Thursday 1st August: We had eyes watching all over the east side of the island of Lewis before our trip out on Thursday. Our good friend Steve Dodds had been out shore-watching at Tiumpan head and reported very little action all morning, but our team had spotted a pod of Risso’s dolphins just off Kebock head on their return from an overnight trip that morning.
With this in mind we decided to head south instead of north, towards the busier waters. Diving gannets were the first indicators that we had made the right decision and as we continued further south the porpoise sightings got more and more frequent. Just as our guide spotted the Risso’s tall dorsal fins emerging in the distance, five porpoises grabbed everyone's attention moving through the water very rapidly. Circling around the same spot close by us, they appeared to be foraging, which is quite unusual as they do most of their hunting in the night.
Risso's dolphin showing typical white scarring that the adults accumulate over time.
We continued on as we still had the Risso’s in our sights and it wasn’t long before they too were alongside the boat, a group of more than ten including two juveniles. This group were socialising and playing on the surface and we got a lovely view of their fascinating colouring - patches of white caused by scarring. We noticed one dolphin that the team had seen earlier in the day, as it had a badly damaged dorsal fin – almost the entire fin was gone leaving a ragged stump. There was much debate about what could have caused such a brutal injury, perhaps a boat or another animal? The animals seemed very relaxed, two in particular were logging - floating on the surface, so we left them to their peaceful afternoon and headed back north. On the way back we checked up on a couple of sea-eagle locations. At the first we spotted one chick perched on a ledge but he was very hard to locate as he blended in perfectly with the rocks behind but one bright yellow foot gave him away. At the second spot we knew both chicks had already fledged so may not be around, but luckily, we spotted two adults and one chick all perched individually along different points of the clifftop and very easy to pick out as they were right on the skyline.
A very satisfying afternoon and it just shows what amazing things there are to do in Stornoway and Lewis if you are looking for something a bit different - join us and come see for yourselves! All the details you need are on our website at www.hebrideanadventures.co.uk or call in to our booking office at 22 North Beach in town.