Our awesome spring season continues! Although we have been very quiet in terms of passengers, the wildlife and conditions haven't let us down! May is an unusual time here, the weather usually settled and May is one on the sunniest months but it tends to be quiet in terms of visitors! Perhaps one the day the secret of May will get out! We start our scheduled shark tours later this where we based ourselves out in the Hebrides for 4 day expeditions!
We had some great weather last week and ran a complete epic wildlife tour, one as good as the peak of summer! It had started as one our Seal & Lagoon tours but our lucky guests were in for a treat! As well as the wall to wall sunshine we had calm conditions and interactions with a pod of bottlenose dolphins on the way out. We do have a resident pod here and they move around so we don't see them on every trip, so when we do it's a special time. These large dolphins can grow over 3m long and weight 300-400kg so they are large dolphins and spectacular when they jump clean of the water! As the photo below shows they also have cute faces!
After a short stop in the coastal village of Tobermory we headed onto our main event of swimming with seals. The lagoon was at it's best with great visibility and kelp swaying in the mild current. Like the trees budding, underwater growth has started with the seagrass bed looking in better condition and juvenile fish swimming around in the protection of the reef. There were also lots of anemones, crabs and sea urchins to observe too. Of course the seals did not disappoint and they provided some nice interactions with us, after some careful guidance by our team to ensure our soft approach. See below for a game of follow the leader!!!!
Given the lovely conditions we had some good reports of wildlife and oceanic feeding happening so we decided to treat our passengers to an extra session looking for pelagic life offshore! It wasn't long till we came across around seven sharks, entranced in hoovering up the springtime plankton! We observed these sharks for a long time before we found a suitable individual that we were happy to interact with through our code of practice. Again using soft encounter techniques our swimmers we able to interact with these ocean giants, observing them in their natural environment. See a video below shot but Eszter one of our shark guides.
Following fantastic encounters with the sharks we then spotted some Minke Whales in the distance, and we managed to watch them feeding and surface for a while before it was time to head home!!! Although the journey back was also kept exciting by us spotting number of porpoises then a sea eagle flying right over the top of the boat!! What an amazing day!!!!! With all these brilliant experiences, it shows that the Hebrides are a world class destination!
Then, the following day, the warm weather and sunshine continued with us having divers out on Cearban through our sister business Dive Oban & Argyll. We were close to Oban for some excellent dives on submarine walls but we were also treated to a further wildlife encounter. We had noticed that some birds we working in a specific patch of water and with the sea being flat calm we took a look in that direction to see if anything was feeding. Several harbour porpoises were spotted and usually they are elusive and do not interact with boats. However some of these individuals made a beeline for our boat, again after us using our soft encounter approach techniques. What happened next was a first for us as they did laps around the boats, then shooting off and back in towards us. We were rewarded with around a 15-20min encounter of this interaction much to the amazement of the divers on board. We managed to shoot a video of some of the action and see this below.
Everyone is looking forward to the season ahead with a spring this good, it's surely going to be a spectacular season in the Hebrides. Join our tours from May-Sept direct from Oban and on the Isle of Mull and Coll.