With the summer coming up, and hopefully the warmer weather as well, it's great to see a few new businesses starting up who offer new sea related things to do on the island. If all goes as planned Islay will finally have wildlife boat trips in four weeks or so. They will initially sail from Port Ellen pontoons twice a day, one boat trip in the morning and one in the afternoon. The initiative for these trips comes from Gus Newman who used to run the Islay Dive Centre and now owns Stormcats, the boat building company at Lagavulin. His new venture will run under the name Islay Sea Adventures and looks very promising. When I spoke to Gus this week he also mentioned chartered trips and other options for bespoke tours, diving etc. This is a great new addition for families on the island. You can follow the progress and final starting dates/times on their Facebook page
Another type of "Sea Adventure" is a new fitness trend, called Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP), which originated mainly from Hawaii around the 1960s. Now what is this exactly? Here we go: "Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is like surfing only on a much bigger, more stable board with a big paddle. This makes it relatively easy to learn on the right equipment and its great for fitness. Most importantly its great fun and offers you the chance to try a watersport in a safe environment." The great news is that Islay now has two licensed instructors, Shona Ramsay and Rhona MacPhee, who can teach you everything you need to know before you can venture out on your own. For more info visit their new website at www.islaysup.co.uk
The waters around Islay are also excellent for sea kayaking, hence the presence of the Islay Canoe Club. Now one of the members of the Canoe Club, Dave Protherough, has started a new business and takes people out to sea for instruction and guided tours. The name of this new business is Kayak Wild Islay and has its base in Port Ellen. Dave said: "Half or Full day introduction to sea kayaking days are perfect if you wish to try sea kayaking for the first time. The Half day is best suited for those wishing to try Sea Kayaking for the very first time, we will kit you out, provide a safety demonstration and introduce the basics of boat handling to allow you to explore the bay and its surrounding skerries." If you need more information and contact details you can find them on www.kayakwildislay.co.uk.