Author Archives: Claire Davis

The life of a Seafari guide may appear to some to be all adventure and fun but there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that you probably don't know about.

Our mornings can sometimes start very early if we have an early morning Whirlpool Special trip. None of us ever complain about the early start though as a Whirlpool Special is always a great (if rather wet) way to start to the day.

Corryvreckan Whirlpool Special
Carolyn and the crew enjoying an early morning Whirlpool Special.

Our commute to work took some getting used to. As we all live on Easdale island we use a small dinghy to get across to Ellenabeich for work. The crossing only takes a few minutes but can be interesting on a windy day.

Once the shop is opened up it's then all about getting ready for the days trips. Waterproofs need sorting, boats need fueling, emails need answering, tickets need writing and seagull poo needs cleaning up. You'd be amazed at how much mess a seagull can make in such a short time.

During quieter days when we are not all on trips there are always chores to be done. Most days the boats need refuelling.  The boats also need regular checks, maintenance and cleaning (did I mention the seagull poo?).

Freezer delivery
When you live on a small island getting big stuff delivered can be a bit tricky.

Some of the more "interesting" jobs we have had when not on the boats include aquatic gardening (clearing seaweed from the harbour walls and pontoons), replacing mooring chains, painting the perches and transporting a huge boat trailer using a tiny dinghy (i'm sure the boat is supposed to go on the trailer, not the other way round).

Claire de-weeding underneath the pontoon.
Claire de-weeding underneath the pontoon.

At the end of the day when the guests have all gone home there is still work to do before we can put our feet up. There is the shop and the trailer to close down, wet waterproofs to go back over to Easdale Island to be hung up in the drying room and the days photographs to go through. Taking the waterproofs to the drying room is a chore on its own. With no roads on Easdale we have to transport anything heavy with a wheelbarrow.

Sarah using the crew wheelbarrow - the only for on transport on the island.
Sarah using the crew wheelbarrow - the only for on transport on the island.

In the evening the crew like to unwind in a few different ways. Sometimes swimming in the quarries, running around the island or doing circuits in the hall.

Sarah & Claire swimming in the quarry
Sarah & Claire swimming in the quarry

Don't be fooled into thinking we are really healthy and adventurous, we enjoy our fair share of visits to the Puffer or Oyster bar and the odd West Wing DVD marathon. We've even ventured out as far as Oban for a night out once but it was a little strange to start our night out by checking tide times, making sure we had life jackets and torches and asking the ferry men to move our dinghy further down the jetty to make sure it wasn't stranded when we got back.

The Seafari crew heading out in the dinghy for a night out in Oban.
The Seafari crew heading out in the dinghy for a night out in Oban.

Today's blog by Roy.

Wildlife photography while stood on a boat as you can imagine has some advantages and disadvantages. When going along next to the islands you can definitely get much closer to the different species living on land than if you had walked towards them trying to get a photo. The animals seem to be curious about the boat rather than seeing it as a threat so species like Red deer will stand and stare which makes for a great photo, of course the wildlife doesn’t always stick to the script and instead of being curious just ignore the boat altogether which gives a much more natural feel to the photographs.

Customers photographing a common seal.
Customers photographing a common seal.

Another huge bonus of using a boat to take photographs is the varied amount of wildlife you get the opportunity to see, from Red deer to Wild Boar on land, White Tailed Sea Eagles, Gannets and Golden Eagles in the air and from Common Seals to Bottlenose Dolphins in the sea. When you also add in the amazing landscape there is endless opportunity for capturing moments.

Red deer are often spotted on our trips.
Red deer are often spotted on our trips.

The main problem with capturing good photographs is the movement of the boat, using a tripod on board is out of the question as any movement of the boat will also move the camera so getting used to taking the photos from hand is a must, this way you can track your subject much easier as it moves across the landscape or through the water whilst also trying to counteract the movement of the boat. A skill much more difficult when you take into consideration you should have three points of contact with the boat so sitting or leaning against something is the best way to combat this problem.

Who's watching who?
Who's watching who?

Getting to go out on the boat every day taking photographs also helps with keeping tracks on certain wildlife for conservation reasons, we work with the Hebridean Wildlife And Dolphin Trust and send them all our records when we get Cetacean sightings with any photographs we have taken. This helps with their records and to see how far certain species are travelling and any habits that they have.

Bottlenose dolphin
Bottlenose dolphin

Today's blog by Claire.

Here at Seafari we are always happy to look after well behaved dogs whilst their owners are out on the boat. Of course some dogs are better behaved than others.

Polly the labradoodle was on her best behavior for Claire yesterday. However whilst Claire was back at the shop looking after Polly the rest of the team and Polly's owners were having a great time with a pod of dolphins that turned up right here in the sound.

Polly the labradoodle.
Polly the labradoodle.

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The 2017 season is now well under way now with the new crew continuing their training and whirlpool specials starting up again this week.

Yesterday saw Explorer head out with Steve and Carolyn and new crew Claire, Sarah and Roy for an early morning Whirlpool Special in the famous Gulf of Corryvreckan. What a fantastic way to start our whirlpool season.

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