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.
Monday 20th June 2011
Position: 58°01.364’N 005°28.734’W
Anchorage: Summer Isles
Distance travelled: 50.5NM
Today began damp and grey, much like yesterday, but conditions were perfect for sighting. So perfect, in fact, that the normally ‘elusive’ porpoises were popping up everywhere: 34 animals within the first hour alone. As we left the shelter of the Eye Peninsula, the swell picked up and we were soon rolling around. It wasn’t as bad as yesterday’s ‘Death Roll’ but it got pretty interesting. Halfway across the Minch, Laurel spotted some fins which proved to be a small group of white-beaks. They came over briefly to say hello and we got a good view of them through the water. Next on the agenda were three common dolphins that came tearing out of the waves directly ahead and shot straight past us without stopping. It all happened so fast we weren’t quite sure what to do, but it would have been useless to give chase – they move so much faster than us!
We made such good progress that we reached the coast earlier than expected so turned Silurian south towards the Summer Isles. In the distance was a cloud of feeding gannets and below them – a horde of common dolphins. They weren’t interested in us either – something much more fun was obviously going on in the dolphin world today. This was our last sighting of the day and thankfully the dolphins stuck around long enough for Elna, who was busy cooking up a storm in the galley, to see them. Dinner was cooked single handedly and served well before 8pm a record for us, well done Elna!
We anchored in a lovely spot in the Summer Isles, next to the best island ever – Tannera Beag. Better than Pabbay, better than Eilean Chaluim Chille. Rod ran off in a zig-zag as a flurry of excitement took over. On his journey he discovered a plethora of interesting geological features…. ‘High adventure!’ he shouted. First stop was the 83 metre peak with a view that revealed the rest of the islands and a slow setting sun. ”Ho my word, what is she doing” he blurted as below one of the volunteers was removing her clothes. SPLASH! Everyone was in awe at the bravery as Laurel leaped in to the dark waters of the island’s only loch. The sun was still setting and there was more to be seen. It wasn’t the sight that sent him running but the thought of missing the opportunity to investigate further. In the distance Olivia noticed an incredible rock jutting out in to the sea that simply had to be scampered upon. On arrival they found that the edge was overhanging so they crawled to the edge to spit over the side. It was then Rod noticed the large vacant space were a rock had freshly fallen away. “Shall we depart?” Rod said. ”I rather think we should” said Olivia.
With everyone safely back at the dinghy, three curious seals watched our return to the boat.