Monday, 19 September 2011

Moidart and limping into the port at Glenuig

I don’t know of it was the thought of third breakfast or first lunch that kept us going, but it didn’t take long to get back to the sandy bays of Port Achadh an Aonaich. The sun had been trying to break through the thin ceiling of cloud and temperatures were rising. I guestimated that Douglas must have paddled around 10 miles that morning and must have been sweltering in his dry suit with the exertion. I can’t blame him for going swimming before eating.

Sadly, perhaps because of the numbness of the cold water, or perhaps because of the stiffness in his legs from being cooped up in a kayak so long, he stood on something sharp in the water and lacerated his toe. He never mentioned anything to me as he sheepishly limped ashore and disappeared behind a sand dune. The first I knew of the accident was when he shouted and asking if I could bring his first aid box from his kayak. Thats when I went to see what was wrong.

Call me a coward if you must... I can gut and eat fish no problem ... but I go all cold and faint at the sight of warm red blood. I got Douglas his first aid box but could do no more than hand it over as deep dark liquid spurted onto the sand. I’m just glad Douglas is from a medical background and knew what to do. I went back to taking photographs to keep my mind off the wound. I’m just glad there were no sharks around the bay where he was swimming as the water still looked very red to me.

I tried to eat my raspberry jam sandwiches that I had prepared for lunch earlier but didn’t enjoy them. Half an hour later Douglas limped out from behind the sand dune and said poetically, “Don’t look so worried Donald, I have managed to stop the flow and I think it’s now time to go”

I think I was more relieved than Douglas when he clambered back into his kayak and we left Port Achadh an Aonaich and a pint or two of his best blood behind.

I learned from that lesson too as I often travel alone without so much as a bandage. I now carry a first aid kit.

We cruised leisurely northwards up the coast towards the sound of Arisaig and were just rounding the point towards Samalaman Island when I hit a shoal of mackerel in 133 ft deep water

I let the outboard engine tick over as I wound the first rod in and landed the mackerel. I started winding the second rod in when the outboard died on me. Try as I might, it just wouldn’t start again. The plug had oiled up with all the slow running of late.

I dropped the auxiliary engine and used it for the first time since getting the boat. Im lucky that the main engine didn’t die during the turbulent passage in the big waves as it proved very difficult trying to stear the boat with the auxiliary engines handle so close to the main. I will need to think about repositioning the auxiliary bracket before I get much older.

My boat limped into Glenuig bay under auxiliary engine power while Douglas limped ashore under his own power. It gave us an opportunity to attend to emergency repairs. I changed spark plugs while Douglas changed bandages. Unfortunately for me, I still couldn’t start the main engine so removed it and placed it in the bottom of the boat so I could steer better. Fortunately for Douglas, his toe didn’t start bleeding again so he didn’t have to remove it.

I noted with interest that there is a decent slipway at Glenuig bay, so if Im in the area again I could launch and recover here with no difficulty.

After examining the slipway, it was time for us both to limp off again.

Our plan was now to cross Loch Ailort at Eilean nan Gobhar ....


David A said...

Hi Donny, I am just after catching up with your trip. Fantastic, just fantastic. I hope Douglas didn’t hold you up too much! I was a bit disappointed that you didn’t get a picture of his lacerated toe. The fishing sounds as though it has been not bad. Did you manage to catch anything unusual? I launched at the slipway you have shown in the pictures. If I remember correctly you will only be able to launch and retrieve your boat when the tide is well up. The end of the slipway is vertical. I presumed you went into the Inn for a pint of the black stuff? Already I have been out with the OS maps following your route. There are some wonderful areas in this beautiful environment. Look forward to following the rest of the trip. Tight Lines.

David A

Donny Wilcox said...

Hi David.. good to see you back..reading your trip inspired this one ..but I didn't see the dolphins :-( You got some fantastic photos of them.

Plenty mackerel around but I didn't bottom fish. I saw quite a few sea trout in Loch Moidart and also in Morar bay..but none were stupid enough to swallow my rapala lure ... although a fellow camper caught a nice one spinning off the rocks at the campsite .. of course it was put back as sea trouts belong to the crown lol.