee dram at 10:00 in the morning??? Just the thing to get the day started.

Then, it was off to Ardbeg, where we were treated to an excellent tour, learning all about the whisky making process. The tour ended with an opportunity to try FIVE different whiskys. Here’s part of our group and a few of the bottles:

After Ardbeg, we traveled to Lagavulin, where we enjoyed another lovely and informative tour. After the tour, we were able to try three different Lagavulins, including one that is available only at the distillery. Here is one of the rooms at the Lagavulin distillery:

So far, so good. The weather was beautiful today, clear and sunny.

I can’t say that I’ve been convinced to become a champion of Islay whiskys, which are generally smoky and peaty, but there were a couple of the Ardbegs that were very nice, with mellower peatiness.

A couple of random thoughts on the good side:
1. The crew is really great. Very professional and helpful. Getting in and out of the Zodiacs can be tricky, but the crew makes it very easy, even in rough conditions.
2. The crew is thoughtful. When we returned to the cabin this afternoon, we found a nice anniversary card signed by everyone on the crew.

I also have a few random thoughts on the not so good side, but I’ll share them when the cruise is over. Overall, though, Joseph and I are pleased and we are enjoying ourselves and our adventure.

Slainte Mhath!

Posted by ORWAT 09:45

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