Tuesday, 24 June 2008

In the realms of Jacques Cousteau ...

Right: I think it was a crab in the kelp ...

Kyle of Lochalsh: we braved the elements one midsummer afternoon, and took a trip on the Seaprobe Atlantis. The weather was grim, but we had been assured that the voyage would not be too rough! You can probably make out the rain marks on my lens in the stormy photo below.

The boat has a glass bottom, and I was fascinated to see life on the bottom, or from the bottom up. We spent the first and last part of the trip up on deck (foredeck as we sailed towards the Skye Bridge and aft as we sailed back toward the seal rocks).

The middle part of the journey was spent below deck, sitting on long benches, gazing out through the glass and wondering - in a surreal and suspended kind of way - whether we were sailing past the sea creatures or whether they were swimming past us. I suppose you can do this sort of thing in an aquarium, but it was amazing to watch a jellyfish from its underneath, as it made its way (if this is what jellyfish do) through the kelp.

I took a few photographs through the glass, but they only give a faint impression of the underwater world as we saw it. Apparently, you get the best view when the tide is low, and we had not really let it get low enough when we decided to risk the choppy Sound and secure our passage. The pictures are probably hazy, too, on account of the rough weather, which had stirred up the sea. Talk about a pea-soup of a mist: well, this was a pea-soup of a sea bed!
Despite the stormy weather, it was an experience I would not have wanted to miss.

P.S. On the subject of wildlife in (or out of the) water, I am following the BBC story of Flash the turtle. I am also enjoying the Marine World site: you can log the jellyfish you happen to encounter.

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