Survey summary: Teen Team 1
On Teen team 1 we travelled 195nm, and surveyed for 36 hours. We recorded 59 harbour porpoises, 1 common dolphin, 14 common seals, three grey seals, two unidentified seals, two unidentified dolphins, 286 creels and 6 rubbish sightings, as well as hundreds of birds and lots of boats.
On Wednesday 26th July we left Tobermory, practicing our distance measurements in the heavy rain as we made our way down the Sound of Mull towards Lismore. We had four sightings of harbour porpoises plus a few brief sightings of the sun (just a couple of times!). That evening we anchored in Achinduin before going ashore to explore.
On Thursday 27th July we travelled from Lismore, down the Firth of Lorne where we found our sea legs during a rather bumpy ride. We then headed for more sheltered waters and surveyed round the Islands of Seil and Luing, travelling through the Cuin Sound, before anchoring in a lovely anchorage (Ardencaple Bay) off Seil. Despite the wind, we had five encounters with eight harbour porpoises, and one common seal sighting.
Friday the 28th was an epic day, covering a distance of 51.2nm, clocking up over nine hours of surveying heading up Loch Linnhe towards Fort William. We had nine porpoise encounters including one with an adult, juvenile and calf, plus some amazing aerial displays from diving gannets!
On Saturday 29th we headed back up the Sound of Mull, up Loch Sunart to Drumbuie. Lunch on the move again for the whole team, but for one of the crew it was the brilliant combination of mac n cheese in the crows nest, in the rain! The porpoise and seal sightings continued, and to mix it up we had two great sightings of white tailed eagles, plus a skua eating a chick.
On Sunday 30th we woke to very calm waters and headed out early to make the most of the last day of surveying. Just as we left the loch we had multiple sightings of porpoises. As we headed out into the Sound of Mull, towards Kilchoan we smelt a stinky fishy smell, a good indication of minke whales nearby, alas – it evaded us. We then surveyed past Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, the most westerly point on mainland UK, before Silurian tilted on her side, and we had a great sail out towards Coll. On our route back we passed 50 or so shearwaters, gliding across the water, and with gannets flying overhead – we were all hoping for one last sighting before heading back to Tobermory. Unfortunately the whales and dolphins didn’t reveal themselves, however we did continue to spot those trusty porpoises and we had lots of creels to keep us occupied during the final survey leg.
Well done Teen Team 1 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.