With spring the cruise ships start to appear in the Sound of Mull. They vary in size, with this one, the Lord of the Glens, carrying up to 54 passengers, at the smaller end of the scale - though by no means the smallest. She's seen here passing the Tobermory lifeboat she noses in to Tobermory pier. She looks modern, but she has thirty years of service behind her, having been launched in 1985.
Amongst the several much larger cruise ships is this old friend, the Marco Polo, which always seems to appear at this time of year. Although she's an old ship, having been launched in Germany in 1965 for a Russian shipping company, she's wearing her years well, looking smart as she passed Ardmore Point light in early May.
The ketch Tecla is at the small end of the cruising scale, accommodating up to twenty passengers and offering a different sort of cruising - passengers are part of the crew. Built in Holland in 1915, she spent her early years as a herring drifter. She cruises around European coasts from France north to Norway. Her website is here.
A steady stream of pleasure yachts, cruising on the smallest scale, has been passing us, particularly on finer days, but this one - seen here with the Fraserburgh trawler Independence on a rather mucky day - is a little different. She's the Silurian, the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust's dedicated research and education vessel. The HWDT's website is here.
After a winter that seemed to see rather fewer trawlers fishing the Sound, there have been more in recent weeks, some, like the Independence (previous picture), having spent several days here. This is the Caralisa, OB956, a twin rig trawler which fishes for prawns and sprats.
The Skog, meaning 'forest' in Norwegian, is a fairly regular visitor to these waters. Built in Croatia, she's Norwegian owned but registered in Cyprus. While many cargo ships today carry containers, some, like the Skog, are designed to carry pallets. The advantage of palletised cargoes appears to be that they offer secure and quick handling of relatively small amounts of freight.
The Fri Sea, none the worse for hitting the pier at Corpach during a gale a few months ago, is seen here fully loaded with a cargo of timber.
Ferguson Transport's Leslie Anne is the newest of their workboat acquisitions, a support vessel and landing craft capable of carrying up to 100 tonnes. She can carry goods to facilities like fish farms, but, as a landing craft, can deliver loads to beaches and other remote spots such as St Kilda. There are some good pictures of her delivering cargoes to a beach here.
CalMac's Coruisk provides their Mallaig to Armadale service in summer, but works on the Clyde in winter, so when we saw her pass northwards at the beginning of April she was probably repositioning. Built in Devon to an unusual design, she hasn't had an entirely trouble-free history - see here.