Harbour News 5 July

Whitefish totalled 2400 boxes from 3 Scottish and 3 Anglo Spanish vessels. The Scottish fleet are concentrating their efforts at Rockall looking for squid and haddocks with a decent by-catch of monkfish.  Early reports suggest that the young haddock population is in abundance with reports of vast shoals of 1 year old fish on the bank. This would bear true from the haddock index of 2012 which was the highest recorded in the last 30 years of Rockall surveys. One can only hope that these young fish are given the opportunity to grow over the winter and attain marketable size for next year’s spring fishery. Vessels targeting squid report reasonable catches of clean fish in a small area close to the Rockall reef. Thankfully there is no by-catch in this area just clean hauls of mixed long finned squid Loligo vulgaris. A remarkably resilient fish that found in huge spawning aggregations grows up to 16 cm per year and has a life span of only 30 months.

The shellfish sector was once again very busy with over 20 landings from visiting prawn trawlers, a decent landing of scallops from the Star of Annan and the usual fare from the offshore crabbers.

The non-fishing sector saw the fishfarm tank ship Ronja Settler in 3 times for layovers, the Marine Scotland research vessel Scotia in for equipment and the cruise vessels Minerva and The World in for scheduled port calls. The Minerva with 300 passengers and 180 crew made a half day call in good dry weather. This cruise line offers all inclusive excursions and as a result the bulk of the ships compliment took excursions to the Geopark and Inverewe Gardens. The weekend of 29 and 30 June saw the first ever visit of the luxury liner The World with 176 passengers and 280 crew.  The only ship of its kind, the ship is owned by its occupants who live for some or part of each year in one of the 165 residences on board.  The occupants availed themselves of a variety of pre-arranged bus tours to Inverewe Gardens, Corrieshalloch Gorge, Dundonnell and Lochinver but also jogged, cycled, hiked up Ullapool Hill and Knockan Crag and drove around the area in hired cars and taxis.  A number of them dined locally and were extremely pleased with the food on offer.  There was a special mention for mussels, hot smoked salmon, haggis and fish and chips!  The vessel sailed overnight from Ullapool to Barra and then on to Tobermory before heading to Ireland for a five day luxury look-around.   The harbour has received fantastic feedback from both passengers and crew and would expect them to return sometime during their next navigation of the northern hemisphere in three years’ time.  Next Friday, July 12th, we welcome the CSV Deutschland to the harbour with a ships compliment of 800 which will add to an already busy schedule.

Our sail trainees depart this week for the Tall Ships Race on board the Wylde Swan.  Overnighting in Aberdeen, they fly to Aarhus, Denmark today (5th July) where they’ll join the rest of the international crew. Then it’s 12 days of hard training, sailing and plenty of fun as they compete hard in the race through the Baltic Sea to Helsinki.  The Wylde Swan is a dedicated training vessel but takes competition very seriously and the captain and permanent crew are determined to win every stage of the race.  We look forward to hearing about our local students’ adventures during and after they return on 19th July.  The August Wylde Swan adventure trips are all but sold out with only a couple of hammocks left for St Kilda and a few bunks for the 7 day northern voyage. The skipper is once again blown away by the interest shown locally and plans are already taking shape for a 2014 visit.

Preparations are well underway for the St Ayles World Skiff Regatta which is taking place from 8th to 14th July with a full week of events scheduled.  A number of pier arrangements and restrictions apply to all pier users, a hard copy of the restrictions can be obtained from the harbour office. HRH Princess Anne is carrying out the official opening on Monday 8th at around 2:30pm; there will be no access to the pier or pontoon from 10:30 to 4:30pm that day. Racing will take place from Wednesday to Saturday between the Isle of Lewis arrivals and evening sprint racing will take place from the pontoon to the jetty. On Monday, Friday and Saturday evening there will be live music events from 7:30pm in the events marquee situated on the pier. Entry is free on a first come first served basis. Finally, Rotary Round the Pier Day takes place on Saturday 13th and there will be no parking on the pier from 2:00pm Friday to 10:00am Sunday morning.  Full details have been placed in the Harbour notice board on the pier and if you require any clarification or assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us.