Monday, March 28, 2016

Part 6... Magnificent Sanda Island and a cold seafood buffet!



These two shots were taken in 2012.  I am including them in this post because they are pretty and I didn't have a travel blog back then...  Sadly, the Scottish flag is now gone.  


I was really excited to get to visit Sanda Island on our cruise.  In 2012, Bill and I paid our first visit to this tiny, uninhabited island not far from the Northern Irish coast.  I remember not being that excited about it that first time because it was really cold outside and I didn't feel like walking around.  I was so glad Bill convinced me to get off the ship, since we were treated to an up close and personal visit with several seals.  Plus, Sanda Island is just plain beautiful.  We weren't sure if we'd be able to get to the island, since sea conditions are not always cooperative.  Fortunately, we were able to see Sanda Island again on our most recent trip.


Sanda Island's lighthouse from the top of a hill...



Sanda Island was recently sold, so there have been a few changes to the island.  First off, there used to be a Scottish flag on the island.  I noticed that it's not there anymore.  Also, there was a pile of discarded appliances that were supposed to be picked up by a vessel that had delivered a herd of deer to the island.  Unfortunately, the appliances were left there.  On the plus side, I did manage to spot the herd of deer as Bill and I hiked across the boggy island.  I was really glad I'd brought my rubber LL Bean boots with me.



A natural bridge...


A seal was playing hide and seek with us...


Sanda Island is home to no one but sheep, deer, seals, birds, and whatever swims in the surrounding waters.  I was very enchanted by our first encounter with seals in 2012 and hoped to see more on our most recent trip.  I was not disappointed.  I spotted the first seal when we reached the lighthouse, which is notable for its beauty as well as the adjacent natural bridge next to it.  Four more seals appeared in another area nearby.  They seemed to be as curious about us as we were about them, though they were terrible teases!  They'd pop their heads out of the water, then do something interesting just as I put the camera down.  I got a huge kick out of watching them.



Seals on the beach...



As we headed back to the ship, I looked over a cliffside and saw even more seals.  They were lounging on the beach.  I zoomed in as much as I could with my digital camera.  As soon as I'm finished writing up this trip, I will make a video with the footage I shot of the seals.  They really were fun to watch, especially since they were in their natural habitat.


No dogs allowed...  :(


I never saw a bull.  Wonder if this sign was bullshit?

At the end of our walk, there was a most welcome sight...  The ship's purser, Bobbie, had set up a table with cookies, coffee, tea, and whisky.  Iain, the very handsome hotel manager from Islay who now lives in Mexico when he's not working, handed me a cup of hot coffee spiked liberally with Bailey's Irish Cream.  It was so good after hiking in the cold, damp weather!  Bill and I stood around chatting with a couple of other passengers about recent baby naming trends!  Then we donned life vests, got in the tender, and went back to the Princess.  On that particular day, the captain had allowed the ship's speedboat to be used as a tender.  I didn't try it myself...  Maybe if it had been warmer outside?


Taken in 2012, I saw them break out the picnic basket again for us in 2016...

On our first visit to Sanda Island, there was to be a hotel that appeared to be open seasonally.  The building is still there, but I don't think it operates anymore.  I have a feeling the abandoned appliances next to the refreshment canopy came from the abandoned lodging.


Another shot from 2012.  I think this sign has since been taken down.


Welcome refreshments...

Now, for this next bit, I have to confess I'm a little mixed up.  I'm not sure what we had for lunch on Friday.  It could have been fish and chips or it could have been the cold seafood buffet (based on my photos, I'm thinking we actually had the buffet on St. Patrick's Day).  I'm going to write about the seafood buffet, though it could be that we had it the day prior to our Sanda visit.  It was one of the highlights for me.


A close up of the fresh salmon booty...



Very fresh salmon, smoked salmon, cous cous, salad, smoked trout, and a little prosciutto...  We enjoyed this with a bottomless glass of wine.


Eton mess!  This has become a favorite dessert of mine.

I love fresh fish.  There was an abundance of fresh fish on Hebridean Princess.  In fact, there was so much fresh fish that I actually got a little sick of eating fish!  But the one meal that stands out to me was the day we had the cold seafood buffet.  We ordered starters, which consisted of soup or salad, then lined up for fresh salmon, smoked salmon, smoked trout, shrimp and crab legs.  There were also salads and breads.  For me, it was such a treat to have fresh salmon for lunch, especially since it was very beautifully presented.  Having done three cruises on Hebridean Princess, I can say that each time they've served the cold seafood buffet, the salmon has been presented differently, but still beautifully. This time, the two huge fish were decorated with either beets or cucumbers.  I was amazed by the artistry of the chef and his staff!


A side view of the salmon...


This was the fresh salmon on one of our first cruises.


I probably took this in Rothesay or Campbeltown...



These photos were taken in November 2012.  There were several baby seal pups on Sanda Island when we visited the first time.  I didn't see any babies on this latest visit, but wanted to include these photos for those who want to see a baby seal up close!  





Sheep!






No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments on older posts will be moderated until further notice.