The very first ORCA Marine Mammal survey of 2018 in the Hebrides, and the start of our dedicated survey program with CalMac ferries took place on the Ullapool to Stornoway route onboard the impressive new MV Loch Seaforth.
Soon after leaving Ullapool, the 3 surveyors were allowed onto the bridge and were made very welcome by the crew. Sea state ranged between 3-4 with good visibility as we crossed the Minch. There were many seabirds out in the channel, particularly kittiwakes, gannets and lots of fulmars. The survey was relatively uneventful until we approached Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. We knew that this was a really good area for Risso’s dolphins and many other cetaceans, and that a humpback whale had been seen in the area over the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately this survey just picked up a grey seal and a single harbour porpoise as we approached Lewis. But we were off the starting blocks for the first survey and were more than happy with a porpoise.
The return journey was also fairly quiet but we were rewarded with an absolutely stunning day weather wise and amazing views of snow-capped mountains as we approached the mainland again.
Total animals sighted:
Harbour porpoise x1
Grey seal x1
Northern Fulmar, Northern Gannet, Guillemot, Shag, Herring Gull, Great black-backed gull, Lesser black-backed gull