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Day 3 - May 23, 2010 - Loch Ewe, Scotland

By Kara Weller, Naturalist and Zodiac driver

Co-ordinates: 57° 47.5 'N - 05° 37.5'W
Weather: overcast
Air temperature: 14° C
Wind: 31 km per hour
Pressure: 1018 hPa

In the early morning hours, the Prince Albert II eased gently into Loch Ewe. This sea loch on the west coast of the mainland of Scotland was surrounded by rugged and wild terrain and the early morning sun on the glassy-calm waters around us made for spectacular scenery. Numerous jellyfish filled the waters around our ship and I enjoyed watching them swim slowly with their elegant pulsing movements in the water from the deck of the ship and from the Zodiacs.

Shortly after breakfast, Zodiac operations began and guests were brought to shore to a small jetty in a protected bay at the edge of the Inverewe Gardens. These gardens, protected from the winds in the bay by big pine trees, hosted a wonderful display of flowers, flowering azaleas and rhododendrons as well as a vegetable garden. Situated on a hill with numerous paths to explore, it was a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the scenery on your own, or to follow a guide to learn more about the place and the plants.

 After the guided walks had ended, most people found themselves at the far end of the gardens near the visitor center from where a bus tour soon started. In order to enjoy the scenery, we went on a drive through the countryside along steep roads that zigzagged along the shores of the ocean and the lochs. We had spectacular views of the rugged hills and valleys and bays sometimes filled with boats, sometime bare of all human life. Sheep were scattered around as they always are in Scotland, and lambs were frolicking in the fields. Small cottages and farms were few and far between, and the lonely and isolated life of the hardy farmers who lived here was hard to imagine.

We stopped at several viewpoints to admire the scenery. Our local guide talked about everything from forestry practices to farming to fishing as we drove along this interesting landscape.

After returning to the ship via the Zodiacs, we had lunch and then enjoyed a relaxing afternoon. Imogen gave us a talk on Vikings and discussed who they actually were, why they came to this part of the world, and what they hoped to achieve. Artifacts that survive to this day from their time period give us many clues.

Later in the afternoon, Robin gave us a destination briefing on our events and activities for the next few days, and we enjoyed our Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner afterwards.

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