cruises, Hebridean Island Cruises

Cape Wrath lives up to its name…

Wednesday evening, Captain Kirkwood told us that we’d have a “long run” in the morning. This was the day we’d be crossing over the top of Scotland to the more familiar western isles. I remembered on a previous cruise, a lady who had been Hebridean’s guest on 26 cruises told me about going over the top of Scotland. She said it was tough going. I sort of expected that we’d have an uncomfortable ride as we crossed over Cape Wrath, but for some reason, it never occurred to me to arm myself with motion sickness pills.

Sure enough, Thursday morning, we awoke very early in the morning to rollicking seas. Since we were in the bowels of the ship, we had no windows to gaze out from, but I watched the picture nailed to the wall swing side to side as the room rocked with the sea. I was actually okay, as long as I stayed in bed. That would have been fine, if not for one thing… I got a visit from Aunt Flow. Please forgive the TMI, but I have a terrible habit of booking vacations during “that time of the month”. And Thursday happened to be right smack dab in the middle of that time of the month for August. So staying in bed wasn’t really the best option.

Bill actually had a worse time of it than I did, and he was the first one to puke. And then, as if in sympathy, I followed suit. That set off a cascade of vomiting that left me with bloody eyes and a bruised face. The sad thing is, all of this occurred in the last hour of so of the four hours of rough seas we experienced. I managed to get my clothes on and went to the reception area, where Doreen, the head housekeeper, had set out seasickness pills. I took one and was blessedly okay… and also knocked out cold. Those pills contain diphenhydramine, which is the same thing in Benadryl. It will stop motion related puking, but it will also put you to sleep.

I never made it to breakfast. I don’t think many people did. There were quite a few people who were green around the gills as we passed over that rough patch. I should mention that I don’t usually get seasick on Hebridean cruises, because they usually stay out of rough waters. This cruise was another matter.

We did manage to make lunch and afterwards, I put on some makeup so I wouldn’t scare people. Our cruise had whisky expert Jim Allan aboard, along with his wife, a nurse. She took one look at my petechiae covered face and clucked sympathetically. One week later, my eye is finally almost looking normal again. If I ever go over Cape Wrath again, I WILL take seasickness meds preemptively. Incidentally, Mr. Allan’s first whisky lecture took place on Thursday, but I heard not many were able to make it.

I’m glad we did make lunch, since it was the day Hebridean offered its famous cold seafood buffet. Every time we’ve been aboard, one day during the cruise, they have two whole salmons beautifully decorated among langoustines, smoked salmon, shrimp, fresh oysters, and smoked trout.

That afternoon after lunch, we visited lovely Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis. The weather had turned sunny and we took a coach to visit the Callanish Stones and The Gearrannan Black House Village. The Callanish Stones are arrangement of stones arranged in a crucifix pattern. They were erected in the Neolithic Age and were a focus for ritual activity during the Bronze Age. I thought they were really cool looking… I have not yet been to Stonehenge, but I’d compare this attraction to Stonehenge.

I also enjoyed our visit to the Gearrannan Black House Village, which has a museum and offers holiday accommodations. It’s basically an example of a village of the last century, where people lived in hardscrabble thatched “black” cottages. We listened to a lecture by the curator who explained the history behind the cottages and offered a loom demonstration. This is the land where Harris Tweed comes from, even though the Isle of Harris is next door to the Isle of Lewis. Here are some photos from our excursion.

Thursday night after dinner, there was also live entertainment by Patrona, a three man band playing Celtic tunes. I would have loved to have attended. I heard there was singing and dancing. Unfortunately, I was left so depleted by the morning’s vomiting fest that Bill and I decided to turn in early. I was sad to do it, though. I love live music, particularly of the Celtic variety. It would have been fun to watch the dancing, too. Quite a few fellow passengers were octogenarians who were surprisingly spry.

Friday was a less intense day, sea wise. More on that in the next post.


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  1. Pingback: Highland Park Distillery and Scapa Distillery… – The Traveling Overeducated Housewife

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