Ship bound, Outer Hebrides - Part 2 (of 3)

Outer Hebrides Travel Blog

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The trusted rope & pulley system..7 decks up!
Stranded in the Outer Hebrides...


The second installment of my journey is admittedly a little delayed as a result of the long days spent aboard the expedition ship.

However, hopefully now is better late than never?

I have now disembarked the expedition cruise ship after a some what interesting trip, as you might recall this is a castle, gardens and bird watching expedition; you will be glad to know at the begining of the trip I was fully educated in all things to do with lycon and moss, I have now far outdone myself and can almost admit to being a sea bird expert as a result of listening and part taking in numerous sea bird lectures whilst the weather has been less than favourable (gale force 8 to be precise).

Now when I mention taking part in lectures, I really do mean it.
And this is where we get to sit for the ride down..
Did you know that you can tell different groups of birds by the way that they flap their wings? I bet you cannot guess what my job was during the lectures? Yes, you are thinking on the right line if you think in degrees of severe humiliation.... 'impressions' were my job. I shall once again say no more, other than I hope that the idea of me flapping my arms about like a demented idiot is enough to have put a grin on your face.

On better weather days we spent our time herding old folk onto Zodiac ribs (powerboats) and doing our very best not to shatter their brittle bones and zimmer frames on the long journeys to shore. After our first beach landing we quickly realised that it was always necessary to scout the landing areas prior to taking passengers there, as sand/mud does not make for great zimmer frame wheel operations. We learn a new thing everyday!?!
For those 'boaty' people amoungst you; I have a potential horror situation for you to picture, the Zodiacs (powerboats) are stored on deck 7 (if you haven't been on a ship before, that means pretty high up!) they are lowered down on arrival at each destination by a rope and pulley system that is operated by two very strong Ukrainians who do not unfortunately understand massive amounts of English. The unfortunate next step is that one member of the unwilling crew has to climb into the Zodiac and be lowered down; the reason for this is that the system operates off the middle port (left) side of this particular ship, so short of launching yourself into five degree water at the stern (back) of the ship and swimming to the Zodiac, there are few other ways of boarding.

Ironically my main concerns were not due to the fact that the lowering is man-powered, but more importantly that the only thing attaching the zodiac to the crane was a selection of rather rusty looking bolts. Not only are these key to any normal persons sanity as they dangle in a boat a couple of hundred feet in the air, but then add the large sign attached to the stern of the Zodiac with a big red danger picture on it of just this scenario.... Imagine how relaxed I was as I am of course the one being lowered down!!!!

For now I shall leave you with thoughts of my onward adventure which consists of getting from an uninhabited island in the Outer Hebrides to the mainland in gale force winds. Where I must then embark on my journey back to London. One would never believe that the British Isles could be such a challenge to travel.

My original plans of catching a ferry from a small inhabited island were foiled after the severe weather conditions came in, so now I am sat under a old jetty to shelter from the rain as I have been informed that an island tour RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) is due to come by in the next hour or so.. Lucky for me I have a bottle of water and a banana with me, so if I end up having to sleep here, though I may suffer from hypothermia at least I will not starve, the only thing worrying me now is not the lack of a tent, but instead that my cigarette supply is running extremely low!
Obviously due to the middle of 'nowhere-ness' of this island I am unable to send this email now, but I shall endeavour to send it when I am back in civiliastion. Whenever that may be?!
Enough for now, I think I have spotted a mountain goat that I could milk, eat and skin with my toothbrush should situations become dire.
Hope you are well, warm and fed.
Candi x
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The trusted rope & pulley system..…
The trusted rope & pulley system.…
And this is where we get to sit fo…
And this is where we get to sit f…
Outer Hebrides
photo by: jane3393