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.
15th and 16th June 2010
Tuesday 15th June 2010
Position: 57°32.000 N 005°59.400 W
Distance surveyed: 48.3 nm
We set out under grey skies, which stayed with us all day as we crossed the Minch. Although the day was cold and punctuated with rain, the sea remained surprisingly flat until we began to get close to Rona. Mike up in the crows nest for 2 hours, handy for sightings, tricky for passing up Roddy and Susie’s delicious bacon rolls., which eventually found him when he was back on deck. We had three sightings of porpoise (loads of porpoise clicks) and some lovely sightings of puffins and guillemots bouncing on the water before flipping their tails and diving for cover as the boat approached. As usual we picked up a handful of fulmars which chased round the boat and had a row with bonxie who was desperate to bust in on the action. Seals (grey) popped up their heads to check us out when we approached Rona, its mountains silhouetted against a stunning sky. Sarah cooked another delicious meal (lasagne). Then we all went ashore and walked up a very steep hill with magnificent views of Silurian behind us and then on the other side of the bay on the other side. Deer were spotted on the hills and a bat buzzed over us as the sun began to sink. Rona is a very beautiful island, again with its own distinct personality.
Wednesday 16th June 2010
Anchorage: Kyle of Lochalsh
Position: 57° 16.800 N 005°42.700 W
Left Rona for our last day of surveying on Silurian, and made our way down the Sound of Raasay back towards Kyle. The sea was flatter than flat and it wasn’t long before porpoises and seals were popping up all over the place, and it all got a bit busy on the sightings front. As we progressed down the Sound, we spotted a group of feeding seabirds a couple of kms away and decided to take a closer look. It wasn’t looking too promising on the cetacean front, though, until suddenly we spotted a fin…and then another…and a splash…and we were suddenly surrounded by a group of over 50 common dolphins. They’d been doing a spot of fishing when we found them, but soon they were bow-riding and clicking at our hydrophone and leaping around the boat. Generally, though, by common dolphin standards, they were quite chilled-out and sedate, and it was lovely to be able to take the time to have a good look at them as they rode our bow wave, and really appreciate just what bonny creatures they are. After such a special sighting, we were all a little dazed, and carried on under the Skye Bridge and into Kyle harbour with heads full of dolphins. A big clean up of the boat followed (nothing like a bottle of Pine Fresh Flash to bring you back down to earth), and then a lovely dinner out to end what’s been a great trip of brilliant volunteers, awesome scenery and fantastic sightings.