Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Gigha and some Craro Bull

Leaving Cara behind, we headed round the southern tip of Gigha to paddle up the exposed west coast of the island. The swell was still quite big and sometimes we lost sight of one another between waves.

I think that’s when my brother started worrying about me because I presume he hoisted a sail so I could see him at all times.

On a more serious note, I should say that a journey like this should not to be taken lightly or by the inexperienced, even in fair weather. My two experienced kayak companions were equipped with VHF radios, GPS devices that send a signal for assistance if a certain button sequence is followed, flairs and a lot more safety gear. As a learner, my safety equipment consisted of a road map and some band aid plasters. Did I also mention the mobile phone that couldn’t get a signal? Lessons learned.

Douglas’s sail soon took the wind out of Phil’s sail when he passed him without so much as a stroke of work from his paddle. I guess Phil can say he is the only one of us who paddled unassisted, the whole way round Gigha and Cara.

We were now approaching the Island of Craro and another local legend.

Craro has a rock formation shaped like a bull. It is said that when a local ship was stopped by pirates, a cabin boy who was facing death asked God to bless his mother in Gigha. To prove he came from the island, the pirate captain asked him which direction the Craro bull faced and, when told north-east, the boy was spared from the sword as the pirate also had family on Gigha. The same pirate is also said to have buried a cache of gold at Ardlamy Farm on Gigha

It all sounds a load of bull to me as I couldn’t see any rock shape other that the island.

I must admit that Douglas and his kayak looked as pretty as a picture as he sailed towards the Paps of Jura.

It seems that even the local seals had to look twice to believe their eyes at this unusual trio on their Incredible Journey.

This cormorant couldn’t wait to take off and tell his companions about the strange sight heading their way.

But cormorants being cormorants, the rest of them were not really interested in us. They were too busy looking for something a little more fishy

That’s when I caught my first fish of the day. I guess I was going a bit too fast when it took the hook as I unintentionally loosened its lip. I don’t eat Pollock so without touching the fish, it was easy to turn the lure and set it free to fight another day. Its lip will heal quite quickly but if you touch a fish with greasy hands they can cause disease to a fish and it can die later. I think this one was around the two pound in weight.

Meanwhile my two companions missed all the commotion as they paddled northwards towards the next instalment.

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