On board Silurian
Silurian is HWDTs research and
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,
If you would like to send the crew an e-mail with your questions click here.
Click here to view the Silurian Log archive.
30th June 2009
Tuesday 30th June 2009
Location: Tobermory Bay
Position: 56°37.240N 06°04.038W
Distance travelled: 30 miles
It would have been too much to ask for ANOTHER fantastic day, so nobody was dissapointed when we didn't have any sightings in our trip from Hough Bay back to Tobermory via Hawes Bank. The sea state had picked up slightly, making observing conditions a little more difficult to spot the elusive porpoise or even anything larger. We did spot plenty of seabirds and the scenery as usual was amazing. Once in Tobermory we all mucked in to scrub the boat clean then had a few hours to clean ourselves up and go buy some Tobermory malt or some chocolate from the chocolate factory. We then all had a fabulous farewell meal at the Western Isles hotel. After a few wee drams and a good nights sleep we were on our way. The whole trip was such fun, 10 times what was expected!
29th June 2009
Date: 29th June 2009
Location: Hough Bay, Isle of Coll.
Position: 56°37.534N 006°37.315W
Distance travelled: 53.4 miles
Today was a rather uneventful day (LOL, only 22 sightings as opposed to 50 the other day!). We set sail to some windy and slightly rainy weather. Dressing in our foul weather gear we powered forward into a cold blustery sea. Just as we were thinking our trip could not get any better than the previous days encounters we came into sight of 2 bottlenose dolphins. Our first sighting of the day! They were off in the distance but very special just the same.
Sailing onwards the seas calmed, the sun peaked out allowing us to view at three different locations upwards of 30 basking sharks. Most were feeding and some with a bit more energy were breeding! We saw juvenile basking sharks and large adults. All different sizes to be had.
Amazing as all this sounds it gets better folks. Off in the distance was an animal rarely seen in these parts large as a bus with a very distinctive blow. It was an adult Humpback whale!! He seemed amused by our presence and milled about the boat. What a great sight. Cameras were clicking away and batteries getting low as we shot away. Halfway into this encounter a Minke whale appeared from nowhere. More photographs taken and data logged into the onboard laptop computer. The humpback allowed us the view him for more than an hour before we moved on our way. We saw 3 Minke’s this day along with 6 Harbour porpoise and 7 Seal sightings.
All that is left for a us now is the see the resident Orca clan that roams these islands…check in tomorrow to see how we do.
28th June 2009
Date: Sunday 28th June 2009
Anchorage: Little Kettle Pool, Loch Skiport, North Uist.
Position: 57°19’533N 007°14’918W
Distance travelled: 49.7 miles
Leaving Ensay in the sound of South Harris we sighted a Basking shark with an uncharacteristic curled over dorsal fin, this was soon followed by a second Basking shark. Leaving the sound we entered the Sea of the Hebrides and met a friendly Minke whale that approached our boat and allowed us to see its white flippers under the surface of the water. Throughout the day we sighted two other juvenile Minke whales, a pod of 25 short beaked common dolphins that swam our bow wave and around us for several minutes. The Dolphins were feeding with diving Gannets and the hydrophone picked up whistles and clicks. Also sighted were numerous seals and juvenile Puffins (along with many other seabird species) and twelve Harbour porpoise sightings. Also sighted were numerous moon and lions mane jelly fish. The sea was in most cases mirror calm with shades of grey and blue. The day ended with a silvery entrance and mooring in Little Kettle Pool of Loch Skiport of the Isle of South Uist. This is a beautiful rocky island with a great collection of birds.