August and September followed a different pattern to our spring and early summer trips as we had a good number of shorter bookings. It was a good chance to see how these cruises worked compared to the longer trips.
During August we ran two lunch cruises – both fortuitously on superb sunny days – one down the Kylerhea to Sandaig Bay for a group of four local friends and another to the Kishorn Islands for a mother and daughter who were visiting from the Netherlands.
Sandaig Bay was stunning, with views back across to Skye and quite a number of seals to entertain us. Our guests were able to have a leisurely lunch on the aft deck before we had to head back up Kylerhea. A really lovely day out.
On the Kishorn trip it was so still and the water was too inviting for a teenager to not want to jump in! Just as Kira was about to brave it along came a massive jelly fish with very long tentacles… suddenly swimming wasn’t looking so good but with the three adults keeping jellyfish watch around the decks she finally made it in and did a couple of laps of the boat.
We also did our first ‘ Night at anchor’ cruise for local couple Christine & Kevin who run their own B&B on Skye. It is a curious thing that hosting for people who do a similar thing to us – whether it’s hospitality or professional sailing- can be rather nerve wrecking. Luckily Christine & Kevin were lovely and we had a great evening together. The trip was a birthday surprise so the next day, Kevin’s birthday, he had a fun ( and full!) breakfast onboard opening all his pressies before we slowly made our way from Poll Domhain back to Kyle.
For the rest of August we ran a series of two and three night cruises. All of these trips were north of Skye Bridge and included exploration up the Wester Ross and Skye coasts as well as visits to Rona and Raasay islands. We established a kind of triangular route which could vary as to direction and take in a number of different anchorages in between.
This month definitely saw a bonanza of wildlife spottings from our now famous Raasay Dolphins ( video on Facebook!), plenty of seals, pods of porpoises ( mainly close to the Crowlin Islands), sea- eagles off Rona and the Skye coast – and the fabulous otter which was swimming and feeding in Churchton Bay by Raasay. The weather overall was pretty good – not exactly the dog days of summer but good enough to enjoy being on deck to spot the wildlife and do some fabulous exploring ashore.
September was a very mixed month for weather with the equinox bringing some strong winds and cooler temperatures. We ran another lunch cruise, this time down to Eilean Donan castle. Red Moon’s cosy wheelhouse and galley- salon came into it’s own as we sailed through a rain shower or two. Luckily it turned sunny as we neared the castle so there was a good photo opportunity moment. As if to make up for the rain a very active pod of porpoises greeted us as we crossed the top of the Kylerhea where the tidal effects can create confused water.
Another birthday surprise ‘ Night at anchor ‘ cruise took place this month and this time we cruised down to the Kishorn Islands and anchored there for the night. This is a rather wonderful spot with panoramic views of the Applecross mountains, the harbour at Plockton and views across to the Cuillins on Skye. More obliging porpoises completed the return trip the next morning. Our guests were Rupert & Lin, another local couple who live and work on Skye and it was lovely to talk to them and learn more about life ashore in this wonderful area. In both cases of these special one night trips the “surpriser ” managed to keep their surprises until they walked down to the Pontoons at Kyle and it was great being part of something so special!
We had three sets of guests from the United States this month and we loved showing them Skye ‘ from the sea’ as well as the other fabulous parts of this special place – the lochs and coves of Lochalsh and Wester Ross and the islands off Skye.
Another local couple joined us early in the month – they also live in Zimbabwe and have taken a number of cruises there, so they were at home on the water – albeit that the scenery and weather this time was very different. They had hoped to visit the Small Isles but wind and sea state did not favour going south from Kyle so, as ever with a plan B, Scott took us north under the Skye Bridge and we headed for Rona. On this trip we decided to make an evening stop at Eilean Fladday. Whilst windy, it was also a stunningly bright day and after a sail down from Rona, complete with sea eagle spotting, we had this interesting and atmospheric anchorage to ourselves.
We had stopped here earlier in August with some Swedish guests on a very misty evening and loved the private feel of the place. Sarah and Gunnar took the opportunity to hike ashore on Raasay and visit Calum’s Road – a proper road built entirely by one man who realised in a big way “ if you want something doing, do it yourself”…
A couple more short trips completed our September activity – another birthday surprise, but this time a short day cruise complete with smoked salmon platter and bubbles and then an evening cruise with local beers and canapés for a film crew who were shooting on Skye.
After the lovely Indian summer we had in October 2016 we thought we would stay in Kyle a little longer and in many ways this worked out well as we had another three night booking from a charming Portuguese family who were very taken with Red Moon and just loved the scenery – so different from what they were used to at home.
Whilst waiting to leave Kyle we were at anchor one morning in Loch Na Beastie when Scott heard a dog barking ashore. This went on for sometime and so we had a look through the binoculars and could see ‘ a spaniel type dog’ – even at this distance he didn’t look like a working type dog. So being dog fanatics we had to check this out! We took Dougie, our tender, ashore and sure enough – not a spaniel but a gorgeous young red setter. He was shy of us at first but eventually gentle coaxing brought him to us and he was obviously well cared for and we guessed, missing from home.
He was very happy to come in the tender and on our way over to Kyle we sent out a Facebook message. It didn’t take long to get some responses and a phone call to the local vet confirmed a red setter had been missing for two days! Within a couple of hours the power of social media brought Paddy’s owners to us and they were overjoyed to be reunited. A very happy finale to our season in Skye and Lochalsh.
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