Saturday, 22 July 2017

Ships in the Sound

We're at the height of the cruising season now, with some very elegant ships passing, many of which we've seen before. However, some are new to us, like the Aegean Odyssey, pictured working her way through a small flotilla of yachts. A converted ferry carrying some 380 passengers, she is 'Voyages to Antiquity's' only ship, and is described as "perfectly suited for coastal cruising to the small inlets of the Mediterranean that larger ships cannot reach....and.... for navigating rivers, such as Spain’s Guadalquivir River and Gironde River in Bordeaux."

Star Pride passed us twice, the second time travelling down the Sound at dusk. German-built in 1988 for Seabourn Cruise Line she's another small ship, carrying just over 200 passengers, but is now operated by Windstar Cruises, link here, which also has ships like the Wind Surf.

A third cruise ship which is new to us is the Artania, another German-operated ship but much larger, carrying up to 1,260 passengers. Built in Finland and launched in 1984, she was originally named Royal Princess by Diana, Princess of Wales, in a ceremony at Southampton.

It hasn't always been ideal cruising weather. This is the ketch Irene passing Ardmore light in mist. She was built at Bridgwater, Somerset, in 1907 and, after a very varied career, is now available for private charter.

Beluga II is a Greenpeace vessel and is seen here on a voyage which made the headlines. She was looking for plastic and, unsurprisingly, found plenty of it both along Scotland's beaches as well as inside and wrapped around local marine wildlife.

Sometimes it is very difficult to identify a ship, even with the use of the AIS sites. The fine ship to the right is, I think, the sailing smack Betty CK145, built at Brightlingsea in Essex in 1906, CK being Colchester. Her original role as a fishing boat was to dredge for oysters in the shallow estuaries of Essex.

The motor yacht Wabi Sabi passed through the Sound on a voyage from Dublin to Copenhagen. She was recently on the market for $25,000,000. For that, you get a boat which she is capable of sprinting to 24 knots and has a range of over 4,000 nautical miles. There's no question that she is luxurious - see here - but I'm not sure how you'd get your moneys-worth out of her short of living aboard for the whole year.

By comparison, the Voe Jarl is a down-to-earth working boat which has spent several days at Marine Harvest's Maclean's Nose fish farm.

Another working boat seen locally is the Margaret Sinclair, here on her way in to Tobermory with Ben Hiant as a backdrop. She's a general purpose coastal landing craft operated by Inverlussa Marine Services, which also has....

....the Gina Mary, a multi-purpose aquaculture support vessel which the AIS sites call, rather unkindly, a 'tug'.

This fishing boat, at anchor in Kilchoan Bay, showed no registration numbers but one can just distinguish her name above the bridge. She's the Creachan Mor, OB26. The last time we saw her she was painted green - here.

This is one of our local creel boats, Justin Cameron's Harvester, at work off Mingary Castle surrounded by an appreciative flock of gulls.

Lastly, this is Staffa Tours' new boat Angus, a 16-metre catamaran which is seen leaving Mingary Pier for a trip to the Treshnish Islands. Staffa Tours must be doing well as they have yet another new boat, the Elsie, coming in to service shortly. They deserve their success: we thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Staffa and Lunga on board their Islander.

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