That was the sound, I think, of a very small coin dropping softly.  Son No 1 disappeared off to his room for approaching 2 hours this evening to revise and I hadn’t said a word.  And then, after swimming, he picked up his cornet & did some practice and I still hadn’t said a word.  Did something happen at school today that I didn’t hear about?  And will these events be repeated?  Watch this space.

gators2.JPGMeanwhile Son No 2 decided he was ill.  I tend to take these things moderately seriously as they’re very rarely ill – I can’t remember the last time one of them was off school sick -and they certainly don’t generally choose to go to bed at 6.00.  But an hour or so’s sleep and he perked up and we sat & watched Bill Oddie looking at wildlife in the USofA.  I want to go and see humpback whales.  We intended to take the boys whale watching on the west coast last summer but it didn’t materialise; this year we’ll definitely do it.  We won’t see humpbacks but there’s a good chance of killer whales, minkes and basking sharks.  The programme did make me think over some of the wildlife encounters I have had – snorkelling with manatees at 7.30am on New Years Day a few years ago was one of the highlights.  I’ve also dived with porbeagles on Rockall, been chased by seals on North Rona and heard a whale blowing at dawn in an Icelandic fjord.  We counted 140 alligators in about 1/2 an hour in an Everglades creek.  I think I might write some posts about some of those.  And I’ve driven Bill Oddie in a landrover across Cyprus and cleared tree mallow on Craigleith with Bill Bailey – do they count as wildlife?

I’m writing this as a midnight break from trying to get my sections of the current report finished; I’ve just emailed off a chunk and now need to check some horrendous data tables and produce some more maps before the morning. Oh, it is the morning.  The list of things I need to do or organise before heading to Somerset on Wednesday is growing.  I was looking forward to a nice quiet February and perhaps dealing with Loch Goil, a report that has been waiting …err..two years.  If I say that quickly enough perhaps noone will notice.

But my attention is being directed towards Wales and it looks as though I might be diving on the maerl beds in Milford Haven from 10th – 14th February.  If those dates sound familiar, it’s not because I’ve mentioned this before but because, of course, it’s half term. It’s also halfterm down there, and my Welsh colleague has two boys the same age, so we’re contemplating sending the four of them to the childminders at the local sailing school while we go diving.  It all sounds very cold.  I do think you guys could check the tides before you sort out holiday dates; it’s very inconsiderate.  And I also have to get myself to a meeting in Bangor on the way back from Somerset and fit in a couple of weeks on a Welsh shores literature review.  Finish the Sunart loose ends.  Make sure the museum doesn’t bin my samples and maybe even work them up.  Visit my sister for a weekend.  Go for my annual girls’ (middle aged women these days but we started out as girls) weekend on the lakeland hills with college friends; we always hope for snow.  And find cover for the swimming club for all those sessions I’m going to be away.  Tidy my desk. 


4 thoughts on “Kerchink

  1. We kayaked out to the Small Isles a couple of years ago (Rum , Muck Canna etc…). We were luck enough to see two Mink Wales and a Basking Shark from out Kayaks (there quite scary up close). When the weather turns and we got stuck on Rum, we decided to get the ferry back. We ended up seeing another three Wales from the ferry. It was a great trip and a nice part of the world of visit. What great memories! OB

  2. I’ve had quite a number of meetings with minkes and basking sharks from small boats around the UK and it’s always a huge wow! We were also on the small isles a couple of years ago and saw a basking shark in the bay on Eigg and several whales & dolphins from the ferries. One of the boys spent the entire trip from Eigg on the deck in the rain looking for large animals, with great success. We’d had an idyllic few days and were camped on Eigg on the most unbelievably wonderful campsite when we saw the weather heading for us from the south. It was a mad dash to bundle everything into the tent before the storm struck. Torrential rain didn’t stop for the next fornight – it was the tail end of an American hurricane – and we headed home early. We heard later that there had been a pod of about 20 minkes between Arisaig and Eigg whilst we were on Eigg. Now that would have been a sight!

  3. I’m very impressed and saw the programme with Bill Bailey on Craigleith all fascinating stuff. Did the clearing work in the end or is it still being monitored.

  4. I didn’t see the programme but it was seriously hard work!! Not sure what the outcome is (it was only September when we did it) but we didn’t get the whole island cleared. I suspect they won’t know for a year or so.

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