Ships are at their best when one is close up to or aboard them, when one can hear and feel and smell as well as see them, but there are circumstances in which such proximity is less fun - like when one is in a yacht becalmed in the middle of the Sound of Mull, as we were on Regatta day.
This is the small cruise ship Lord of the Glens, small so it can pass through the Caledonian Canal as well as venture out to sea, but it looks very big from a small yacht.
On the same day, travelling in the opposite direction during a shower of rain which arrived to add further pleasure to our becalmed state, we had a close-up view of the Leslie Anne, a fish farm support vessel which ferries fish food out to the salmon farms.
The Ronja Skye, seen here in close-up from the relative safety of the Tobermory-Kilchoan ferry, is a well boat which carries live salmon to and from the salmon cages. She's fully loaded, presumably carrying mature salmon to the processing plant at Mallaig.
It's not that reasonable pictures can't be taken from the shore, particularly if the ships come in close. In the last month we've had two scallop dredgers pass along the Ormsaigbeg shore. This one is BA842, Vervine, a frequent sight as she works out of Tobermory harbour, while....
....this one's new to us. The Scarlet Arrow, OB128, is a scallop dredger based in Oban. What I like about both these is that, although they're good, solid working boats, someone takes a pride in them which shows in their paintwork.
This is the PS Sea, a general cargo boat registered in the Bahamas. Like so many ships these days, she has had frequent changes of owner. She was the Arklow Sea until 2012, and as recently as this year was the Bbs Sea. To add to the complexity, while she's operated by Luxembourg company Pillar Shipping - from which, presumably, she gate the PS - she's operated by a Norwegian one. There's a great photo of her coping with some heavy weather on the Marine Traffic site, here.
This is the Flinter Atlantic, another general cargo ship. By comparison with the PS Sea, she has a very straightforward background, being owned and managed by the Dutch company Flinter, and she sails under a Dutch flag. The company makes very sure that information about its ships are readily available - look at the Flinter Atlantic's page on their website, here.