Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Ships in the Sound

If one did nothing but sit indoors and watch the ships sail through the Sound of Mull one would know we were plunging into winter.  The big cruise ships have gone, the few yachts seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere safe, and the dominant craft are fishing and cargo boats.

Usually we watch them from afar, but our recent visit to the Camas Glas fish farm - post here - gave us the opportunity to see the Harvest Caroline II close up, as she was delivering fish food to the C-Cap storage facility which pumps the food to the cages.

Mostly we've been watching cargo ships appear out of the murk, steam by, and disappear again.  This is the Arklow Raider, a relatively new ship having been launched in 2007, on her way to Liverpool.  The Arklow ships are a pleasure to see, smart in their green house colours - an appropriate shade since Arklow Shipping is not only based in Ireland but still registers its ships there rather than on Liberia or Bermuda.

The Scot Carrier is a slightly older ship, having been built in 1997, but, like the Arklow company, her owners, Scotline, are proudly based in Scotland, with their home port Inverness. Their specialism is the carrying of timber, which can be seen here neatly stacked on the Carrier's deck.  Her destination on this trip was Workington.

The Ben Maye is another British-registered  ship.  Her home port is Ramsey in the Isle of Man, and her owners are the Ramsey Steamship Company.  As the name suggests, this is an old company - it's been trading for ninety years.  They own just two coasting vessels, this one and the Ben Varrey.  The Ben Maye is an old boat, having been built in 1979, but the sad thing is the colour her company have chosen for the house livery.  While the Scot Carrier wears quite a smart grey, the Ben Maye's simply serves to camouflage her.

This CalMac ferry isn't one we've see before.  She's the Finlaggan, and she's seen hurrying north on Saturday to replace the usual Ullapool-Stornoway Isle of Lewis which had managed to wrap a length of creel rope around a propellor.  The Finlaggan is the newest ship in the CalMac fleet, having been launched in 2010 - but, sadly, she was built in Poland.

This rather cheerfully-painted yacht came up the Sound on the last day of September, which is about the last time we saw the sun, motored into Kilchoan Bay, and then motored out again.  We couldn't see a name on her, and she wasn't on the ShipAIS site, so we don't know her name, but the flag flown at her stern was interesting.  It resembled the usual red duster but, instead of a union jack in the corner, it had a saltire.

This fine yacht sailed past today with a stiff westerly behind her, and came close to the Ormsaigbeg shore as she was heading up Loch Sunart.  She's the Corryvreckan - see the owners' website here.  Built in 1990 for holiday cruises on the west coast of Scotland, she has five double-berth cabins for guests.  Her last scheduled sailing is on the 5th October on a trip entitled "Autumn Colours, Roaring stags and soaring Eagles".   With the weather we're enjoying at the moment, it might be quite an exciting trip.

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