by Muriel Halle
As we set off on Saturday morning (13/7/19), we knew that the weather was again on our side. Flat calm sea, and no rain! Right outside of the harbour a flock of common terns flew by and all of us were hopeful, that this was just the beginning of another fabulous day. Our journey was northbound today and on our way to Tiumpan Head, a feeding frenzy of gannets caught our eyes. Since there were so many, harpooning themselves into the sea, we decided to investigate the scene. As we went towards the birds we were lucky enough to see our first harbour porpoise of the day and shortly after even had a sneak peek at some jumping dolphins. Just as we lost sight of the dolphins a minke whale showed up, close enough so that everyone got a good look at him or her.
During the whole trip we occasionally saw puffins flying past the boat and floating on the surface as well as guillemots, razorbills, Arctic and great skuas, and even a few meadow pipits who were very close to the boat. We had a couple more scans before we would have to turn around and go home. Out of nowhere, without a warning, a noisy breach, too far away to tell what it was but definitely a big animal! Then behind the splash, “Blows!!” Two big blows right at the edge of the horizon, how exciting! As everyone was trying to get a glimpse of the big misty fountain, we decided to go and have a closer look. All of our guests and us, were equally important in the mission, not to lose sight of the animals causing this excitement. Once we got closer, everyone got rewarded by the amazing sight of two big fin whales! Cameras were clicking all over the boat and ”wows” filling the air, as we traveled with the two whales for a while.
As if the whales were not enough, a few white-beaked dolphins and common short-beaked dolphins also showed up. Just to make it a hard decision for us, whether to look at them, or the whales! No one wanted to, but we had to leave the whales at some point and get on our journey back to the harbour. For a while, we were all still in awe by what we had just witnessed, the sea seemed to be calm again. But no! Looking back at the whales, in the foreground more dolphins showed up. A great school of common short-beaked dolphins accompanied the boat halfway home. During all that time, a few of the group would come alongside the boat and bow-ride, while the others were leaping out of the water including a young one. After all that, 11 very happy customers left the boat and we hope they will keep this memory for a long time. WHAT A DAY!!
This is my first week in Scotland and I never thought I would get all the animals off my Scottish- bucket list in one week! A huge thanks to Hebridean Adventures who gave me the opportunity to be a guide on their boat this summer! I also have to mention the splendid team I’m out with on those trips! Thank you all!!
Come join us on your Hebridean Adventure and book your tickets today online at https://hebrideanadventures.co.uk or stop by our little booking office above Stornoway harbour at 22 North Beach to see if we are in.