NEWS FROM NORTHERN LIGHT CHARTERS :: AUGUST 2012 :: NEWEST NEWS FIRST

Fri 31 Aug | 11 leave at 11  Hjalmar Bjorge was alongside in Oban by 0915 this morning with brunch served shortly thereafter. Guests waved good-bye to Tim, Mark, Sarah and Tiree around 11am. The boat is out again tomorrow, with skipper/owner Mark onboard.

Thu 30 Aug | Walk and wedding celebration  A lazy, late breakfast this morning after which the crew took Hjalmar Bjorge to Ardtornish enabling the guests to go ashore and walk to Loch Aline. Some opted for the adventurous route over the hill and fences (finally getting a lift from the estate manager) whilst others took the easy route seeing an eagle at close quarters. Once the tide was high enough the boat was tied to the pontoon in Lochaline which provided a good excuse for everyone to go the pub. Back onboard Pam and Dave’s 38th wedding anniversary was celebrated with Prosecco and an excellent cake made by Tiree. Above right: Ship’s Dog (aka Fatty) directing the crew, by Sarah Kirk

Wed 29 Aug | Top marks Tiree!  Another early start to catch the best weather window with Hjalmar Bjorge alongside in Tobermory by midday. A sea eagle was seen off Ardmore Point again. The crew found a great excuse to have a celebratory lunch in Café Fish as Tiree had just received her exam results from mum Gaynor – all As and A*s. Well done Tiree! We’re all proud of you. Right: the two youngest crew members this week (Ship’s Dog and Tiree) by Sarah Kirk

Tue 28 Aug | Boat-bound  There was an early start this morning for Hjalmar Bjorge to catch the tide at Kylerhea and get into Isleornsay before it started to blow hard again. Unfortunately it was too rough to get ashore at any point today.

Mon 27 Aug | Day on Skye  Guests went ashore in Portree for the day today as a gale was blowing from the south. Some went to Carbost for a Talisker Whisky Distillery tour while others walked around the Black Rock and had some retail therapy. Hjalmar Bjorge went alongside for water in the afternoon where no landing fee was charged so many thanks to Ronnie for this courtesy.

Sun 26 Aug | Six unidentified dolphins  There was a bad forecast for Monday and Tuesday broadcast this morning so it was decided to head back across the Minch, around Rubha Hunish, the northernmost point of the Isle of Skye, to the small island of Rona. Six dolphins (not sure what, neither common nor bottlenose) were seen plus one nuclear submarine. Tim was rather unhappy that guests were landed at Acarsaid Mhor on Rona only to be immediately harassed for a landing fee. He has been going there for 40 years and never previously encountered this kind of “welcome”. After everyone returned he took Hjalmar Bjorge into Portree for the evening. Below: Hjalmar Bjorge in Acarsaid Mhor on Rona, both by Sarah Kirk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sat 25 Aug | Whole whale skeleton discovered  It was calm and sunny this morning as Hjalmar Bjorge set off for Taransay although the breeze picked up on the way. The guests went ashore with a packed lunch while Sarah, Tiree and Isobel went swimming (nutters!). An intact whale skeleton was found on the beach plus the pectoral fin bone from a sperm whale.

After everyone returned to the boat, it went back through the Sound of Harris in the evening. Tim was hoping to reach Loch Rodel but there was too much swell so he went into Cheese Bay on North Uist instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above (left) sperm whale pectoral fin bone (right) whale skeleton, both on Taransay, both photos by Sarah Kirk

Fri 24 Aug | Five orcas join Hjalmar Bjorge!  Hjalmar Bjorge left Canna at 0845 this morning on a flat calm sea. Bound for Lochboisdale, five orcas joined the boat for about half an hour. Wow! After lunch guests went ashore for four hours. Tim took the boat up to Loch Skiport for the evening with one minke whale seen on the way plus loads of porpoise and lots of fish as well. It was a beautiful, picturesque evening. Below: orca beside Hjalmar Bjorge by Sarah Kirk

Thu 23 Aug | Sea eagles and shore visits  Hjalmar Bjorge departed Tobermory at 0845 this morning. An otter was seen as the boat was leaving then three sea eagles were spotted off Ardmore Light. Guests went ashore at Loch Scresort on Rum with packed lunches. Their three hour shore visit included a tour of Kinloch Castle. Next Tim motored the vessel round to Canna harbour and tied up alongside for the evening enabling the guests to go ashore for the second time today.

Wed 22 Aug | Late leaving, Tobermory bound  Tim, Mark, Sarah and Tiree met 11 guests in Oban this afternoon. Getaway was a little later than planned with Hjalmar Bjorge cruising up the Sound of Mull for a night on the mooring in Tobermory harbour this evening.

Fri 17 Aug | Focus on St Kilda finishes  Hjalmar Bjorge returned to Oban this morning as usual, berthing on the North Pier. Guests departed after Mark B’s monster brunch. Chef Mark will be onboard for the next trip, as will crew Sarah, joined by Tiree, and Tim will be skippering.

Thu 16 Aug | Rain, rain, go away (and it did!)  After a hearty breakfast this morning Hjalmar Bjorge departed the Outer Hebrides in fairly dreadful conditions; incessant rain and a very strong southerly wind. The guests seemed to enjoy the ride though. The crew heard frequent whoops from the girls sat on the back deck as water splashed over the bow and sides of the boat and ran down the decks to the aft.

The skies started to brighten off Neist Point and all aboard enjoyed the exhilarating spectacle of a large group of common dolphins charging toward the vessel as it bashed through the swell. Lunch was taken on the move, in the lee of Canna, with the boat making for Tobermory. Mark was able to secure a berth on the pontoons which enabled guests to easily get ashore for walks and no doubt a few visits to local hostelries.

 

Wed 15 Aug | Cloud cover cleared at Kilda  Early morning forecasts this morning were pretty grim with gale force easterlies expected soon. There was one bonus, however, as the cloud had disappeared and there were amazing views of the whole of Hirta. Hjalmar Bjorge cruised round the stacs in bright sunshine before crew and guests departed from St Kilda, bound for the (hopefully) tranquil Loch Eyport. Arrival was at 1730 following a fairly lumpy run through the Little Minch. Below (left) Boreray (right) Soay Sound, St Kilda. Above, right: Hjalmar Bjorge at Stac Lee, all by Mark Henrys

 

 

 

 

 

Tue 14 Aug | Minke in Village Bay, Kilda  Hjalmar Bjorge left the Monach Islands at 0730 sharp, bound for St Kilda this morning. The wind was still fresh from the SSE so the journey was somewhat lumpy, relieved by common dolphins joining the boat, to play under the bow, about half way across. Village Bay was rather swelly upon arrival and crew immediately got the guests ashore. The cloud cover was very low (just above the village head dyke) with occasional drizzle and it stayed like this for the day. Our guests bravely spent the whole day on Hirta, with a packed lunch, despite seeing very little of the archipelago under the cloud. Day boat guests would have seen even less with no additional opportunity for further exploration tomorrow.

Guests returned to Hjalmar Bjorge in the early evening. From the shore they had spotted a minke whale in the bay, feeding very close to our boat. Everyone enjoyed a really close encounter with the whale when crew collected them from the pier in the Zodiac and returned them to Hjalmar Bjorge. Fabulous! Right: Lesser black backed gull which escorted Hjalmar Bjorge on part of it’s journey, photo by Mark Henrys

Mon 13 Aug | Mooch at the Monachs  The very strong SE winds that had been anticipated did indeed materialise today. By breakfast there were gusts up to Force 7. Everyone agreed it was a good idea to stay put so visits to two of the islands in the Monachs group were quickly planned: Ceann Ear in the morning then, after lunch, Ceann Iar. Guests enjoyed both the landings.

Sun 12 Aug | Dolphins, dolphins and more dolpins  Hjalmar Bjorge departed Tobermory at 0700 with breakfast taken underway. Off Coll the boat was joined by about a dozen common dolphins who played happily under the bow for around 10 minutes. A strengthening SE wind was pushing Hjalmar Bjorge along near the approach to the Sound of Barra so it was a relief to get in to the comparative shelter of the Sound and have the guests look out for the regular bottlenoses who frequently join the boat in this location. Sure enough, much to the delight of Phoebe and Jasmine (aged 16 and 12), the dolphins escorted Hjalmar Bjorge through the Drovers Channel as usual.

Running north to the Monachs the boat was joined by another group of common dolphins although, since they were feeding, they didn’t really show any interest in the vessel. It was easy to follow the group’s course by watching the dozens of gannets diving into the water around them. Mark, Mark and Sara anchored Hjalmar Bjorge at 1730 in Croic Harbour on the north side of the Monach Islands. Just before dinner was served, guests spotted a golden eagle over the trig point on Ceann Iar.

Sat 11 Aug | Raucous raft race  Guests boarded Hjalmar Bjorge on the North Pier this afternoon on what was a lovely sunny day. Whilst embarking, both guests and crew had a grandstand view of the annual Oban raft race which provided a great deal of amusement to the spectators. The boat left Oban and moored at Tobermory for the evening and overnight.

Fri 10 Aug | Wonderful week of weather!  Hjalmar Bjorge returned to Oban this morning with the crew saying good-bye to this trip’s guests after brunch. Mark commented that, weather-wise, it might have been the best cruise he’s ever delivered and the guests were a delight.

news from earlier this month [aug 12]