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News from May

A white tailed sea eagle perched on a cliffside nest, feeding a fluffy grey chick.

The biggest item of news for us this season has been that annual maintenance work on the Lady Anne grew into a bit of a monster, culminating in the engine being hoisted out and sent to Inverness for reconditioning. Under normal circumstances this would translate as No Engine – No Trips! But happily a good Samaritan stepped in and for the last three weeks it has been business as usual using said Samaritan's boat, the iconically named Happy Splash! Thanks Chippy!

A small boat motoring into a harbour under a blue sky and with a rocky and rugged Uist landscape in the background

Nye was away in March getting his skipper’s certificate in Largs, so now he can not only navigate around the bays, reefs and channels in our local area (which he could do before), but now do so at night too whilst dealing with random imaginary emergencies such as “ your boat has lost power and someone appears to have fallen overboard”. Everything was much easier when I got my skipper’s ticket! Anyway, having two skippers gives us much more flexibility and freshens the whole operation up a bit, as well as allowing for more trips this year.

Looking into the cabin of a small white boat at sea, where someone can be made out behind the wheel

You will have noticed too that we have renamed our “ Boat Trips” as “ Wildlife Cruises” this being an attempt to convey the essence of the experience we offer – a two hour glide through our beautiful landscape, maximizing the opportunities for seeing creatures of land, sea and air. We are never in a hurry and frequently pause to watch and take photographs of the deer, the seals, the sea birds.

Three red deer swimming in the sea, close to shore, with a rugged and uninhabited Scottish landscape behind them

We are so lucky that not just one but two pairs of white tailed eagles have nested nearby this year and both nests have chicks on them, meaning the adults are seldom far away. And scarcely a day goes by without sightings of the golden eagle as well. Last week we saw both species every day, as well as a peregrine falcon with chicks on the days we visited Benbecula, and daily sightings of all three divers, - red throated, black throated and great northern. Our biggest thrill was on Friday when we watched a large minke whale swimming slowly but purposefully beside us.

So many sights to see!

The fin of a minke whale breaking the water in a cold, blue sea, with a rocky coast line in the background

a beautiful black and white male eider duck, taking off from calm grey water, so still that its reflection is almost unbroken

a white tailed sea eagle with wings spread against a grey sky. It is so close that every feather can be seen.

a peregrine falcon flying against a grey sky, captured in beautiful detail, its mottled feathers are clearly visible

With many thanks to Rebecca Douglas for the photos of the birds, deer and Nye behind the wheel. And to Lesley Robb for the photo of the minke whale.



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