A couple of months ago I had an email asking me if I'd like to join a team heading out on a sea kayaking expedition to St Kilda. The trip was being organised by Gordon and Morag Brown of Skyak Adventures, and one of the purposes of the trip was for Simon and Liz Willis of Sunart Media to shoot footage for the second "Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown" DVD. The other purpose was to have a great adventure! My reply was an almost instantaneous "yes please!" and I spent the last two months at work in increasing excitement and anticipation.
All good adventures should start with a sea voyage and ours would start with not one but several. Having convened at Skyak's base in Skye on the Friday evening to load boats and kit, Saturday morning saw us at Uig in the north of Skye in the queue to board the Calmac ferry MV Hebrides to Tarbert in the island of Harris. At this point I think we were all hoping we hadn't forgotten anything important!
We were : Anne & Donald, Callum, Douglas, Janice, Ken, Liz & Simon, Morag & Gordon, Sue and I. Our team included well respected coaches, a good variety of paddling experience and added value in Donald, who was on the first successful out-and-back self supported expedition to St Kilda by kayak and who has a wealth of knowledge about the St Kilda archipeligo; and in Douglas, an outstanding photographer.
We sailed from Uig on a beautiful morning, hoping that the good weather hadn't come too early
The ferry turned her bows to the west, and the Outer Hebrides came into view across a shining sea.
The passage into Tarbert through the skerries. Simon & Liz and Donald & Anne had travelled the previous day; we'd meet up with them at Miabhaig in the north west of Lewis. Lewis and Harris are actually one landmass but are considered separate islands.
At Miabhaig, we got our first view of MV Cuma, our home for the next six days. Her skipper Murdani has a lifetime of experience on this coast, we couldn't have chosen better.
The next couple of hours were spent embarking our kit and playing the first instalment of a new game - kayak Jenga. Would we fit them all onboard?
With Murdani's guidance, everything was stowed safely. We were ready to start the adventure proper.