Monday, 10 November 2014

Easy Easdale? I don't think so!

Rainbow over Mull
 We set off with a mad dash up the road in order to get to the Oyster Bar in Ellenabeich before we were too late for supper. Andy, Alan and Moira were already there, with Alice and Ansgar arriving just behind us.
Setting off for our night paddle!
Good food and a great natter was the start to the weekend, it was now time for our night time, open crossing all the way over to Easedale. We set off in the pitch dark and headed for a light ( thought it was possibly the light from the pub drawing us in), a bit closer to the island and after Alice had managed to bump into the only thing between the 2 patches of land, a big buoy, we found out the light was Alan blinding us with a big torch.
Safely ashore, we set off for Andy's to stay the night.
Hubby dear collecting juicy Brambles
Next morning the weather was mingin', it was blowing a hooley!
We opted for a wee walk up the hill on Easdale to have a better look. As we looked at all the whitehorses, it was decided if we could get over to Cuan Sound, we'd then get a bit of shelter. After a bit more humming and hawing, the sudden gust that nearly blew us off the top of the hill decided for us, that another cup of coffee was needed before we made any rash decisions like going out paddling!
Back down at Andy's, after watching a yacht struggle to get from Easdale down to Cuan, we thought we could do a shuttle down to Cuan and launch from there. Decision made, we set about loading the boats to get back over to the other side to where the cars were. Once in our boats, we reckoned we were just as well keeking round the corner to see how it was. It had calmed down a bit, so we decided just to head down and through Cuan Sound. The waves were fairly big, but really more swell than breakers.
Ansgar catching a lift in Andy's back hatch!

We stopped for a bite of lunch in the shelter of Ardinamir Bay before we headed down between Luing and Shuna. Another quick stop before battling into the wind again and across to Scarba, where yet another wee stretch of the legs was required.
Down by Luing
Crossing to Scarba
Next we headed north and past the opening of the Grey Dogs, not somewhere to get sucked into, it was boiling mad! We carried on up the side of Lunga and on towards Belnahua with it's crazy currents. Just as we were a few meters from landing, I realised I was paddling like blazes and still going backwards! I wasn't quite sure where I would end up or whether I would just paddle right round the island and come in from the other side, somehow I don't think it would be that easy. A last minute burst of energy gave me the oomph to cross the current and safely land.
Grey Dogs from a distance
Heading to Belnahua

Once there, tents up, we went off for a wee chat with the owners of the island who were busy working on one of the houses. They were quite happy with us taking bushes from the pile they had accumulated for our fire, really friendly folks. At least the breeze was keeping the midges at bay!
Next morning, Alan and Moira decided to head back home whilst the rest of us set off for the Garvellachs. We paddled down the outside of the chain as we hadn't managed the year before due to bumpy waters.
Hubby dear with a Mull behind
2 posers!
Bubble baths
The way through
Ansgar on the other side
Me, made it!
We cut through the rocks at the bottom of the chain, where the water was fairly lumpy once again. We rounded the corner and were back in the shelter of the bay below the monastery.

After lunch, we set back off with a gentle swell pushing us back towards the Grey Dogs, but not before we spotted a couple of dolphins. Thankfully the Grey Dogs were in a better mood today, more like little puppies!
Approaching the Grey Dogs again
Once again we headed back up the side of Lunga, deciding to have a wee visit to Fladda.
 When we arrived, there was another small group of kayakers there. We had a wee wander around and met and had a nice chat with a young gentleman, who, it seems was staying on the island doing a bit of work. We were enjoying a seat in the sunshine and another blether, when the gentleman's brother appeared (not the owner of the island), asking us quite brusquely to leave the island. There were no signs to say anywhere was private, we hadn't even realise anyone actually stayed on the island until we spoke to the first brother. We explained we were just having a rest before heading on and wouldn't be long. Off he went to tell the other group to move, coming back to us to ask why we were still there!
 We were only a few hundred meters from where we had started out that morning. On Belnahua, the reception was completely different, very friendly and chatty, unlike the nasty, unreasonable bloke on Fladda!
Heading back to Easdale
A fairly speedy paddle / surf back up to Easdale finished off yet another excellent weekends paddling, with as usual, great company and a great laugh as well!
A huge thanks to Andy once again.