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.
Thursday 5th May 2011
Anchorage: Tobermory Bay
Position: 56°33’.132N, 005°45’.649W
Distance travelled: 39.2NM
The last day of surveying began with some typical wet and windy Scottish weather, the first time we had experienced such elements on the trip. The drizzle subsided late morning and with the wind in our faces we managed to get the sails up, much to the delight of the group.
Apart from an incident with some tomato soup, Tom’s face and the saloon roof our day was turning out to be pretty uneventful by our standards. We saw some spectacular gannet diving and many birds but the cetaceans remained elusive. Around the corner form Tobermory lighthouse however we had our sighting, spotted by Ben; a group of very energetic harbour porpoises and even a couple of common dolphins in the mix. A brilliant sighting to end a brilliant trip.
After a scrub down of the boat, an awards ceremony and an emotional farewell to our supreme Swiss sighter the rest of the group went out for a dinner a few drinks to celebrate such a successful trip.
On behalf of all the crew we would like to say thank you to such an enthusiastic group of volunteers, we couldn’t ask for a better group of people and we hope you all come back again! Slange!
Wednesday 4th May 2011
Anchorage: Tarbet,Loch Nevis,
Position: 56°58.400’N 005°38.220’W
Distance travelled: 52.9NM
Despite great conditions again the inevitable killer whale ‘orcinus orca’ didn’t surface. So again we had to satisfy ourselves with porpoises and seals. Nice and calm day brimming with excitement and we didn’t get our whale. Apparently we youngsters missed a sea eagle this morning whilst enjoying the comfort of our beds. Whoops. At least we had the dead sperm whale to look forward to. I’ve also noticed that we always anchor near a pub, which is hard to come by in the hebs. Funny that. So, another lovely couple of Scottish ales in the sun outside a busy pub, 20 miles from the nearest road (google Old Forge Inverie) with a couple of chickens poking around. Then the Sperm whale… (courtesy of Tom McLean) I won’t ruin it but let’s just say that I was left very unimpressed. The crew seemed to think it was funny...NOT FUNNY (Actually, VERY funny for those in on the joke)
☼ Rubbish of the day…the sperm whale of course
Tuesday 3rd May 2011
Position: 57°26.889’N 006°35.848’W
Distance travelled: 50.3NM
Despite being woken up slightly before the designated breakfast time, the majority were in good spirits. The first major revelation of the day was that our resident Swiss volunteer was sighting in his sleep: 100 metres to the left to be precise. Shortly after being on effort, the first piece of marine litter was recorded: 1 metre, to the right: the scientific officer’s sunglasses. We managed to get all the sails up by mid-morning and not long after we had our first conscious sighting of the day. Harbour porpoises. In fact despite great conditions and a perfect track record, we only saw porpoises and seals. Such is the success of our trip so far, that was deemed borderline disappointing. Perhaps we should lower our standards. After we were all off effort we jumped into Cecilia and nipped to the pub on Skye to do an experiment on the local ale. This was successful and we set about the daunting task of finding a picturesque beach in which to have a barbecue. We really have it tough here
☼ Rubbish of the day….the science officer`s sunglasses, oops.
Monday 2nd May 2011
Anchorage: Loch Cliadh
Position: 57°55.533’N 006°35.741’W
Distance travelled: 37.9NM
A late start after restocking with essentials (chocolate) water and groceries then across calm seas to visit the Shiants where we were surrounded by rafts of several hundred Razorbill, Guillemot and Puffin. We then motored to a beautiful anchorage in Loch Cliadh with seals hauled out 50 metres from our stern.
Our first day without a sighting of either a whale or a dolphin but there were plenty of porpoises and an ever improving (deteriorating?) level of banter. One of our sightings even included a floating bucket, masquerading as a seal to the annoyance of myself…
☼ Rubbish of the day was a golf ball.
Sunday 1st May 2011
Anchorage: Stornoway harbour
Position: 58°12.468’N 006°23.536’W
Distance travelled: 55 NM
A memorable birthday for me yesterday, thanks colleagues, crew and dolphins…and this remarkable weather.
The joys of an early start, by ten past seven we were watching common dolphins on a calm sea in the sunshine. From there the day evolved in what is becoming routine….birds, bacon butties, tea, creels, soup, porpoises, tea, cake, sunshine and a yummy supper. The differences today however were civilisation; beer, pool and even a yachtie joke, courtesy of Stornoway harbour:
Three yachts came into harbour, 1 English, 1 Scottish & 1 Irish……harbour master: is this a joke? (inspired by neighbouring irish yachties dancing on our deck at 6am…cheers lads)
☼ Rubbish of the day was a garden chair.