Survey Reports

2019-07-15 - Ullapool-Stornoway

Survey details

Survey route: Ullapool-Stornoway

Company: Caledonian MacBrayne

Sea region: Minches & Western Scotland

Survey start date: 2019-07-15

Number of nights: Day sailing

With fantastic conditions and a sea state 1-0 we started recording as soon as we reached the bridge. Our first Minke whale appeared at the mouth of Loch Broome and soon after we recorded 7 harbour porpoise as we sailed through the Summer Isles. We continued to record porpoise for the rest of the crossing. A third of the way across the Minch another Minke whale showed itself and soon after common dolphins started to arrive. A group of 24 raced to the ship initially, then a group of ten, followed by a group of 15. Yet another Minke was recorded during the second half of the crossing and at one stage a pod of over 50 common dolphins appeared. It was also lovely to spot a number of tiny storm petrels flitting about infront of the ship. On the approach to Stornoway another 25 dolphins were recorded within sight of the harbour.


With such an amazing outgoing survey we were excited to start the second leg. But in comparison it was surprisingly quiet for the first half of the return. It seemed that everything had moved east and it wasn’t until we had crossed half of the Minch that we started spotting cetaceans again. Lots of porpoise and common dolphins were sighted again and another 2 Minke whales. The last Minke was breaching on approach to the Summer Islands and we wound up the survey on a high.


Many thanks to the captain and crew of Loch Seaforth for making us so welcome!    


Marine Mammals seen:


Harbour porpoise x37


Unidentified dolphin x7


Common dolphin x243


Minke whale x5


Birds seen: 


Shag, guillemot, razorbill, kittiwake, puffin, fulmar, great skua, European storm petrel and manx shearwater.

Survey team members

Andy Gilbert, David Lambie. Linda Wallace