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Sunday, August 07, 2011

How to have the perfect day...

Just thought I would warn you in advance, this is a long one! But it's full of fun stories and cool pictures, so hopefully you like it. Thanks for stopping by!

Hey kids, it's me again!

We are like BFFs this week aren't we? This is what happens when I am left to my own devises for a week...lots of blogging. I don't mind so much, do you?

As you know (from here and here) we spent last weekend in Scotland. We were fortunate enough to have a bee-ay-you-tiful Saturday and it turned out to be, well, perfect! If you ever find your self in Scotland and the weather happens to be sunny and warm, here is how you too can have the perfect day.

After breakfast, start your day with a nice brisk walk. Take 3 crazy dogs (and one sweet as pie older one) for a walk to burn some energy (them) and wake up (you). Make sure you have someplace really high to walk to, so you can take in the amazing views once you get to the top.

crazy dog!
 Next step - get on a boat.

Sorry, I had to. Yes, I realize this is so two years ago but seriously - it's freakin' awesome.

Ok, now that  I  we got that out of our systems...I'll continue.

We took a little motorboat around the peninsula, checking out different islands and locks. Our mission was to go fishing and catching something delicious for lunch. Mission accepted.

pretty red sails...not our boat, don't worry
James got the boys all kitted up with fishing poles and flies, us girls took copious amounts of pictures to document the situation. After about fifteen minutes without any bites, James was getting a bit antsy. Now, I am not going pretend that I am well versed in the school of fishing (ha - see what I did there?) but from my understanding and past experience (my memory from twenty years ago is sharp as a tack thankyouverymuch) fishing can take a while. You could sit out there on your little boat all day long without even so much as a little nibble.

Well, apparently that is not the case in these parts.

James took over and within 45 seconds of him having his hands on the fishing pole he had caught 4 fish. The waters here are so full of fish that you can usually catch something within a couple of minutes of casting your line. Now that is a kind of fishing that I could get used to!

On our way to the fishing spot we crossed through the Sound of Jura. Jura is probably most well known for being the island where George Orwell wrote 1984 (a personal favorite of mine!)  The particular location of the Sound of Jura is really special as it is where the sound and the loch meet the sea.  After catching our lunch we headed over to the Gulf of Corryvreckan, on the north side of the Sound of Jura. It is a narrow straight between the islands of Jura and Scarba and has the third largest whirlpool in the world.

When the tide floods in from the sea it can speed up to 8 knots or more (about 10 mph). Combined with the narrowness of the straight and unusual topography of the sea floor (including a huge hole and a massive pyramid) you have a unique combination on your hands. The pyramid on the sea floor is some 40 meters tall (40 meters?! Thats about 131 feet incase you are not well versed in the metric system). Put all of these things together and you get whirlpools, standing waves that can reach 30 feet (!!!) when the weather is bad, and other oddities on the surface of the sea.

whirlpool in the Sound of Jura

whirlpool in the gulf of corryvreckan

standing wave

standing wave again

Luckily when we were there is was beautiful as can be, so we weren't really in any danger. The trippiest part about this whole thing was that our boat was literally turning in circles, without us touching the wheel at all. We would speed up and go over the standing wave and then back off and get sucked right back in to it. All the while you could see the water on either side of the straight was perfectly calm. It was incredible, I have never seen something so peculiar and fascinating at the same time. I was speechless.

Actually, I think I was screaming the whole time - with joy. Screaming with joy. Yeah, that's it.

The next step to having a perfect day is to anchor your boat and have a beach BBQ.  Bring the fish that you just caught, some fresh beef burgers from the farm down the road and some good friends.

While lunch is being cooked, take a walk along to beach and go cave hunting.

Don't be discouraged if you can't find any. Enjoy the sun and sand and the views as much as possible, and leave the caves for another day.

After a long and leisurely lunch (and possible a little nap in the sun) it's time to go. Time to get back to the mainland and get ready for dinner (and yes its perfectly fine to be thinking about dinner even though you just finished your lunch).

As you sail back towards home (or as you ride in your little motorboat), keep your eyes never know what you might see in the water...

Don't worry - there were no sitings of the famed Loch Ness Monster, Nessie, BUT!



We did see a WHALE! A whale I said! And it was so close to us!

Please excuse the blurriness of the next photo, but it shows how close and how BIG this Minke whale was (males can reach between 7 and 10 meters - thats between 23 to 32 FEET!!)

Don't be deterred by the small size of that fin - check this picture out for the size relationship between an average size Binke whale and a human. They have a tiny fin and a huge body!

We stalked this whale for a good 30 minutes. We followed him right along and saw him pop up to get some air about seven or eight times, each time he got a little closer. There was a lot more screaming on the boat, again, all for joy of course.

When all of this excitement dies down and you safely get back home, its time to continue this perfect day by taking a walk to the village pub.

Nothing beats a cold glass of local brew at the end of a fun day...

Oh, except maybe a huge plate of fresh langoustines for dinner.

And at the end of this amazing day you will be tired.  You will be intoxicated with sun, sand and warm memories (and maybe a little bit because of the beer). 

And you will be thankful for this perfect, perfect day.


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