Sorting out photographs to-day, I came across these pictures of the day I was lucky enough to get the call from one of our guests to say he suspected that there was a Killer Whale out in the Sound of Raasay.
I was on my way back from working on the Fladda Ladder when the call came through. Rob Calderwood and his two companions who were staying in the Escape cottage had been walking way off the track up North West and spotted something quite unusual and large coming out of the water.
I was in dire need of a shower so thinking it was possibly a bit of fish farm plastic pipe I took my time and then after much deliberation, I was knackered, I decided maybe I should go and have a look.On heading North I was getting calls from Rob to say it was definitely a Killer Whale, but I could not find it.
Then way further than I was expecting a huge fin was sticking out of the water moving fast.
Mindful of the code for approaching Marine Mammals I shut down the engines and headed over to where I saw him diving only for him to come up not far from the boat.
As I fiddled with the camera then the phone camera the whale was oblivious and just kept doing its thing. Every time it dived it came up hundreds of metres away.
So to anticipate that I moved 500 metres away on its next dive. It came up again quite close then proceeded to lie on his side for some time flapping its fin and tail, I was thinking then it might be getting a bit browned off with my boat although I was never too close.
So it took another dive and disappeared for some time, in fact I thought it completely disappeared. It headed off and ran towards the Skye so I thought I would make a move and headed in the same direction.
Sitting on a relatively calm sea with nothing else about I was up the bow higher scanning all around when the whale came up right beside the boat.
He gave me a taste of his breath and proceeded to eye me up.
An incredible moment made me realise that he was completely in control here and the boat, me nor the engines were not bothering him.
He went under yet again and I was happy to sit there for another half hour as he went around the boat a couple of hundred metres off, diving, swimming about and generally minding his own business.
This is the fourth sighting of killer whales around Rona for me in 19 years.
The first was on the Skye shore when a commotion near the shore at the Storr outfall turned out to be a Killer whale (Or whales) chasing seals.
The second out stalking with my old pal George, we were spying hinds on the edge of the South West corner when a Killer Whale popped up in our vision, quite a surprise to see the whale with the binoculars whilst looking at some hinds, a first for sure.
The third on one November when I saw a whale blowing at the mouth of the harbour on a pretty breezy day. John Paul was with me and we shot out on the boat to see what it was, there were two Killer Whales one male one female. They were swimming fast and we thought we would try to catch them. We got up to 16 knots and couldn’t even touch them. They went round the corner of Eilean Tighe and down the Sound of Raasay just like that.
One thing we did notice, the seals of which there are many around Rona, disappeared when this whale was about, where to we do not know!!!
Many thanks to Rob for his calls and guiding into where the whale was.
They spent 8 hours that day watching the Killer Whale andI think three Minke whales swimming around. Next day on the Friday they sat up North for quite some time again but just the Minke Whales on that day, for them a memorable experience.
A great day and a great memory.