• Muriel J. Hallé

Foggy

When heading into fog the suspense of what might show up is quite unique. It usually also comes with a hint of disappointment, because naturally our guests hoped for a clear day. I really can't argue with the fact that it is challenging to find wildlife in those conditions. For me a foggy day brings back some of my fondest memories that I was lucky enough to share with guests! I think it's the mix of my huge relief of finding wildlife in almost impossible conditions, and the feeling of winning a lottery for our guests that made for such lifelong memories! One other thing that make those days so special for me, is the fact that every little animal we find is appreciated, the way they should be on every other day as well. In a way we are forced to lose our actual wider vision but at the same time get to see more of the beauty in the little things that sometimes get overlooked!

The yellow and slate blue of a fulmars beak looks lovely against their pure white feathers.

Only a bit of water is between us and the white wall when out of the mist little flocks of birds appear. Every now and then a tiny storm petrel is zooming out of the fog and back into it.

As the fog lifts it fills us with hope that maybe we can find a fin or two as we can see farther and the ocean is flat calm. But in just seconds the fog creeps back in and once again we're surrounded by mist. Then our first surprise arrives; some of our guests and staff were lucky enough to see the rare sight in these waters of an ocean sunfish (also known as a mola mola) slowly drifting past our boat before it disappeared in the fog! This short encounter was enough to re-ensure us, that despite the conditions, we might still be able to get some nice encounters! The next sighting was a minke whale which also just gave us one short glimpse, followed by two Risso's dolphins which were swimming past the boat. Just as we were on the way back to Stornoway we couldn't believe it, bright sunshine appeared of course and soon we were surrounded by a big group of Risso's dolphins.

They were socialising and a group of young males was swimming past with a lot of tail-slapping, tail-lobbing, head-slapping and even some breaching! Beside the boat we had some older males that were far more relaxed and were just swimming alongside as we made our way home.

These beautiful animals once again gave me some exciting memories to recall the next time I head into the 'white wall of suspense'.



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