And yet more glorious weather

And more sunshine! And no wind! We could get to like this. Crew lifted Hjalmar Bjorge’s anchor during breakfast and a short run was taken to Pabbay. Guests spent the morning ashore and were enchanted by this lovely island; there were abundant flowers and butterflies everywhere and a pair of golden eagles were seen soaring over the north cliffs. After lunch the boat travelled to Mingulay with another glorious afternoon spent ashore. Below (left) a ruin on Pabbay (right) fritillary butterfly on Pabbay, both photos by Mark Henrys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tues 7 Aug | It’s such a perfect day  Hurray! More bright sunshine and very little wind this morning. Hjalmar Bjorge departed the Monachs and headed south to the Sound of Barra where the resident bottlenose dolphins were encountered. They appear to be making a bee-line for Hjalmar Bjorge whilst apparently ignoring other boats in the vicinity…perhaps they like the particular tone of the boat’s engines. Who knows? Six of the bottlenoses escorted Hjalmar Bjorge through the Drovers Channel with one performing some amazing stunts in the boat’s wake.

West of Vatersay there was a brief view of a minke whale before crew anchored the boat at Sandray. The guests were taken ashore to explore the island. The crew, after finishing tidying the boat, also spent a fabulous afternoon on the beach. Later on, they delivered drinks to the beach so guests could have a pre-dinner aperitifs Pretty close to a perfect day.

Mon 6 Aug | Monach Isles discoveries  Following a light breakfast on anchor in Village Bay Hjalmar Bjorge departed for a tour of the stacs via Soay Sound. After a fabulous cruise around the islands and stacs, the boat left left Boreray, and headed for the Monach Islands. An afternoon was spent ashore in glorious sunshine with only very light winds. Golden eagles were, once again, seen feeding over the trig point (65ft) on Ceann Iar. Guests gathered a number of fishing floats here and kindly left an “art installation” for the enjoyment of future visitors, whenever that might be!

Later in the day old friends Norman and Gillian anchored close by on their yacht “Curlew”. They reported seeing over 1000 grey seals on the beach on the east side of Ceann Ear at the Monachs. They had also discovered the site of a quarry on the island which produced quern stones for grinding barley.

Over dinner tonight there was a discussion about trig points with various guesses as to the location of the UK’s lowest trig point in Britain. Mark later checked and found out it’s in The Fens and is actually one metre below sea level.

Sun 5 Aug | Quick Kilda crossing  An early start this morning with Hjalmar Bjorge departing Taransay at 0600. The passage over to St Kilda was quite rough although there was the benefit of both common and white-beaked dolphins bow-riding on the way across. It was also a fast journey with the boat arriving in Village Bay at 1145. Guests were immediately taken ashore with a packed lunch where, in bright sunshine, they had the opportunity to explore much of the island of Hirta. A relief worker with the National Trust for Scotland also opened the shop for them enabling the purchase of some souvenirs.

Sat 4 Aug | Otters ‘n’ eagles at Eyport  This morning, as Hjalmar Bjorge left Loch Eyport, there were brief glimpses of otters followed by a splendid view of a sea eagle perched on a rock and then in flight. Entering the Sound of Harris a juvenile minke was seen by all. Crew anchored the boat at Taransay in time for lunch and afterwards guests went ashore for the afternoon.

Fri 3 Aug | Kilda in sight!  Just as Hjalmar Bjorge was leaving Canna this morning another small group of common dolphin were encountered; they briefly played under the bow before swimming away. A much larger group was seen feeding some distance away from the boat. Hjalmar Bjorge anchored in Loch Eyport, North Uist, in time for lunch with guests going ashore for walks up Eaval and Little Eaval. Everyone returned to report fantastic, not to mention tantalising, views out to the west of St Kilda and the Monach Islands.

Thu 2 Aug | Basking sharks, dolphins and a minke  There was heavy rain overnight last night but everyone awoke to clear blue skies this morning. After breakfast the boat headed north. Rounding Ardnamurchan Point there was a good close up view of an adult basking shark and numerous others were seen during the next hour. West of Muck four common dolphin bow-rode Hjalmar Bjorge for 10 minutes and later, west of Rum, a minke whale was seen coasting along beside the boat, travelling in the same direction.

The crew anchored the boat at Canna for lunch and thereafter guests spent the afternoon ashore in wonderful conditions. Mark went diving for scallops which Mark B transformed into Coques St Jacques for starters this evening. Later on there was a dramatic full moon rising in clear skies over Rum. Right: the full moon over Rum by Mark Henrys

Wed 1 Aug | Outer Hebridean Cruise starts today  A few days off for Mark, Mark B and Anna with an Outer Hebridean Cruise starting today. Guests boarded on the North Pier this afternoon with Hjalmar Bjorge heading north up the Sound of Mull and into Loch na Droma Buidhe (Drumbuie) for the first night’s anchorage.

:: news from the previous month [ July ’12 ]