Monday, 4 July 2011
Underneath the arches - paddling through an island
The weather forecast for the following day was good, but with a weather front approaching from the southwest in the evening. We would certainly get a paddle, but would have to leave St Kilda before the front arrived. The brief summer night was beautifully lit by an almost full moon. This signalled that we'd also get lots of tidal energy around the islands and stacks.
After breakfast we got on the water straight away, Simon filming from the double, piloted by Ken. The close in footage in the DVD will be mostly filmed in this way. Ken is a very skillful paddler, he made manoeuvring and controlling the double whilst Simon filmed look easy, even with Simon having to lean out and get angles for filming.
We paddled straight across Village Bay to the north side of Dun. The weather on our first evening paddle hadn't allowed us to get to this side, and what a great place it is. Rafts of Puffins dived though green water as we approached. The whole of Dun is riddled with caves, passages and arches. Slots which look like one-way tunnels open up into huge caves and it's possible to get through underneath the island in a couple of places. We entered such a slot whch led into a large cave, then exited back out the way we came, rather quickly on a large swell in my case!
Continuing south east we came to the Great Arch. This cuts through the island and can be seen clearly from many miles away.
There's a large submerged rock in the centre of the arch which creates quite a lot of confused water. Gordon checked it out and called us through.
The arch is huge underneath, a great passage to paddle. The framed view back to Boreray is just superb.
All through, we turned north west up the coast of the island in warm sunshine and light winds.
There's great rock architecture here and more caves. The entrance to this one leads through to the slot we explored from the other side.
Soon we were passing the Dun Gap, but this time we headed past and on up the coast of Hirta.