After our exploits on Ulva any sane person would have called it a day and headed home for a well earned rest, but isn’t that what work’s for? I can recuperate when I’m back in the office after all so with the mist finally burning off we headed back to Torloisk for a spot of kayaking. Conditions looked absolutely sublime as we got ready, a far cry from the previous evening when it had felt more like autumn than summer. The lighting however was very strange indeed, clear one moment only to take on a curious colour cast the next. I’ve not seen anything like it before or since.
Hitting the water we immediately struck gold with a family of four Red-throated Divers just off shore, their quacking calls still an unexpected sound despite having heard it several times over the last few days. A couple of Arctic Terns were also doing the rounds flying right over our heads on occasion as we got down to the serious business of exploring all the nooks and crannies of this rugged stretch of coast.
One particular cove we paddled into contained a mass of jellyfish. They were absolutely everywhere ranging in size from tiny Common Jellyfish measuring less than a centimetre across to much more threatening Lion’s Manes with their trail of stinging tentacles billowing out behind. Mixed in were Cyanea Lamarki (check me out with the Latin!) and loads of Comb Jelly’s. The latter were absolutely fascinating as they came in all shapes and sizes and had what looked to be lights travelling up and down their sides. This illusion is in fact caused by light reflecting off lines of hairs beating to move the animals along but let’s not let a little science interfere with something so utterly fantastic. I’d only ever seen this spectacle on TV previously so to witness it out in the wild was simply brilliant. Me being a photographer of course I just had to try and get some photos which involved plunging my hand into this mass movement. I’m sure the sting I felt was only my mind playing tricks.
On a slightly larger scale we were also visited by a Grey Seal and even out here those pesky Common Sandpipers were keeping their distance. Really though it was the views which made this particular jaunt so memorable, a perfect end to a perfect day.
In fact we enjoyed it so much that we hit the water again the very next morning …….