Saturday, November 1, 2014

MV Ocean Unity and a Surprise Visit to South Rona - 1995

A while back I posted on the various boats that have taken me on memorable island visits. (Click on the 'boats' link on the list of labels). I just came across some photos of another boat I've been on; one that took me on my first 'community' boat trip: MV Ocean Unity.

MV Ocean Unity - 1995
That trip happened during a visit to Raasay in 1995. My wife and I were the only ones staying at the Isle of Raasay Hotel and, as it turned out, a family reunion was happening on nearby South Rona. The family of Donald and Fiona Macalman, the Rona island managers at the time, had arranged for a boat to take them to Rona. The staff and owners of the hotel also wanted to go, and instead of abandoning their only guests in an empty hotel, they invited my wife and I to come along.

And so a caravan of six cars drove from the Isle of Raasay Hotel up to Arnish. We hiked down to the shore, where we were taken out to MV Ocean Unity, a 9 metre, steel hulled fishing boat, with a heavy-duty crane at its stern. On the way to Rona we stopped to fling fistfuls of fragrant fish feed (say that 10 times in a row) into a fish pen; it was tiring work, work that automatic feeders do these days. Once we reached Rona we were taken ashore in a large metal boat, appropriately named 'Tin Can'.

Below are a few grainy photos from that day in 1995. It was an amazing experience. For the full story, and how it led to a return visit nine years later, see chapter 5 of book 2. As of 2013 Ocean Unity was working mussel farms in the Western Isles.

Afloat off Arnish - my wife standing behind the wheelhouse

'Tin Can' departs from Ocean Unity in Big Harbour- 'Tin Can' was the Rona landing boat

Fiona and Donald Macalman at Rona Lodge

Return to Arnish

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