Sunday, July 20, 2008

Great Island

A number of us made our way to Great Island yesterday. Conditions were ideal - leaving Bauline East we made our way out to the island. The waves from the inside of the island gave us a clue that there would be a greater swell on the east side but the wind was low and there was no sign of fog. The puffins as always were in amazing abundance and continued to skim the surface, bobbing up and surfacing close to our boats.

The video gives a small glimpse into one of the orbits of the Devil's Throat. The deep sea caves were accessible but we were constantly bombarded with droppings from all the birds. At one time I had to drop the camera briefly to resume paddling against the wave action.

We made our way out around the outside of the island - spectacular views, and quite a rolling swell. At varying times it seemed we were ascending small hills. The refraction from the island itself contributed another set of interesting conditions as we paddled to and beyond the Arch. An incredible feature that I avoided photographing at the time, perceiving I needed to be paddling to stay upright.

The island is a protected bird sanctuary and even if you wanted to land there is no safe place to do so on the outside.

Arriving around the south end of the island it seems we startled another younger group of puffins(even though we were quite a distance from shore) and when one group launched another flapped their wings madly waiting for some prearranged bird signal at which time they left, and this repeated itself several times.

This is a great destination but some caution has to be kept in mind particularly with the tendency for the fog to roll in a moment's notice. A compass is essential equipment.

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