St Kilda Cruise, May 2016
An eager group of guests joined Hjalmar Bjorge in Oban for our first St Kilda cruise, welcoming them aboard were myself, Eszter and Mark Brading. We had a lovely cruise up the Sound of Mull and spent our first evening in Tobermory. One of the guests was aboard to celebrate her 60th birthday and fizz and snacks were enjoyed on the aft deck before dinner.
We made an early departure the next morning, throwing off the mooring line at 0500. We crossed the Sea of the Hebrides in fantastic conditions and had numerous sightings of Common Dolphins which all appeared to be from the same huge group. Passing through the Sound of Barra we kept a close watch for any sign of the resident Bottlenose Dolphins but sadly none appeared. The run north to Kilda yielded one brief sighting of a Minke whale before we dropped anchor in Village Bay shortly after 5pm. The new engines are wonderful!
Monday morning, after a quick breakfast we landed our passengers with packed lunches, they enjoyed the tranquility of the bay before the arrival of the day boats and a cruise liner. It was a glorious day to explore the island, most of the guests returning to the bay after the departure of the day trippers. In the bay, Hjalmar Bjorge on anchor was accompanied by a superb French yacht called ‘Alondre’. After dinner we were joined aboard for drinks by the yacht owner Rabbie and his crew Bill, a lovely evening!
Tuesday morning, despite poor weather we lifted anchor and rounded Hirta via Soay Sound before running out to Stac Lee and a tour round Boreray. Conditions were hardly perfect but all the guests enjoyed the short cruise before returning to Village Bay for lunch. It was rather lumpy in the bay and we waved bon voyage to Alondre as she departed the bay bound for Scarp. That afternoon the weather improved and we once again got the guests ashore, that evening Hjalmar Bjorge was the sole vessel on anchor in Village Bay.
Wednesday morning saw us depart St Kilda bound for the Sound of Harris and Canna. Our journey saw improving weather and sea conditions, which allowed a number of sightings of Minke Whales, Common and Whitebeak dolphins. We arrived at Canna in time for the guests to go ashore for a walk before dinner, a lovely evening with the resident grey seals bobbing up beside the boat looking for snacks.
Our cruise back to Oban was once again via Tobermory, here guests spent the afternoon, exploring, shopping and sampling the delights of the local distillery. A great start to our St Kilda cruises!
DID YOU KNOW?
The first signs of habitation on Hirta (the largest island in the St Kilda archipelago and the only one you can really land on) are thought to have occurred c. 600 AD.