Every so often, one of our guests is inspired so much by their cruise that they produce poetry. We love this poem by Margaret Knowles who has cruised with her group of friends aboard Elizabeth G for several seasons. We are delighted they approve of Elizabeth G's refit and that they have already booked again for 2020.
Excited we gather at Oban’s North Pier
For our seafaring trip done in May of each year;
Board Elizabeth G with a feeling of pride,
Our delight to see Rob is too hard to hide.
We explore and adjust, the boat’s had a refit,
It’s incredibly smart we have to admit.
Craig is ship’s bosun and Mags is the chef
But already this year we find we miss Jeff.
Safety talk over we’re soon on our way
To anchor at night in peaceful Glen Bay.
It’s Viv’s birthday so Mags is inspired to bake
Langoustines, scallops and rich chocolate cake.
It’s a magical morning and otters are out
Also cuckoos, geese, terns and seals are about.
Cairns of Coll are our target so south we proceed,
In rib weave through islands and land ’mong seaweed.
Sentinel shags line the outlying rocks
Great black backs patrol, all the while taking stock
Of our movements o’er hummocks of grass and deep heather
As we continue to revel at our luck with the weather.
The peace of this island was good for the soul,
There was hardly a need to be moving at all.
A quick transfer to island with white shell-sand beach
Gave some of us time the main outcrops to reach.
As we came in to land we saw our first eider,
And heard loud shrill piping from startled ringed plover.
Greylags flew up from a tiny clear lochan
Which was bordered by thrift and bright yellow lichen.
We steamed down past Coll in order to reach
The island of Gunna to land on the beach.
Black sheep and primroses, blue springtime squill,
Nests of the eider, greylag goose and a gull.
Stripy gneiss rock and pink granite tors,
Lady’s smock, milkwort and tormentil stars.
See geo and sand dunes, then head for another
Calm anchorage off shore from the island of Ulva.
Next morning on Ulva we’re welcomed ashore
By wrens, warblers, stonechats and whitethroats galore.
Fresh bracken and bluebells, a hillside of blue
Is mirrored in water of deep azure hue.
Some walk to Gometra, the rest to the east;
We return to the boat that evening to feast
On choritz stir fry, lemon sole, lemon tart,
Offshore from Inch Kenneth for prompt morning start.
On Inch Kenneth, once home to the large Mitford band,
We reach shallow water to leap onto sand.
This idyllic island makes us feel we’re in heaven,
With skylarks, rock pipits and swallows and ravens;
Exquisite shells, a fine flock of dunlin,
Expanses of rock pools and stately grey herons.
We walk round the island on easy short grass,
See grave slabs in chapel from long distant past.
We avoid the large house in a fairly wide loop
And return to the boat for hot lentil soup.
Little Colonsay’s not far across the blue sea,
The next island where we’re all hoping to be.
The path to the cottage up the slope is quite clear,
The fragrance of bluebells is filling the air.
Compared with Inch Kenneth this island is rough,
The climb to the top is perhaps for the tough.
The secret may be to stay silent and still,
Hear the sound of the waves and the tiny wren’s trill.
Two red deer stride past on the green cottage sward,
Startled to find some strange humans abroad.
Back on the boat we head for Iona,
We’re promised a supper of scallops Rob’s dived for.
An otter swims past in a fight with an eel,
Taking it home for gargantuan meal.
We had bow-riding dolphins while Iona bound
And landed on slipway so we could look round
This iconic island for a whole day,
Or saunter and listen just so we could say
We’d heard corncrakes, seen dunlin and linnets and rooks,
Visited quarry and abbey and even bought books!
In the rib we were joined by the dolphins once more
Before we sailed back to fair Gometra’s shore.
Calls of song thrush and snipe fill the bay the next morn,
We set off for Lunga as soon as we can,
Land on seaweed-clad rocks in a fairly large swell
Facing glorious slopes with drifts of bluebells.
Seabirds were floating in rafts just offshore,
Harp Rock was blanketed by auks galore.
Shags threatening gapes came from crevices dark
While high o’er the island were the songs of the larks.
Cute puffins at burrows with sharp, watchful eye
Were not bothered at all as people walked by.
A few people landed on Cairn na Burgh Mor,
A barracks and chapel on top to explore.
Alas, after this, we seemed homeward bound
As we steamed towards Oban to moor in Mull Sound.
Chris had mislaid his only car key,
Could he have dropped it on Oban’s North Quay?
Every inch of his room, bags and pockets were checked,
Food lockers and seats in saloon were all searched,
Then Eureka moment when he thought of down jacket
And there was the key deep down in the pocket!
Our last evening meal was delicious roast beef,
Mags’ fabulous cooking’s been well past belief.
Our dear bosun Craig is so cheerful and kind.
He always has all our best welfare in mind.
To friend Rob, it is now on all of our lips
To say ‘Thank you so much for our fantastic trip’.
At our ‘annual meeting’ a unanimous vote
Confirmed that next year we’d be back on this boat.
On Friday just into Loch Linnhe we see
Two sea eagles perched near their nest in a tree,
Before crossing our last short stretch of the sea
To reach the pontoon at Oban’s North Quay.
Margaret Knowles May 2019
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