The Bubble from the Deep

Neil reports…

A weird Sci-Fi story to tell . . . . but more of that later.

Stuart and I made a last minute decision to take advantage of the good weather before the heavy rain and high winds come in for the rest of the week.

We were on the water, at Portencross Castle, by 10.30. Almost immediately we passed a guy fishing from a sea kayak. Said he was sure to catch enough mackerel for a good dinner.

Nothing much was happening on the water and indeed it was pretty much that way all day and very little wind, so we made our first target at the southern end of Bute pretty quickly.  We turned north and paddled round to Kilchattan Bay where we stopped to refuel our ageing bodies.  The plan then was to aim for Bells Bay half way up the west side of Cumbrae and turn south through the gap between the Big & Little Cumbraes. Now maybe it was too much sun or maybe just a burst of youthful (stop laughing) exuberance, but next thing we knew, we were heading north and circumnavigating both Cumbraes.  With the paddling easy and no wind/wave action to trouble us, there was ample time to take in the magnificent scenery and blether about boats and paddles. In no time we were 2/3rds of the way down the east side of Cumbrae and granted ourselves a wee 10 minute stretch.

My hero Stuart came through with 4 bite-sized Mars Bars and we sat and chomped away like a couple of Enid Blyton kids on a wee bike trip. Refreshed and re-energized we decided to cross to the 2 giant windmills and run down that coast for a change. No matter how often you pass these modern windmills, when you paddle right under them, boy are they HUGE.

OK, time for the Twilight Zone theme tune to start playing.  About a mile ahead, just beyond Hunterston Power Station, we could see something really strange in the water. It looked like the last part of a ship as it sinks below the bubbling water – but this thing didn’t sink, it just stayed there and the waters bubbled and leapt all around it – and it was pretty big.  We noticed the water around our boats was no longer Scottish Chilly, but more tepid bath warm.  Suddenly, about 40 sq.m. of water immediately in front of my bow jumped/shuddered, as did my heart. Stuart reckons it was a shoal of sand eels that had been surprised by my boat. Not sure who surprised who here.  When we were maybe 400 metres from it we decided what we thought looked like a huge rock (which we knew could not be there – at any tide level) was in fact a huge mass of rising water. It was about 4 feet above the sea level and about the area of ½ a football pitch.  It must have been a controlled (hopefully) outpouring from Hunterston, probably cooling water which, as it did its job, picked up heat from its surroundings. The water around us was even warmer now . . . . . and me in a plastic boat!  If you should happen to notice, next time we are at the loch, that Stuart has 3 eyes and I have a tail, you will know why!