Silurian Archives
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On board Silurian

Crew of the SilurianSilurian is HWDTs research and education vessel.

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.

Read the 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, click here.

If you would like to send the crew an e-mail with your questions click here.

Click here to view the Silurian Log archive.


Tuesday 15th May, 2007

Date: Tuesday 15th May 2007

Anchorage: Gunna Sound

Position: 56° 33’.680N 006° 42’.760W

Distance Travelled: 52 NM

Another bloomin’ day in paradise onboard Silurian. Woke up to such fabulous sunshine that Mat and Susie were moved to put on their shorts. However, as Susie’s legs are not quite hairy enough to keep her warm in the chill May air (unlike the skipper’s), she had to resort to wearing thermal long johns under her shorts. Along with her yellow wellies, and the lucky killer whale as charms, good luck could only come our way.

We fished the hook up and departed in the direction of Tiree, passing south of Lunga. No sooner had the voyage begun than Russell shot up to the crow’s nest like a ferret up a Yorkshireman’s trousers (or shorts). And all went quiet on deck. Observations went quite calmly until we were a couple of miles short of the east coast of Tiree.

But then we spotted a minke whale…and then another…in a short time we were up to a possible four minkes, although from the photo-identification we could only be sure of two. One of the whales was significantly larger than the other, and its surface behaviour was quite different. In the midst of this action, we were joined by a gentle giant in the form of a large basking shark, who posed for pictures from all angles. At this point the skipper proclaimed from the helm that he was “in tune with the fishes”, to be swiftly reminded by his crew of the reputedly small brain size of basking sharks...

In the midst of the minke-shark excitement, a small group of three porpoises came to join the fun. Photo identification continued for a while and then we pressed on around the south of Tiree towards the west, where we encountered many more (slightly more photo-shy) basking sharks. General data entry chaos ensued. It was a good job that Susie and Paul were able to take charge of the computer as it was very busy…

By the time we were halfway up the west side of Tiree a total of 26 basking sharks had been sighted. They came thick and fast at times. After this point things calmed down, but Russell maintained his position in the crow’s nest, determined to still be there when we entered Gunna Sound. This is where we are anchored right now. Another splendid feast was rustled up by Mat and Susie (beany burger recipe attached (chilli version recommended)). We are all now gently vegging before we retire. Russell muses how we will surpass today…

Recipe for beany burgers – serves 4 normal people or one Silurian volunteer

50g pine nuts

50g pumpkin seeds

425g borlotti beans (drained and rinsed)

1 small onion (finely chopped)

2 tbsp tomato paste

85g fresh breadcrumbs

1 tbsp fresh thyme (or chilli powder)

1 beaten egg

Oil for frying

  1. toast pine nuts and seeds
  2. mash beans and add all ingredients (but only half of the breadcrumbs)
  3. mix and season to taste
  4. with wet hands shape mixture
  5. coat burgers with breadcrumbs
  6. cover and chill for 30 mins
  7. fry for 3-4 mins
  8. eat. Yum.

Swedish word for the day – ‘havet’ meaning ‘the sea’

Volunteers and crew of Silurian

Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, 28 Main Street, Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland, PA75 6NU Contact Us