05/10/06The first thing to say is the whirlpool is not a permanent bathplug type whirlpool which is there all the time, although under certain conditions you can see one large whirlpool. During low tides there is usually still some activity above the pinnacle because of the volume of water flowing through the gulf. High tides in theory produce the best action, but even on a low one the ebb tide can produce hundreds of whirlpools which appear and disappear all around you.
During spring tides, if the wind is from the west, it can produce waves up to fifteen feet high, as water is forced up the flat east face of the pinnacle and breaks to the surface.
Divers regularly dive to the pinnacle, but there is only about fifteen minutes of slack before they must return to the surface or risk being swept to the bottom by the tidal flow. Only very experienced divers are allowed to attempt it.
Although there have been many shipwrecks in the Hebrides, there appears to be only one which took place in the gulf area. A Norwegian Barque was blown from it's anchorage off Colonsay by a storm and wrecked on the west shore of Scarba, the crew scrambled to safety and were picked up later by a fishing boat.
A far as going to see the whirlpool is concerned there are several boat operators who can take you. See the links page for details.
See Mike's website for lots more info on the tides and the whirlpool.