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.
25th September 2009
Date: Friday 25th September
Anchorage: Sieldaig, Loch Torridon
Position: 57°31’.595N, 05°39’.242 W
5-7 SW, it’s Friday! And it’s been a good day with multiple sightings: porpoises (and 18 group detections), seals, birds, boats, creels, and even a butterfly; a successful passing under the Skye Bridge, three adventurers up to the crow’s nest, and a beautiful end to the day’s journey with everyone lingering on deck instead of hurrying below to find warmth. During the day, a new term was learned by the American, German and Swiss travellers: the flapjack. It’s not a pancake. It is however a tasty treat of oats, raisins, golden syrup and butter. We observed a sea eagle mobbed by two buzzards as we ended our sail in Loch Torridon, which is a lovely spot to take a dinghy to the shore while someone is left on board to prepare a delicious cottage pie for dinner. Point of discussion during shore leave: What is an island? Is Skye no longer an island because of the Skye Bridge? We decided after not much discussion that Skye is indeed an island despite the bridge. Now it’s show time for a slideshow of the pictures taken so far.
24th September 2009
Date: Thursday 24th September
Anchorage: Isle Ornsay, Skye
Position: 57°09’.105N, 05°47’.564W
We left anchorage later in the morning. Nienke decided to start with a continued lesson computer data input procedure first while still anchored and not moving around too much. Yesterday the weather was bad and therefore it was not managed to explain the logging procedure to everybody yet. Better nice in harbour, than whilst rolling around.... Throughout the day, we had three porpoise sightings and 1 seal sighting, more than could be expected based on the sea state. Nevertheless, we broke the season’s record for the number of acoustic detections: wow, 33 harbour porpoises groups (last record was 29)! Also a lot of fearless birds were staying in the wind around the boat (mainly young herring gulls). On the way we got to notice the tools of the local fisherman; the creel’s. Fortunately no whale was trapped in any of them. Also our first rubbish was monitored and logged. Hats off to our asdic operator who picked up the Coastguard’s vessel’s propeller sound. Everyone is getting used to the different regular sounds picked up by the hydrophone, but picking up the more unusual sounds is still quite challenging and therefore noteworthy. Thanks to the cook of the evening meal. Fine chicken breast with roast vegetables and optional mustard. After dinner was a presentation about the main birds present in the area, while seated with a nice warm drink. Hopefully we are ready to recognise those tomorrow....
23th September 2009
Date: Wednesday 23th September
Anchorage: Loch Scresort, Rum
Position: 57°00’.767N, 06°16’.102W
Can it get better? The volunteers are bonding superbly. After an introduction last night and this morning, we bravely left Tobermory heading around Ardnamurchin and then up north. Some words on the weather. Initially sunny calm and showery but moving out of bed we discovered a little more realistic weather. Showers became a little more squally and wind speeds rose together with the sea heights. The first bit of the travel was OK, but soon big seas where ahead of us. A forecasted South West five to seven. As said: forecasted. Reality turned out to be worse although we were in relatively sheltered areas. Measurements showed that we had occasional gusts of force 9! The professional way in which the crew handed out the hot soup and tea was worthy of special mention (we were told not to mention however the bread on the floor). It was very difficult to spot anything in the rough waters and it was decided to shorten the route, so we anchored closer by in the bay on the east side of Rum. Our first day sightings were restricted to a variety of seabirds, an otter and a couple of ferries and multiple white horses. An illegal stowaway in the form of a wasp was escorted off the premises. To reduce the overcrowding in the galley a contingent braved the crossing from the anchorage to the shore which fortunately supported a pub surrounded by a castle. One of passengers misheard pub as “pup” and was sorely disappointed but was revivable under the influence of a refreshing elixir. In the mean time, the remaining team on board produced a very eatable bolognaise. Listen out for the next bulletin.