Posted by: tim ellis | August 21, 2005

Mull Friday 18th August , 1995

Kathryn at the masthead

A ridiculously early start. Fortunately Jacqui has Laurie organised to do breakfast, which comes in two parts again ( i.e. bacon baps to go) Only Sonja is not coming out today, and our Crew is Shona, Kathryn and Julian.

Sleeping Whale
Richard asks us what we want to do today, and we say we would like to see whales. Being the obliging sort of chap he is, he finds us one almost straight away, which we are able to watch and do dive times and q-counts for over an hour. Richard believes the Whale was asleep when we arrived which makes this data very valuable indeed. (During this time we are joined by a juvenile Herring Gull that we christen “Wally”. We reckon he was told to follow fishing boats for food, but not what a fishing boat looks like!)

Sleeping Minke

Minke Whale

After this the Whales come thick and fast, two or three at a time, as we move up towards Eigg, Rhum and Muck. This includes some wonderful examples of Lunge feeding and a sort of “backwards” rolling breach.

Minke Whale

Richard gives us a choice of Eigg or Muck for lunch, we choose Muck, as this will give us more time with the whales, when we get another sighting. We follow it for a while, which means we are now closer to Eigg, so we go there instead.

Minke Whale

It has a fairly basic tea room, and a fairly pathetic craft shop. We estimate we have seen up to eleven Minke Whales this morning, although it may be several encounters with just three or four of them.

Marine Biologist at Work

More whales in the afternoon, disturbing Hurries as they feed, giving Richard and Julian the chance to use the hydrophone and underwater camera. This allows Julian to use his skills as a degree level marine biologist – “There are lots of little swimmy things” he tells us.

Using the Hydrophone

As well as the Minke, other big swimmy things we see include Harbour Porpoise (including a baby one) and a seal which sits still and watches us for so long, we decide it must be a buoy, at which point it promptly swims off!

Minke Whale (Again)

Minke Whale

We get back to hear that Mary (the full time cook) is not yet on the Island, having missed the ferry. Rachel (Jacqui’s daughter) phones not long after we get to the centre to say they are home safely, we consider asking them to come straight back, but fortunately Mary makes it back, as we have been up long enough to be really hungry. In fact we get hungrier and hungrier as dinner gets later and later. Fortunately it does arrive eventually, an is both plentiful and tasty, but we only make it up to the pub because it is licensed until 1:00 am


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