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A night on an ismuth

Ismuth, some years ago I didn’t even know the word. Why would I, there aren’t any ismuses in Czech republic and I didn’t learn English by reading a dictionary from A to Z. So for years I haven’t known something like this existed. Until some years ago, during one of my paddling holidays with friends Ali and Nick, we had lunch on one. Ismuth, Nick said, and then he explained what it means. A narrow strip of land with water on both sides connecting two larger areas of land.

So paddling to Taransay, the aim was clear, to stay there for a night, as the beach between the two islands is a perfect example of an ismuth. Besides, it was time for Michal to learn the word and its meaning as well.

We liked Taransay. Not only it gave us shelter from some very big seas while rounding Toe Head, it had a nice feeling about it and gave view to many beaches on this side of Harris.

Talking about big seas, when big swell was crushing into the cliffs coming back at us, and having some strong gusts to make the waves even more confused to what they already were, it was really a time to appreciate our kayaks. We played with the waves there and now trying to sit still with the paddle in the air or with our eyes shut. Amazingly, our kayaks were dead stable, and we could take photographs.

We walked around the island for a bit, but didn’t visit any of its former churches, nor the one for men’s burial neither the one for women’s one. Neither did we go to see the “village” Paible, and where Castaway 2000 took place. No, we stayed close to our ismuth, and explored the dunes, observed the deer and sheep, not the needy kind from previous stop. And marvelled at the colours of boulders and patterns on the beach. The white sand was mixing with some black one and it looked like battique or mackerels.

From Taransay we planned for Huisinish point, however the wind had different ideas. It wasn’t that bad at first, surfing down wind and then following the lee side of the island. But when I decided to stop for short while just after the sand spit and had to paddle 300metres against the wind, it became clear, that today it was unlikely to go very far. Still, we decided to try and continued hugging the coast admiring its rocky formations. Then, once in the sound, the wind hit us full speed. We fought for half hour, but then had to admit defeat, we could do this for one hour but won’t be able to last for three or four. We turned and sailed down wind followed by some nice hills towards Tarbert.

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