Apologies for the absence of new entryies from me lately but the Rangers have been rushed off our feet attending to the needs of cruise ship visitors over the past couple of weeks. Fair weather or foul, they have kept coming. The largest vessel to call on us was the Saga Pearl 2 which made three landings at St Kilda.
The first day they only just managed to land due to gusting winds and rain but on the second they came ashore easily with their onboard Piper a lot happier to stand out in the sunshine to welcome the guests ashore.
It is not always like this. On a few occasions cruise ships turn up in bad weather and are unable to land their guests. It can be hazardous getting in and out of dinghies at the best of times and in rough seas it is considered too dangerous for inexperienced passengers. When this situation arises I always offer to go out to the ship with a rucksach full of postcards to sell on board. Better I get a soaking than a passenger fall in the sea. Just before the Saga Pearl 2 arrived, the National Geographic Explorer anchored at St Kilda in rough conditions and accepted my offer to make the hazardous crossing of Village Bay to sell postcards, and yes I was wearing my life-jacket!
All in a days work, as they say, but with all the dinghies buzzing back and forth to our one landing point I still have to remain ever alert to possible challenges to our bio-security. We welcome almost all visitors to St Kilda but one arrived eager to land but on this occasion I had to, somewhat reluctantly, say no.
Our insistence on everyone coming ashore in open boats is based on the premise that we can visually check for rats or other unwanted visitors. Being a dog lover myself, it was hard to say no to the old girl but back to her ship she had to go.
Quieter times are expected for the next couple of days so another entry soon.