That time a seal scared a submarine

Today we went kayaking in the Atlantic, at Applecross. The water was calm and the sun was out and the weather was lovely. It was a perfect sort of day for it. We paddled in the morning and afternoon, with a local guide, who took this picture:


Our guide, Iian, started out with about 10 clients and we outlasted the rest of them. Late in the day we went to see the seals. It was a full day, covering about 12 kilometers, so not quite eight miles.

I am sending videos home to briefly describe our day. Here’s the report I filed today:

See, what had happened was, our guide Iian was telling us about how out in the main channel the British often come and test their submarines. Sometimes, he said, you can see their masts break break the surface. While we were on our way to see the seals, one of them startled a submarine. And the submarine got startled, rose near the surface and knocked over my orange kayak.

That story is much better than this one: The Yankee had stopped paddling and came to a complete stop. she said. And as I was coming up alongside of her I stopped paddling. Only I was still drifting. Just as I was making some sort of move to not run into her, she said “A seal!” And then, suddenly, I was upside down.

I quickly remembered this video I’d seen years ago about how kayakers roll their boats back over. It has to do with the hips. And then I quickly remembered that I’d never tried that before. Never been in a kayak before. And so I then quickly remembered what Iian told me earlier in the day. You simply reach forward, pull on this strap on the black spray skirt that keeps you in and water out and your problem is solved. That seemed easier. I did that.

So I came to the surface and flipped my kayak back right-side up. Iian, for some reason, told me to turn it over again. So I did, and then he came alongside, flipped it over, told me to swim around the back and held on while instructing me how to get back in.

Hey, the water was cold. While in college, I once dove with manatees in Defuniak Springs in 56-degree water. But today’s 48 is a new personal record. As soon as I climbed out of the water, though, I mean immediately, I was warm and fine.

Off came my hat, down went my sunglasses. Into the water went our snacks. I think I scared Iian, who really wanted me to take it easy and collect myself. But I was fine, naval disaster aside. That’s what happens when seals scare submarines.

Seriously, this is how flat the water was:


We ate dinner under a little tent outside of the Applecross pub. We’re in a part of the world here where your dining options are limited, but all of the food has been grand.

Later, we saw this Highland cow:

Some of the other livestock we saw today:

Highland coo

Highland coo


And some of the things we saw while driving back to our room in Shieldaig this evening:

Highland coo

Highland coo

Highland coo

Highland coo

Some of those will wind up as banners here on the blog. Just as soon as my arms stop hurting from all of that paddling.

Comments are closed.