Wednesday, 28 August 2013

An Otter in Port na Luinge

If we only want to kayak a short distance but we're looking for marine life, the area around Port na Luinge, the port of the ship, is an ideal place to go.

But Sunday's trip produced a very special sighting as we rounded the southern tip of Glas Eilean - an otter who seemed not to have seen us even though he had surfaced within five metres of the kayaks.  In fact, he came up twice more before he suddenly realised there was something wrong, and then he did what otters are so adept at doing: he simply disappeared.

We've had close encounters with otters before.  Their eyesight when they're on the surface is poor so, as long as we don't move, they don't seem to see us, however bright the colour of our boats; and, when they dive, we can use the paddles to move, as long as we do it slowly.

There are always grey seals in the bay, sometimes as many as forty or fifty.  On a fine day they're lying on one of the small islets off Port na Luinge, and reluctantly take to the water when we approach.  For as long as we're around two or three of them keep watch on us.

For an hour or so either side of high tide it's possible to kayak between Glas Eilean and the mainland.  On Sunday we found three big lion's mane jellyfish sheltering in the gap but when we returned to take some pictures they had disappeared.  They obviously have some control of where they go, and it may be that they took off after one of them was inadvertently hit by one of the kayaks.

It's a wonderful time of year to be out paddling on a sunny day, with the water like glass and the hills on fire with the flowering of the heather.

An interactive version of the map is here.

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