Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust's Boat Operator Celebration

We recently attended HWDT's Boat Operator Celebration last week at SAMS in Oban. A great gathering of our fellow small-ship cruise operators.


We were delighted to attend the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust's (HWDT) Boat Operator Celebration in Oban recently. The event was to celebrate all of the sightings data that Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) collects from small ship cruises like our own on the MV Hjalmar Bjørge when we are using their Whale Track app.

When we are cruising Scottish waters with our guests we make sure to note every whale and dolphin sighting we have throughout the cruise, from the small harbour porpoise to our amazing humpback sightings. These sightings are collected by HWDT and this data is used to better understand our Scottish cetaceans.

The event was fantastic and really helped to show how the work of our crew and guests is helping to protect the wildlife we are out to see.

A highlight was the round up of the 'Top 10 sightings of the Year' at least 2 of which were from cruises aboard the Hjalmar Bjørge. One, an amazing encounter with a sei whale off the coast of Lewis, a whale rarely seen in our waters. The other of a breaching basking shark, with pictures taken by one of our amazing guests, again off the coast of Lewis. There was also credit given to bow-riding common dolphins and beautiful minke whale encounters, both of which we see regularly throughout the season as well.

There was also a fantastic talk on the resident bottlenose dolphins around Barra known as 'The Barra Boys'. It was interesting to hear how little is known about bottlenose dolphins off the west coast of Scotland. More data is needed to understand these pods and so hopefully we can add to that on our upcoming cruises!

Lastly we are excited to hear about and hopefully add to the newly released Minke Whale Photo ID Catalogue. HWDT is trying to better understand the movements of minke whales using photo ID to do this. This means that our guests will be able to have their own pictures, past present and future used in scientific research and there may even be a chance to one day name your own minke whale!

Overall it was a great event and really got us excited to show our guests more whales and dolphins and help more in scientific research this season!