It didn’t take my brother and his kayak mates long to hear I had bought a new F-Rib. They phoned and asked if I was interested in joining them for a BBQ and a day around the Solway Firth. How could I refuse ? So far.. I had been sussing the Guppy out for speed.. handling and fast flowing water ..so was now ready to try her at sea with the 3.3HP Mariner.
I used to go a lot to the site my brother's caravan is at .. but could never get the heavy Quicksilver tailored SIB down to the shore. This is where the Guppy comes into its own .. easy transported in the car.. and very light to portage to the sea. I set the boat up in the car park as my brother watched on with great interest.
Then by using the DIY transom dolly.. I easily wheeled it 100 meters along the road..through a gap in the caravans..down a steep soft sand bank ..across 200 meters of hard sand..to finally reach the water.
The sea goes out for around a mile where we launched in Fleet Bay.. but it comes in very quickly..around slow walking pace.. so the sand tends to get stirred up as the tide comes in. It looked like mud after the crystal clear waters of the west coast. As it was spring tides.. the flow of the tide is around 5 knots at its strongest ..but as we were going diagonally across the flow ..it wasn’t a problem for the 3.3 Mariner.
Nor was it a problem for the kayakers.
I waited until they had started their journey then went ahead. I don’t disturb their peaceful paddling passage with my noisy outboard...and as they need to gulp air to work their paddles..I don’t pollute it with two stroke oil exhaust.
It was nice to get the Guppy into the sea .. and she bobbed along delightfully into the 10mph wind and waves..no slamming whatsoever
I was heading for Murray’s Island ..around a mile off shore from the launch point. There are three islands at the entrance to Fleet Bay. This one now belongs to the National Trust and is a seagull sanctuary. To its left is Ardwall Island..and the third ..beyond them both .. is Barlocco Island.
A ruin cottage still stands on Murray’s Isle. It was built for the pilot who’s job was to guide the ships into Gatehouse of Fleet's harbour .. a little way up the river Fleet. He also kept an eye open for smugglers. It was rife in this area.
I pulled into the sheltered landing area ..as the swell was running around a meter high. It is open water all the way to the Isle of Man and Ireland beyond. I then sat in my boat ..in the sun..waiting the kayakers to catch up.
I decided not to land..as the seagulls started forming a defensive wall..ready to repel any landing party... who may tread on their fresh eggs.
The noise and smell of hundreds of fishy gulls..terns..and cormorants is quite interesting.. to say the least.
To be continued ...