Most weeks April through October she is either monitoring
the waters of the west coast of Scotland for whales, dolphins, and
porpoises, or serving as a floating classroom for one of the many Argyll
island primary and secondary schools.
log below to find out what Silurian and her crew have been up to each
week and all about the whales, dolphins and porpoises they spot!
To find out about the latest marine life sightings spotted elsewhere,
Days 1 & 2: Islay Education Trip
I awoke early…...6am……onboard Silurian, the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trusts (HWDT) research sail boat. The previous day we had begun our journey from Tobermory to Dunstaffnage Marina on a two week mission to visit school groups around the Hebridean Islands on the west coast of Scotland. Yesterday I met the crew; Nicole the education officer, Duncan the skipper, Brian the 1st mate, volunteers Molly and Susan, and myself, the new HWDT photo-identification officer.
The passage between Mull and the main land was fantastic, with a glassy calm sea and a small bracing breeze. I thought that this short journey would be uneventful but I was to be proved wrong. As we travelled down the Island, still within sight of Tobermory, I heard a cry…..minke! I turned quickly to see the whale surface only metres away from the boat. These little leviathans occur around many of the UK’s coastlines but they are especially common, during the summer months around the islands of western Scotland. However, seeing a whale like this was still great sight, especially at this time, early in the season, and hopefully a good omen for a great trip ahead.
Today our task was to help with teaching the St. Columba’s primary school children in Oban about the marine environment and the kinds of animals which live there, right on their doorsteps. We had many activities planned including tours around the Silurian, listening to underwater sounds through the hydrophone and games such as measuring out the size of a blue whale. I was assigned to the touch tank, a box containing all manner of sea creatures which we collected before the kids arrived. Next we went down to the rocky shore to see if we could find some of the same species from the touch tank. Hopefully my three years studying marine biology would come in use now, and luckily it did. It was really cool seeing how much these children enjoyed looking at and asking questions about crabs, jelly fish, sea anemones, and even limpets & barnacles. I hope that they took something away from these lessons about the different marine species which can be found in and around their local beaches and rock pools, as well as having a really fun day out of the classroom.
The sun has since set on yet another day. However, tomorrow we’ll get to do it all over again.
Mike Tetley, Photo-Identification Officer