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 8th September 2011
Anchorage: Loch Moidart
Distance travelled: 49.2NM
Today we had a great day exploring remote and beautiful Scotland by boat and foot. Eugene and Max started the day with a swim in the cold water of Loch Aline. We then headed out of the Sound of Mull and towards the Cairns of Coll in the hope of spotting some minke whale but there did not appear to be any whales about, just plenty of harbour porpoise to keep our visual observers busy. Tom had a great experience up in the crows nest and particularly enjoyed having a bacon buttie brought up to him shortly followed by spotting his very first fulmar. Our day ended nearby an amazing castle, with steps up to the top towers that gave stupendous views of the surroundings. We scampered around the ruins and found old fireplaces, stoves and deep, dark, chambers. When we got back to the boat we discussed past results from data collected onboard Silurian and finished up with a game of cards or two.
Wednesday 7th September 2011
Anchorage: Loch Aline
Distance travelled: 43.9NM
We woke up to sunshine this morning however as we set off up Loch Linnhe the weather changed to yesterday’s heavy rain and wind, although this time we were determined to stay on visual effort. We spent about one and a half hours on the mast with both rain and wind in our faces. It was a pretty amazing feeling that our Russian’s had definitely not experienced before. Megan started the sightings off with a grey seal spotted bobbing around in the waves. Then two harbour porpoises, three common seals followed and a few more porpoises to end the day. Evgeny and Max cooked for the first time: baked potatoes with beans, cheese and tomatoes. It was so good that the whisky didn’t need to be cooked. We are hoping to leave the Sound of Mull tomorrow but as always we shall wait and see what the weather and the mornings inshore waters forecast brings us, good night all.
Tuesday 6th September 2011
Anchorage: Loch Creran
Distance travelled: 24NM
Today we left Loch Spelve in the rain and wind and ventured out into the Sound of Mull. The wind was a little too strong for surveying so we left the hydrophone do the work whilst we dried out in the saloon. The hydrophone detected 7 harbour porpoises and some fish farm seal scarers were played to us. Between the wind and the rain we went outside and practised our birds and then watched the HWDT dvd. The day swiftly passed and soon enough it was time to retreat to our cabins. We dreamed of blue skies and sunshine in anticipation of another day like Monday. Keen eyes tomorrow…
Monday 5th September 2011
Anchorage: Loch Spelve
Distance travelled: 47.9NM
Today we left Bunessan and travelled west circling around Iona and the Torran Rocks. At the northern tip of Iona, and relatively soon after we had set off, we encountered some basking sharks; 10 in total. We played slalom around the sharks trying to get photo ID shots of each of their fins and got to see some of them very close up. After successfully capturing all 10 individuals we moved on. We did not get too far however before we encountered another feeding group of basking sharks, this time 15! There was an incredibly large shark amongst these individuals and the crew estimated at least 9m in length. We even got to see inside its mouth. The day continued on with some more basking shark sightings (28 in total) and even a porpoise or 3! Even with all these basking shark sightings our identification still may need some work… a sighting of marine litter, specifically a white piece of plastic, turned out to be a basking shark with its mouth open….
We anchored in Loch Spelve and for dinner had bangers and mash cooked by Tom and Megan. Tom even mashed the potatoes for 9 people by hand. We then got given a presentation on birds after dinner and soon retired to our beds.