100% percent dolphin sightings!
Monday 9:30 – We left at high tide with some strong winds, so we had quite choppy conditions for our run out to Chanonry. Just as we had slowed down to begin making our way through the narrows there was a splash just off the point. After waiting for bit, we were rewarded with a huge leap out of the water buy a young dolphin! 3 of them were in at the point and headed over to our boat and ran alongside as we were heading over to Fort George. At Fort George they peeled off and as we watched and waited as they swam away, 5 new dolphins appeared on our port (left side)! This new group included a noticeably young and pale calf who had plenty of energy for some chin slaps onto the water. He was definitely the star of the morning trip! We had to cancel the next trip due to weather but the last trip of the day made it out and suddenly had a dolphin right in the river! We’re not sure if this was Charlie- who used to be in the river with his mum frequently up until a couple of years ago. It’s Charlie like behaviour but the dorsal fin on this dolphin looks to be a different shape. 3 dolphins spotted in the Chanonry narrows but after popping up a couple of times they disappeared below the waves and we never saw them again.
For the first trip of the day on Tuesday we were really privileged to be joined by a mothers and calves group of about 8 dolphins in total. We followed them for a little while as they headed up the Black Isle coastline. In the distance we could see another couple of dolphins along the Riff bank, so we headed over to join them. This group included a lot of our celebrity dolphins with Spirtle, Rainbow, Bonnie and her calf amongst the group.
The dolphins had clearly had a good lunch and were looking to burn off some energy by our second trip. The dolphins were doing the biggest breaches we have seen in a long time just off the shore at Fort George and they continued for a good 20 minutes. It was hard to leave them, but we had to be back in time for the next trip!
And on the last trip of the day we were re-joined by the mother and calf group from the 9:30 tour at Chanonry point and then they decided to follow us out past fort George and up to the western point of Riff bank. Rainbow’s calf started practising its breaches with some cute attempts, though always seeming to land on its back. Hopefully one day it will perfect the graceful arch that the adults are so good at.
On Wednesday morning Charlie Philips joined us and we spotted a large group feeding on salmon around the Whiteness corner towards Nairn. The group included Rainbow and her calf, Mini fin, and 5 or so others. They had rounded up a large group of Salmon and everyone was enjoying a feast. As we were making our way back home we spotted some more by dolphins Craigmee marker buoy, a group of 4 including Scoopy, Bonnie and her young one and a mystery one. We had to speed back after spending so long with the dolphins so the next trip wouldn’t be delayed.
We had to work slightly harder on the next trip, but our patience was rewarded with a young calf and its mother taking a nap on Navity bank. By the afternoon trip the dolphins were back on top form and back feeding at Whiteness this time munching on some smaller fish (probably herring or mackerel). It was a total feeding frenzy with dolphins throwing fish in the air so close to our boat we were worried we might end up with a fish or two in the RIB with us!
We were out on the water again on Thursday morning but this time the dolphins had found a much bigger toy to play with! They had picked up a tanker and were riding the waves at the bow of the ship. They followed the tanker into Chanonry point and then peeled away. On the opposite side of the narrows we spotted a lone dolphin hanging around Fort George.
By lunch time the dolphins were back up by the Cardinal marker off of Whiteness sands with a big group milling around and it was clearly the place to be in the dolphin world because they were still there by the time the next trip went out almost 2 hours later!
Fridays 9:30 trip were joined by Scoopy and his gang were milling around between Chanonry point and Fort George just catching that last bit of the incoming tide. A couple approached the boat and had a good look at us before just getting on with their own thing. The gang were still there for the next trip and had built up their energy reserves for some spectacular breaches right in front of the boat. Lots of grey seals around having a good look at us as we headed back home. That was the last trip of the week as the boat was taken out of the water for a service that afternoon.
What a fantastic week!! We have seen dolphins on every trip!! Feeling very lucky and looking forward to seeing what the rest of the summer brings.