Friday, 7 August 2015

Ships in the Sound

It seems appropriate, on Regatta Day, to publish our occasional 'Ships in the Sound' feature. The Diary does get feedback on some of its posts, and this one seems to be liked and disliked in equal measure.  So, with apologies to these for whom it is not their favourite....

It would be interesting to know whether Tobermory is having a good year for cruise ship visits, as it certainly seems from our side of the Sound. While this is the Star Legend, which called twice in the last month, some are much bigger....

....such as the Magellan. She, too, has been in the Sound twice in the last month.

It hasn't been ideal weather for cruising, so it may be that some of the passengers never got ashore, and for some visits.... with the Boudicca, the weather was.... dismal.

Most of the ships calling at the moment seem to sail from British ports, so they do offer the attraction of a no-fly cruise and, presumably, cheaper rates than foreign adventures, but the normal image of cruising is sunny skies and blue seas. Perhaps they market this as a 'mystery tour'.

The Wind Surf is one of three sister ships, the others being Wind Star and Wind Spirit. She's a ship we see most years, but we don't often see her come past under full sail, even on a day of very light winds. On wonders if the crew is a little nervous of putting them all up in unpredictable Scottish waters.

In contrast to these leviathans of the ocean, we've seen some fine small sailing ships in the last month, many of them from European countries.  The British Bessie Ellen has passed at least three times, but this is the Swedish ketch-rigged Atlantica.

Another was the Norwegian Anna AF Sand, a lovingly-restored sloop which was launched in 1848, seen here with the CalMac Lord of the Isles. She's literally a museum piece - read more about this beautiful little ship here.

Built in Britain, the Fair Lady dates back to the 1920s, and retains many of the period features from that time. She's rather different from the rest of the fleet of 'superyachts' chartered out by Burgess Yachts - have a look here - but you have to have money in your pocket to take her, to the tune of over £50,000 a week.

If there seem to be more cruise liners in the Sound, there also appear to be many less cargo ships. One reason may be that, at this time of year, the waters are littered with small yachts, which must be a nightmare to deal with. This ship, the Yeoman Bridge, however, is a regular and used to them. She's seen here heading north from Glensanda quarry with a load of aggregate on a beautiful, fine evening.

This is an increasingly rare sight, a ship of the Royal Navy - M107, HMS Pembroke. She's one of several minehunters we see in the Sound, particularly when there's an exercise to the north of us.

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