As soon as we left the shelter of the bay we'd camped in we were exposed to an Atlantic swell and a good deal of clapotis generated by the swell crashing onto the south coast of Sanday. We moved out into more open water and kept close together, if we got separated it would have been easy for us to lose sight of each other.
Initially the wind blown chop was the dominant sea condition, but fairly soon we moved into the main tidal race which was pushing eastward. Though in its final third this was still quite strong, and was maginfying the big swells coming in from the open ocean. these swells were being further compressed as they were funnelled into the Sound and we were very aware of their increasing size.
Several times we backed off the crests of these swells as they threatened to become rollers - but they rarely actually broke. After about an hour of these conditions, which could fairly described as "having our full attention" we passed out of the narrower part of the Sound of Canna and the swell and tidal movement gradually subsided, allowing us to use the now much more manageable swells to push us towards the tip of Rum.
Exposure to the weather is a feature of the Small Isles, any trip here is at the mercy of the conditions. We'd hoped to have paddled right around Canna and to have journeyed down the west coast of Rum; neither of those would have been prudent (or enjoyable) in the heavy swell and gusty wind. Here, the flexibility of our plans served us well.
Turning the cornerat the north tip of Rum was to enter another world......
In the intricate patterns of water on the sand.
Suitably fed and watered, we mad our way down the coast to Loch Scresort. Here too it was glassy calm; we could clearly hear voices over a couple of kilometres of water. We shuddered to think what the midges would have been like on a still, overcast evening like this had it been summer!
Our accommodation for the night would be somewhat different from the tents of the previous night!