Fri 7 Sep | Otter spotting  The wind had dropped completely this morning and the rain had also stopped. Loch Spelve was very still and otters seemed to be everywhere. Otter-spotting was a lovely way to spend the last morning before Hjalmar Bjorge cruised back in to Oban where farewells were bade. Below (left) the quiet calm of Loch Spelve this morning (right) Hjalmar Bjorge reflected in Loch Spelve, both by Mark Henrys

Thu 6 Sep | Same soggy sea eagle spotted a second time  Rain started early this morning and didn’t let up all day. Hjalmar Bjorge left Loch Sunart and cruised down the Sound of Mull with a near gale blowing. There was a stopover at Loch Aline for lunch after which a few intrepid guests took a brief walk ashore.

Departing the Loch the same soggy sea eagle was spotted again, perched in the same place on the Grey Isles. Mark slowed the boat for a better look and everyone got a fantastic view of him on his perch and then taking off. The boat continued down the Sound of Mull, ending the day in Loch Spelve where there were occasional views of otters at play and feeding.

Wed 5 Sep | Scallops for tea  Hjalmar Bjorge headed south through the Kyles of Lochalsh this morning with a brief stop for shelter at Mallaig. Here the crew berthed the boat on the new harbour pontoons and the guests explored the town. The pontoons are a fantastic development and have brought much new trade to this isolated location.

After lunch alongside the boat departed and continued down the Sound of Sleat with a large westerly swell running. South of Eigg there were two brief sightings of a minke whale feeding quite close to the boat. Hjalmar Bjorge anchored in Loch Drumbuie, just in time for skipper Mark to have a quick dive, and collect some scallops for this evening’s starter. Yummy!

The anchorage was blissfully calm and the skies were clear so a few guests decided to stay up and see if the Northern Lights were visible. Unfortunately they didn’t appear although there was much phosphorescence in the water.

Tue 4 Sep | “Kirk” kicks off  Last night was very windy indeed, the boat experiencing the full force of what was left of “Kirk”. It was bright and clear this morning although overnight’s brisk wind remained. Hjalmar Bjorge departed Plockton, heading north once more past The Crowlins, so everyone got a chance to see the feeding porpoise once more. After cruising through Caol Rona (the passage between Raasay and Rona) the boat turned south, where crew anchored, and lunch was taken in Flodday harbour. After lunch it was on to Portree where guests had a short walk ashore. Departing Portree, Hjalmar Bjorge then headed back under the Skye bridge, to Loch na Beiste which was to be the evening’s anchorage.

Mon 3 Sep | Plentiful porpoise  The forecast this morning wasn’t great as the west coast of Scotland was being subjected to the tail end of tropical storm “Kirk”. Hjalmar Bjorge departed Isleornsay and cruised through the Kyles of Lochalsh, under the Skye Bridge, and on to The Crowlin Isles. The waters to the east of Eilean Mor were teeming with harbour porpoise. Dozens were feeding as the vessel passed by and there were great views of them. Porpoise are fairly solitary creatures and it was unusual to see so many together.

After lunch guests went ashore for a quick walk on Eilean Mor before the boat left The Crowlins making the short passage to Plockton. A few brave guests went ashore here, in squalls, for a short walk before dinner.

Sun 2 Sep | Rafts of shearwaters  Hjalmar Bjorge departed Tobermory this morning rounding Ardnamurchan Point with a good swell running from the SW. South of Eigg the boat encountered huge rafts of shearwaters who seemed to be enjoying the rough conditions. Entering Loch Nevis there was another very good view of a sea eagle soaring above the vessel. The boat was anchored off Inverie for lunch and thereafter guests went ashore for the afternoon. After they returned the crew lifted the anchor and Hjalmar Bjorge departed from Loch Nevis, anchoring overnight at Isleornsay on Skye. Right: sea eagle over Loch Nevis by Mark Henrys

Sat 1 Sep | Sodden sea eagle sighted  Mark, Mark, Sarah and Tiree greeted guests on the North Pier this afternoon. The boat set off, in very wet weather, for Tobermory. Passing the Grey Isles everyone had a good view of a (rather sodden) sea eagle perched on the high point of the rocks.

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