The journey on their sailboat “Maverick too” took Johannes and Cati Erdmann from Germany across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and then through the Bahamas to the north of the USA – always with the Leica Geovid on board. Two years grew into five years. Instead of returning to everyday life, they bought a catamaran and stayed in the Bahamas for three years. And the couple became a family. 40,000 nautical miles later, Cati and Johannes Erdmann now live on a catamaran in the port of Hamburg, with their son Theo.
The final lock opens and finally it lies before us: the legendary Loch Ness. For many years, this trip topped my bucket list: To take my own boat up the Caledonian Canal and right through the Scottish Highlands to sail on Loch Ness. Here, the water is so deep that the sonar doesn’t get an echo. Up to 230 meters deep.
Today, the mystical lake seems to live up to its reputation: The sky is gray, with rare rays of sun. The water under our catamaran is a deep black. No wonder that people throughout the centuries have believed that a sea monster is hiding here somewhere. There are plenty of possibilities. Of course, these stories are a sailor’s yarn, we know that. But to be on the safe side, we’re running the digital fish finder. You never know.
The Loch is up to 1.5 kilometers wide and 37 kilometers long. It will take us about six hours to cross it on our way east. At an average depth of 132 meters, it holds 7.4 km³ of water. That is as much as all the other lakes in Scotland put together. Wow. There’s a little reverence in the air as we set sail here. Since departing the Bahamas, and with our Atlantic crossing, we have already left 4500 nautical miles in our wake, but this body of water is something special.
There is nowhere to drop anchor. Our 70-meter chain is not long enough and the hook would just dangle under us. So we’ve chosen to spend the night at Urquhart Castle, an old castle ruin from the 13th century. But here the coast is flat and rocky.
The small harbor next to the fortress is difficult to make out. Again and again we try to spot the entrance with our Leica Geovid 8×42 HD-R to get an idea of it. Time seems to have stopped in the Middle Ages. The digital maps in this remote part of Scotland are inaccurate and incomplete. We rely on a paper chart.
The ship’s compass shows the course, but are we on the right line? With our binoculars, we use rangefinding to check. There’s a prominent rock on the chart. The binoculars say it’s 115 meters away. One swipe of the compass heading on the map and we’re on course. No obstacles. We’re in deep water, I’m sure of it. Every few minutes we check the correct distance from the coast and scout out the harbor with pinpoint accuracy. Are those buoys showing the way? Yes, the entrance is buoyed. We can see them clearly with our binoculars.
“Ready the docklines to port!” – I can see from a distance that there is a free spot. Ten minutes later we are safely at the pier. An outstanding day sailing on Loch Ness lies behind us. Unbelievable that we are really here.