Not into hiking in the Cuillin Hills? Fed up with ‘sight-seeing’ around the area where you are staying? Well here’s an option with a bit of pizazz, lots of fresh air and, if you go between beginning of May to the first few days of August you get to see lots of Puffins. Aqua-Xplore, hosted by Bella Jane Boat Trips, whizzes you out on a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) to the beautiful Island of Canna with Sanday (linked to Canna by a road-bridge), taking in Soay and the Isle of Rum. This has to be one of the most fabulous days out you could have when staying on Skye, especially if you have more than one day on the Island and need an adventure.
This was our day out, taken on a rare day off at the end of July. After suiting up in waterproofs & lifejackets to protect us from the spray and occasional squalls or even to save our lives should we capsize (HELP!), we departed from the picturesque township of Elgol with our RIB skipper Robbie at around 12:45 on a sunny Sunday afternoon. After instructing us to keep a look out for Whales, Dolphins and Basking Sharks, Robbie gives us a run down of what he predicts we will see and roughly how long it will take us to get to Canna. Soon we are heading out passing the Island of Soay with the magnificent Black Cuillin of Skye to our right – an area you only really get to see when on a boat….or a RIB.
This trip does not disappoint – we were shown Puffins, Shags, Kittiwakes, Seals – both Harbour and Grey – all up close and pretty personal – plus a host of other seabirds such as Manx Shearwaters as they flew across the bows of the RIB.
On arrival at the slipway on Canna, we were instructed to take off our waterproof gear, told where to put it, and along with our skipper walked over to the Canna Cafe a delightful little place that serves the tastiest soup (just one of the options) I have tasted in a long time. Sitting outside, in the glorious sunshine, at brightly coloured picnic tables we ate a leisurely lunch (you get an hour on shore) and chatted amongst ourselves.
Lunch break over and everyone tramps back to the RIB, dons their waterproof kit and off we go again, this time to see the Isle of Rum, with its amazing Rum Cuillin, geology, a herd of Red Deer on the beach happily grazing & the wreck of the Abry II a French fishing trawler that capsized off the rocks (Robbie knows all about this and happily tells you the story).
At one point on our trip out someone believed they saw dolphins on the horizon (do remember to take your binoculars wont you) so off we went to see if we could catch them up. Sadly we didn’t as a squall hit us but later that day when having our evening meal at Seumus Bar ,one of the barmen told us there had been Dolphins in Loch Harport that afternoon. So they had been there we just were too far away to catch up to them even in a RIB.
All in all this is a fabulous day out. The skippers are very knowledgable and are happy to chat and answer questions. We arrived back at Elgol at approximately 17:30 feeling elated and, if a little damp due to the spray caused by whizzing along on a RIB, we were certainly buzzing with everything we had seen.
There is the option to take an earlier RIB and opt to stay on the Island until the last RIB back later in the day. Its a bit more to pay but if you want to explore Canna & Sanday then this is a great option.
If you would like to see more photo’s from our trip to Canna, then please like our Facebook page for Bla Bheinn, where you will find an album entitled To Canna and Beyond…….. there be Puffins!