What a beautiful morning, but one that was set to deteriorate fast over the next few hours.
With several folk hoping to get off island on Friday, QinetiQ made the decision to bring forward the helicopter by a day. All staff and contractors who travel to St Kilda by helicopter must undergo HUET training – this is a pool based exercise which provides people with vital training on how to escape a helicopter if it were to …errrr…’land’ at sea – but our certificates only allow us to travel if the sea state is 6 or below. If QinetiQ were rescheduling the flight then the forecast must be bad! So, great news that folk would still be able to head off and carry on with their onward journeys, but it did mean half a day of frantic activity by Craig, the NTS archaeologist as he prepared to leave the island!
As predicted, a day later and the sea is churned up with large waves rumbling into the bay, crashing off cliffs and over-topping the jetty. The high sea state combined with violent gusts would certainly have prevented travel by helicopter.
I did a quick check around-and-about the buildings this morning to make sure no unfortunate shearwaters or petrels needed rescuing after grounding themselves overnight and then very quickly made the decision to delay my visit to the nest boxes. I tried in the afternoon but the gusts were severe at the top of the hill and aren’t to be messed with especially on exposed and slippery areas so I retreated back to the warmth of the office.
It’s actually not raining all that much which always makes the day feel a bit brighter, but I can hear the roaring noise of the sea and wind and this is a constant reminder of just how autumnal it is. The forecast shows some raindrops heading this way over the next few days so I’ll make sure to keep my umbrella handy!