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Friday, 2 May 2014

Ocean Breeze RiB Trip to Ailsa Craig

We've been gliding under gannets..........

and no- miraculously, given 50,000 gannets, no one got “deposited” on.

Ever since Nigel and I came to Arran we have been hoping to join an Ocean Breeze RiB trip to Ailsa Craig. We made it at long last on Tuesday and it proved to be an unforgettable experience.

 We set sail from Lamlash. The weather was perfect, the sea like swathes of lightest blue silk. The boat ride felt both comfortable and exhilarating at the same time. 

Ailsa Craig looks like a pyramid from the north and a currant bun from the west (see below). 
As we glided round the island, gannets criss-crossed the skies above our heads effortlessly. 

 On the west of the island there are cliffs with small shelves that are sought-after accommodation for gannets which fill the air with contented croonings and mutterings. Occasionally they rise up together spontaneously and flow down the cliff face like a waterfall. From a distance the gleaming white gannets make it look as if the island is dusted with snow.

It is possible, when the weather is kind, to land on the east of the island where there is a boulder field scattered with the remains of old industry from the days when curling stones were quarried and shaped here. Ailsa Craig is formed of a unique type of granite that has pink, blue and green tinges.
The pebbles felt as smooth as marble and warm as new baked loaves. 

 Russell and Elspeth, captains and crew of Ocean Breeze, are full of knowledge about all aspects of the island and their insights into the unusual physical features of gannets, and their even more unusual  family lives, are fascinating.

The whole day: the gentle sea, the serene gannets and the warm spring sunshine all left me feeling equally serene and full of wonder after my glimpse into the lives of Arran's nextdoor neighbours.