Focus on St Kilda Expedition 30th July 2016
Our fourth (and last of the year) St Kilda expediton departed on 30th July. We’re delighted to have reached, and landed at, St Kilda on all of our planned expeditions this year! Skipper Tim gives his account of the cruise, and he has also included some great photos!
Saturday afternoon and another 11 guests join HBJ for a 6 night St Kilda experience. One repeat guest with her two sons, a couple who had been on Challice, but after Mark had sold her, a group from Germany and a couple who have a croft up Loch Seaforth on Harris where the only access is by foot or boat. Crew is Tim, Linda and Craig back for a quick trip.
First night it’s up the Sound of Mull to the mooring in Tobermory and Lamb chops for dinner. Early morning start to aim for the elusive Isles. After last summer’s winds this summer aiming for 100 percent and it looks likely. However once out past Ardnamurchan point forecast still giving out NW so going to be hard work from Barra to Village Bay. Instead course is made for the Sound of Harris with Taransay being the anchorage for the night. A couple of Minke Whales spotted off Oisgeir light and Common Dolphins. The sun came out off Neist Point and the Minch was calm enough.
Anchor down at Taransay and all guests ashore for walks and swims. Beautiful sunset after dinner of fish pie.
Early start again monday morning but it’s calm on the way over to Village Bay. A close encounter is had with a Sunfish right by the side of the boat and a couple of Minkies also. Anchor down in the Bay at 1030 and all guests ashore in bright sunshine.
Sunny day meant that guests and crew swam in the bay late afternoon and it was warm. (Believe me). Bit of a drama as the landing craft, there to deliver fuel, decided to have an encounter with one of the dayboat tenders when it surprised it by heading for the pier and half ran it over.
Back on board for a tour round the Stacks. Still thousands of Puffins on the water and still flyiing in and out of their nests. An odd Gannet or two were also spotted as was a fulmar which surprisingly miss timed its flypast of the bow and hit it much to its surprise, then the anchor was dropped back in Village Bay to end a perfect day.
Another early start as the forecast wind went easterly which meant the Bay was starting to get uncomfortable as we left. Beautiful sunrise and the sea flattened out after the Monarchs. No sign of the Barra Boys as we came through the Sound of Barra and tied up in Acarsaig on Eriskay. Quiche, salad and cheese for lunch followed by walks which became somewhat damp. Sad sight of a dead baby Bottlenose Dolphin on the beach where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed all those years ago.
Lie in on Wednesday (much to Craig’s surprise) and it’s low cloud but calm as passage is made to Neist Point with Common Dolphins bow riding for a while. Then along the cliffs, and judging by the size of the waterfalls there has been some rain on Skye. Past MacLoeds Maidens, reputed to be a former MacLoeds chiefs wife and 2 daughters who were drowned and across to the cliffs at the entrance to Bracadale where we are treated to a Sea Eagle fly past. Then up the loch to anchor off Carbost.
Walks ashore and drinks in the pub and an admission that we had some geocache seekers aboard with one above the village.
North westerly wind blows us down to Rum by 1030 on thursday morning with Common Dophins and Golden Eagles at the entrance to Loch Scresort. Castle as always is too busy for tours, getting ready to go fishing this time. Still a great Island to visit, just wish they would get their act together to raise revenue for looking after the castle.
Then it’s down to Tobermory late afternoon for a sunny evening and birthday cake.
Friday and its a calm quick motor down to Oban for breakfast and farewells.