On July 18th 2006 we went out in the old ‘tin can’, an open aluminium boat we used to own. We were fishing just out the mouth of the harbour and then this Minke Whale came along. It was shortly after L had arrived and she was not used to boats. To say she freaked out is an understatement. When the Minke decided to swim under the boat with his big eye watching us I was a wee bit uncomfortable. But all was ok, he was just being nosey.
He swam around the boat for 30 minutes, in that time he (or she) swam under the boat, around the boat, towards the boat and kept the head out of the water a lot of the time, it was astonishing.
The whale was in sleek condition and there were no marks, scars or damage from boats. Eventually it tired of us and swam away.
At the time I owned a Nikon D50 with a telephoto lens (70-300mm). I had to stand on the gunwale to get the close ups. The weather was pretty flat but very grey.
Since then we’ve seen many Minke Whales, occasional Killer Whales, 1 humpback whale and of course the Sperm Whale which I did not know was a Sperm Whale, I just had an idea it was a Minke in trouble!!! My whale advisor from Portree kept me right and of course never lets me forget it.
Some years are better than others and the North end of Rona is the best place to see whales.
On the 4th of April, en route to Portree at 7 am in the morning I happened to look back as I was leaving Big Harbour and I saw something in the water. At first I could not quite make up my mind as to what it was, so curiosity got the better of me and I could not believe it when at last I was seeing a stag swimming and I had the ‘good’ camera!!
I turned around and caught up with the stag as it made its way strongly across the mouth of the harbour at the shortest point. I’d seen them on this Island for several years feeding away and had picked up their antlers on occasion from the grassy areas. But had never seen them coming or going. Of course it would be better to have his antlers on but it is late in the year for them and that was what threw me when I first saw him.
Great to have the Nikon D200 but into the very strong light and the camera was set ‘probably’ for sunsets, I can’t remember. Here they are though, better luck next time.