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Old 15 April 2016, 08:02   #1
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A Guppy goes to Sea

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 ...
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Old 15 April 2016, 09:14   #2
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Brilliant - Thank you.
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Old 16 April 2016, 03:04   #3
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Thanks Steve..glad you enjoy it.

It didn’t take long for the kayak guys to catch up. I could only go at displacement speed with my loaded F-Rib and 3.3Hp outboard. A kayak is very efficient at displacement speed..which is based on the length of a boat.. and is why sea going kayaks are designed so long in length.



We then chose different routes through the sharp reefs of the Murry Isles.



I went round the exposed side of the island to see how the Guppy handles in a bit of a chop. The light wind was against the 5 knot tide so the water was a bit more lumpy..the Guppy didn’t flinch... I have now no reservation in going out in her in far worse situations.



My brother took his kayak rock hopping along the expose side. He had his “selfie stick” mounted to the front of his boat.. as he was after some photos for a magazine article.



This is a selfie stick view of his route ... a bit to close to rock for my liking ..but we are all different.



David started getting playful as we crossed to Barlocco Island. Moments later his bow was sitting on my transom. I thought he may fall in but he kept his balance. Not that it would worry him if he did fall over.. all three guys can roll their kayaks in seconds. David is 73 years old..and fit as a fiddle...regularly paddling 30 or 40 miles per day. Puts me to shame.



You may think an F-Rib 273 is expensive for a small boat.. if you are comparing against PVC SIBs. However the F-Rib has a beautifully made fibre glass hull. These sea going kayaks are in the same price range as the Guppy. IMO I get a lot of boat for my money.

We were heading for a small rocky shore on the sheltered side of Barlocco Isle....



Where we all landed ..



Had some lunch...



And toasted the days health with a little Glenfiddich 14 year old single malt. We all find the clean oil colour of whisky helps lubricate our internal engines..especially when there is salt water around.



And then we talked about the last time we were on Barlocco Island ..and the biggest whale we have ever seen

To be continued....
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Old 16 April 2016, 03:06   #4
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The last time we were together on Barlocco Isle was in 2006. We all went by kayak then..myself included. It was to see the 19 meter long Fin whale .. which sadly kept grounding itself on the rocks.. I guess it was trying to commit suicide ..for whatever reason ?

The following photos cannot describe the smell that hung in the air .. the day we arrived .. a couple of days later ..it was cut up and buried on the island by JCB. A job that I certainly did not envy.

Fortunately the suggestion to blow the carcass up was not considered..as it would have blown rotten blubber everywhere. Carrick Shore is not far away.. it is a popular tourist beach.

Next time you catch a fish in the area.. or feel a bump on the bottom of your airfloor .. pray its not something this size.















To be continued...
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Old 16 April 2016, 14:54   #5
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Yet another cracking tale Gurnard. Thanks for posting.
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Old 17 April 2016, 11:44   #6
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Many thanks Siochair ..glad you enjoy it..and the feedback is appreciated.

Suitably refreshed ..we now headed for the distant headland of Borness Point ..where there are some of the most interesting geological rock formations in the area.



Of course..you all know that around 400 million years ago.. Scotland was separated from England by a huge ocean. Continental drift is to blame for our union ..and its no more obvious than on the sea cliffs at Borness..where the land masses crashed into each other.. forming vertical stress lines in the cliffs ..



where there is also ..



A whole labyrinth of narrow passages ...



..where you can go in one end ...



..and hopefully come out the other end .

There are also many caves...



Big enough to enter at high tide....



Not one to be left behind .. I also put the Guppy into one of the smallest caves .. behind the boat in this photograph..



..Just so I could take... this photograph..



Sadly..all too soon it was time to head back to the launch point.. or we would have a long portage back..the tide was now going out fast. We were soon back in time for the BBQ.. where we discussed our next adventure together.

A couple of days later..my brother emailed me and said he was that impressed watching the Guppy’s performance.. that he bought one for himself .. just so he could take his dog and also his grandson on similar type adventures. Yup..the F-Ribs are proving themselves to be very impressive boats.



Thanks to all for reading ..and hope you found it of some interest..perhaps even inspire a visit to the Solway Firth.. it is every bit as as good as the west coast ..once you get to know it.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
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Old 17 April 2016, 13:06   #7
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Nice one gurnard thanks for sharing, sales figures going up on the FRib too.

Cheers
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Old 19 April 2016, 06:20   #8
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Hi Gurnard, what lens(es) do you use with the D70 when you are on the boat?
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Old 19 April 2016, 12:52   #9
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Great stories about your experiences! Please keep sharing
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Old 19 April 2016, 13:33   #10
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Thanks Gurnard, I love reading your posts! I'm heading up that way in summer, staying at Ross Bay near Kirkcudbright, taking my Humber RIB for two weeks.
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