Friday, November 04, 2011

Close encounter with the RNLI lifeboat at Islay.

We were travelling north on the Sound of Islay at an ever increasing speed. We were not paddling particularly energetically but by the time we passed the Carraig Mhor light, we were fair belting along!

These buoys were submerged by the strength of the current going our way... it was not surprising we arrived back in Port Askaig in plenty of time for the ferry. We spent the spare time visiting the RNLI lifeboat station  and talking to cox David McLennan and mechanic David McArthur. They gave us huge mugs of coffee while they modestly explained how they had helped in some of the rescues round Islay's exposed and tidal coast. We told them where we had paddled and how we had found the inshore tides to turn about an hour before the times given in the pilots. Straight away David agreed and said that in his (and the local fishermen's experience), the inshore tides turned 45 minutes before the published times.

Given Islay's exposed and tidal conditions it is unsurprising that the RNLB ‘Helmut Schroder of Dunlossit ll’ is a Severn class, which at 17m is one of the RNLI's most capable all weather boats. She has a range of 250 nautical miles and a maximum speed of 25 knots. She carries a crew of 6. Needless to say, both Tony and I are supporters of the RNLI.

We could have stayed all day chatting to the lifeboat crew but the ferry was fast approaching, bringing our five day trip to Islay to an end.