Survey summary: Teen Team 2
On Teen Team 2 we travelled 203nm, and surveyed for 39 hours. We had 29 encounters with six different species of marine mammals and sharks, totalling 63 animals. We recorded 29 harbour porpoises, 16 common dolphins, one minke whale, six basking sharks, seven grey seals, one common seal, one unidentified seal, one unidentified dolphin, one unidentified animal, 167 creels and hundreds of birds and lots of boats.
On Sunday 6th of August we departed Tobermory after running through the survey protocols. We ventured out into the Sound of Mull where we headed around a wild and windy Ardnamurchan Point, the most westerly point on mainland UK, before sailing our way over to Eigg, sheltering around the back, before heading into our anchorage, Loch Scresort, on Rum.
On Monday 7th, we learnt how to differentiate a gannet from a guillemot at breakfast and then headed out of our anchorage on Rum towards Skye, during the day we had a couple of porpoise sightings, a seal, lots of birds and 30 creels before we headed into Loch Bharcasaig on west Skye, for the night.
On Tuesday 8th we awoke to a flat calm day, and were up early to make the best of it. With blue skies all day we surveyed the Sea of Hebrides for 8 hours 48 mins, covering a distance of 46nm. It was a bumper day for sightings with three sightings of basking sharks and two sightings of common dolphins – totalling 14 individuals. We also had 19 porpoises counted during four encounters, a handful of seal sightings, and an amazing encounter with a minke whale. The minke whale proved hard to spot at the start of our sighting, but just as we were about to leave we were treated to an amazing swim by, with the minke associating with the boat, swimming underneath us, in a glassy sea! We ended the day in Castlebay, off Barra in the Outer Hebrides with another explore ashore.
On Wednesday 9th we began our journey homewards, south to Coll and Tiree. We surveyed 10 hours 42 mins, travelling across the Sea of Hebrides, down the west side of Coll to Gunna Sound. Travelling through Gunna Sound ‘wind over tide’ was an adventure. To add to the excitement of a big sea, a giant basking shark was spotted in between the waves on our approach, followed shortly by the CalMac Clansman ferry, bringing with its wake even more waves! Once through Gunna Sound the we had a nice calm journey up to Ardnagour, Coll where we had a good Scottish meal of haggis, neaps and tatties.
On our final day of surveying on Thursday 10th we headed out from Coll towards the Sound of Mull, encountering a giant basking shark off the bow, as we approached the mouth of the sound. We then turned, heading for our old friend Ardnamurchan Point, luckily it was much calmer than the first time around. Our final trip down the Sound to Tobermory was nice and calm and our final sighting of the trip was of a couple of porpoises swimming past.
Well done Teen Team 2 2017! We hope you all enjoyed it.
HWDT would like to extend our thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery for supporting HWDT's Teen Trips through the Postcode Local Trust, in addition to the Robertson Trust.