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The Traveller, Tex Geddes Shark hunting boat at Soay Harbour. | by Watson class
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The Traveller, Tex Geddes Shark hunting boat at Soay Harbour.

This is all that remains of the Traveller, a MacDuff built larch on oak Fifie of 34 feet overall x 12 foot beam x 4 foot 8 inches draught and fitted with a whaling harpoon gun named "Sugan", one of the boats used by Tex Geddes and Gavin Maxwell for hunting basking sharks in the waters around Skye and the Small Isles. She lies on the beach opposite the old shark station in Soay Harbour, the engine a Kelvin J4 can be seen in the centre, this powerful 44 brake horse power diesel was fitted to replace her original 26 horse power Kelvin petrol paraffin engine, which was of ample power for shark hunting until the arrival of large numbers of Norwegian whaling vessels in Hebridean waters in 1951 attracted by the high price of shark liver oil made the new engine installation essential.

Much of the vessel's ballast had to be moved forward after installation of the new engine to prevent water coming in over the stern when she pulled down at full power, the large pile of stone ballast can still be seen in the bow.

Boats used by Gavin Maxwell and his Island of Soay Shark Fishery Ltd. were a 30 foot ex. lobster fishing boat named Gannet , a costly mistake in the form of a 70 foot Zulu ex. sailing drift netter from the Stornoway fishing fleet called Dove which although useful for transporting materials during the building of the shark station soon proved to be useless for shark hunting due to her high freeboard and was replaced by an ex. R.N. 72 foot Harbour Defence Motor Launch of double diagonal mahogany construction with twin 160 horse power Gleniffer diesels, Gavin Maxwells pride and joy, he lived aboard much of the time and named her Sea Leopard, all the boats were fitted with whaling harpoon guns.

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Taken on January 20, 2046