Minke whale - Loch Nevis

Minke whale - Loch Nevis

The west coast of Scotland is an amazing place to enjoy wildlife spotting. Being on board Narwhal has allowed us not just to watch the wildlife but to move with and amongst it. I was worried that our presence might be disturbing the wildlife however it felt more as though we were happily able to co-exist. We have had some wonderful wildlife experiences from watching harbour seals check out Narwhal while we ride at anchor, to a magical sunrise puffin colony experience. For me one of the most special things that I never tire of is watching a pod of dolphins leaping out of the water as they make a beeline for Narwhal and joins us, energetically ‘playing’ in our bow wave. Richard summed it up well by saying ‘Where there’s a dolphin, there’s a smile”.

 Harbour porpoise - Isle of Skye

Harbour porpoise - Isle of Skye

 Habour porpoise

Habour porpoise

It is with these special experiences in mind that I wanted not just to watch the wildlife for myself from Narwhal’s decks but to learn more about it and play a small part in protecting it. So I have been really pleased to have been able to work with some great organisations who are helping to protect cetacean life around our shores.

Eric and I undertook a wildlife observer’s course with MARINElife on a wild and windswept day in Kimmeridge Bay. The course was excellent, teaching about how to identify whales, dolphins and sea birds with lots of top tips from expert observers. The courses are open to the public and I would highly recommend them if you are interested in ocean wildlife watching.

 Common dolphin bow riding with Narwhal

Common dolphin bow riding with Narwhal

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We were able to put these observation skills into practice, recording all of the sightings made from onboard Narwhal throughout the summer. These sightings have then been submitted to the Sea Watch Foundation and the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. Both of these organisations add the sightings to their databases which they use to aid whale and dolphin research and protection.

Get involved

You can get involved in watching, recording and protecting these beautiful animals too. MARINElife and the Sea Watch Foundation both run shore based volunteer observer programs. If you fancy seeing the whales and dolphins up close, then Narwhal will be recording sightings again next year and would love to welcome observers on board.