Saturday, May 12, 2007

The wreck of the Kartli

The west coast of Gigha is a wild place. Southwesterly storms sweep in from the Atlantic, past the Mull of Oa on Islay, and dash their energy on the rocks of this fair isle.

The Kartli was a huge 240 foot Russian fish factory ship. During a storm on December 18th 1991 her wheelhouse was smashed and her engine room and generator flooded by a giant wave off the south of Islay. Four of her crew were killed and 15 were seriously injured. With no power or steerage, she rolled helplessly at the mercy of the wind and seas. Five helicopters were involved in a dramatic and successful rescue of all her surviving crew.

Her abandoned hulk drifted relentlessly downwind to her ultimate resting place on the rocks of Gigha where her plates were pounded asunder.

Even on a calm and sunny day, her rusting hulk remains as a reminder of the transient nature of man's dominion over the seas and the our fleeting existence on this earth.