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Thousands of people have watched a breath-taking video of a high speed boat taking on the famous Corryvreckan.
Boat builders and designers Safehaven Marine, based in County Cork, posted drone footage of the adventure on Facebook.
The crew stormed their way with Thunder Child II, valued at around 2m Euros and built as a military interceptor or patrol vessel, from their base in Ireland last month to take on the ‘pretty wild but beautiful’ whirlpool between the Islands of Jura and Scarba.
The day Thunder Child II visited there were westerly winds of Force 5 gusting 6, and a 3.9m tide.
Skipper Frank Kowalski who is also Safehaven Marine’s managing director said Corryvreckan that translates to cauldron perfectly describes the seething sea state around the whirlpools. The area has a reputation as potentially one of the most violent stretches of water in the world.
‘It was quite an experience to have the throttles set for 6kts, holding station just ahead of the standing waves that were breaking behind the boat, and not be moving at all!’ he said.
As the water flows through the Gulf of Corryvreckan it falls into a deep hole and then encounters the steep face of a basalt pinnacle, causing a massive upwelling surge of water to rise to the surface.
On a flood tide this surge meets swells entering the Gulf from the West and creates standing waves that can reach heights of 9m. Whirlpools that are also formed over the pinnacle can be up to 50m wide.
During a storm on spring tides it is said that the angry roar from the whirlpools can be heard up to 10 miles away, local legend calls it the voice of Cailleach, the hag of the whirlpool.
‘In a well-found boat the gulf can be safely navigated in fair conditions, or at slack water, but I can imagine that in a Westerly gale on a flood tide, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near the place,’ added Frank.
The four-day voyage started out from tourist town Cobh in County Cork, refuelling at Bangor marina, heading up the Northern Ireland coast to Rathlin Island before ‘a lumpy crossing’ to Scotland to enjoy two days taking Thunder Child II through the standing waves and whirlpools in the Gulf of Corryvreckan, and capturing some aerial drone video.
‘While we were there It was also nice to see one of our old Interceptor 42 passenger boats Venturer for the first time since we built her 15 years ago, and still looking good. Operated by Craignish Cruises running boat tours in the Gulf, they guided us on a tour around the islands visiting the notorious Grey Dogs tidal race and seeing the sea eagles nesting nearby,’ said Frank.
After spending a night isolated on the breakwater at Ardfern Marina, the crew headed back to Ireland with Thunder Child II running faultlessly throughout the voyage.
To watch the footage go to www.facebook.com/safehavenmarine/videos/