Dinky Minkes and Sneaky Porps.
5 keen nature lovers joined with the Hebridean Adventures crew on our most recent 3-night wildlife cruise around the Outer Hebrides, and with some good sea states and eagle-eyed spotters aboard (especially the extra-vigilant Georgina) some good sightings and much laughter were enjoyed, as well as some cracking scenery and tranquil anchorages this all cooked up a memorable few days.
First afternoon out saw some whitecaps and trickier sightability..but after some porpoise warm-ups a small pod of distant leaping common dolphins were seen travelling fast towards the north. Later conditions improved allowing us to reach a mid-Minch hotspot where seabirds were feeding. First a lone unidentified fin was spotted and later several minke whales were seen ..although they were somewhat shy and stealthy..despite one spectacular view of an adult. Puffins and other auks..gannets..bonxies..kittiwakes .fulmars..and several Manx shearwaters, plus a lone European storm petrel. We headed back east to Loch Shell. At our peaceful anchorage the silence was broken by cuckoos and common sandpipers. We were also joined by white-tailed sea eagles, red breasted mergansers and red throated divers. Taking our small RIB, we landed and walked to a nearby waterfall to stretch our legs and take in the views.
Day 2 we awoke to common terns fishing and had breakfast. Reasonable sea state in the morning. Spectacular views of white tailed sea eagles then off to the Shiants. As we aproached we saw more and more puffins. Anchored up and went ashore in the sunshine..checked out the bothy and walked up the hill to look down on the boat at anchor - always a highlight. We found common spotted orchid..a peregrine falcon and several bonxies. We took the time for a quick beach clean too. Back on the boat it was off to the seabird city and then good views of grey plus harbour seals at their haul out. Quite a few lions mane and compass jellyfish about too. Circumnavigated the Shiants for great views of the islands plus more white tailed sea eagles and majestic cliffs.We had our first harbour porpoise of the day and a calmer sea state. Headed to waters towards the north coast of Skye. Suddenly more seabirds at the upwelling spot..rare good views of European storm petrels...mixed with auks..kittiwakes ..seals then our first minke of the day followed by 1 or 2 more including a juvenile. Anchored for the night in the iconic glacial geography of Loch Cliadh with once again not a house in sight - beautiful in its remoteness.
Day 3 was a day of "dinky minkes" plus over 40 cetacean sightings, mainly of sneaky harbour porpoises due to excellent conditions for more than 8 hrs at sea. We headed out to the middle of the Minch then north to Tiumpan Head. A young minke whale came and briefly associated with our boat so we were treated to a lovely close up view - amazing! Several other adult minkes were seen, plus later a dolphin-sized young dinky minke - it doesn't get much better than that! More puffins and the 4 artic skuas were viewed together. After lunch the sea kept on giving with several small pods of white-beaked dolphins north of Tiumpan plus a brief bow rider too! We slid into the shelter of Loch Erisort for the final night with a strengthening wind forecast. Plenty of seals kept us company.
Our final morning found a choppy sea but we still enjoyed the beautiful scenery while the cetaceans were being hidden by the waves. A great north diver was our last good spot of the trip and what a successful one it had been. As always, all our cetacean sightings were logged via the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust's WhaleTrack app to help monitor numbers and locations in the area. Thanks to our great passengers - we do hope you will come back and join us again another time!
Find the details of all our cruises and day trips online at https://hebrideanadventures.co.uk and book your cruise with us today!