Monday, 6 June 2011

Loch Fyne and the Minard Buoys

After exploring Lachlan Bay from the water, I then headed back towards Minard to have a closer look at the Islands in the centre of Loch Fyne. They are not so noticeable when you drive along the side of the loch but once on the water, they cover a considerable area at low water and are a navigational danger for the unwary boatman at high tide when most of the reef is under water.

The reef is marked on the Minard side by a tall thin green marker buoy and there was a bit of a tidal flow between it and the mainland, however it was not a problem for the 4HP outboard engine even at trolling speed tickover.

As I rounded the green buoy I began to see my ignorance of the seaway code ? I remember from schoolboy days that starboard is green and is on the right hand side of the boat as I look forward. So I presumed that to avoid the reef, I should keep the green buoy on my right hand side ? Yup.. that works if Im heading up the loch to Inverary.. im then boating in the channel. But if I was heading down the loch towards Lochgilphead and kept the green buoy on my right then Im boating over the reef ? Hmmm ... perhaps its to do with which way the tide is flowing too .. I guess I should read up on the rules of the sea :-D

The reef which is exposed at low tide runs across almost a third the width of the loch, from the green buoy to the rocky outcrop islands of Eilean Fraoch and Eilean Aoghainn. The submerged part is called An oitir which is from the Gaelic for “the shallows”

Here you can see the seagulls nesting on Eilean Aoghainn which is at the other end of the shallows. You can see the red triangular marker buoy to the right of the island in the photo. Remembering that red is port and on the left hand side of my boat, I gave up wondering which side I should pass this buoy if I was heading for Lochgilphead, as my head was starting to go round in circles trying to figure it all out.

Standing on the island of Eilean Fraoch was a crowd of Cormorants. One male and four females to be exact. I wondered if they were having an argument as not one bird looked at any other, they all stood with their backs to one another. Perhaps they were arguing over port and starboard too ?

In between the rocks and sitting on the shallows, this family looked as if they didn’t care less which side I passed on. They seemed more interested in knowing if I was catching any fish ....

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