Saturday 15th April – Sea Kayaks at Shuna Island.
With a strong North-Westerly forecast, our chosen destination was Shuna Island, around 10 miles South of Oban. Shuna is a couple of miles offshore and is sheltered by the larger island of Luing. From the previous day’s contingent of ten, two decided to do rivers and a further four decided not to proceed having inspected the site conditions on the day.
The four remaining paddlers headed off towards a small low island en route to Shuna. With the wind and swell coming from our 2-o’clock position, progress was far from easy. Tony soon found it difficult to control his boat and decided to return to base. Having seen him safely ashore, Roger, Nigel and I continued towards the mid-way island which had a small gap through which we were able to pass. Then it was a similar haul to reach the northern corner of Shuna.
As we approached, the wind died down and we had our lunch on a sandy beach in glorious sun with not a breath of wind. We were amused to note that only the three plastic boats had made it. All too soon, the next squall rolled in and we hurriedly resumed our attempt to circle the island anti-clockwise. It soon became clear that further progress would be unwise in these conditions and we decided to head for home.
At that stage, our cars were due East of us but the wind was coming from the North-West. Given the strengh of the wind, we decided to head directly downwind and found ourselves surfing along in fine style. We soon reached our handy mid-way island and passed through the gap again. By this stage, it was obvious that we would miss our preferred landing spot, but no problem – we could always make our way back up along the coastline.
During this final section, Nigel was broached twice and bailed out. On each occasion, he was rescued by one of his buddies while the other one stood by to help as necessary. Paddles on leashes can cause complications when boats are rafted together to pump out any remaining water.
We eventually made it back to the mainland about a kilometer south of our put-in point. As I messed up my landing and got dumped in shallow surf yet again, the owners of an isolated beach hut were on hand to welcome us ashore. While Roger and Nigel walked along the road to retrieve their cars, I found a sunny spot to relax and take in the delightful surroundings.