We operate throughout the year and perhaps surprisingly there is a lot to see even when it is a bit colder. We had a trip recently and this is how it went.
Before we left the pontoon we were looking out for an otter which has been visiting our pontoon on a regular basis. He often leaves some nice evidence of his visit such as empty crab shells, of course he also leaves some otter poo (scat) which although sometimes slightly smelly is also interesting as you can see what he has been eating that day.
On the way out to Cuan Sound we saw 3 red throated divers… these are quite rare birds and it’s a treat to see them, they have a very rapid wing beat which distinguishes them from ducks when they are flying past. In the summer they have beautiful patterned breeding plumage, their winter plumage is not quite so distinctive but you can still easily identify them.
Winter is a great time for seeing otters and birds of prey, food is scarcer and they have to spend more time out and about feeding. On this trip we saw an otter out looking for lunch, while we were watching he carried on diving and eventually came out on a rock to eat his catch.
In Cuan Sound itself we saw a couple of common seals in the water looking curiously at us as we looked at them, there is not so much incentive to bask on the rocks at this time of the year, the seals prefer to be in the water which will be significantly warmer than the air temperature.
As we approached the Gulf of Corryverckan we saw a flying sea eagle, very distinctive by its size and wing shape. These birds are with us all year round, soon they will be starting to nest again, in 2014 they produced a healthy chick who is still around with his parents but will be sent packing in the spring to make way for the next generation.
Once we were in the Gulf of Corryvreckan we were amazed at the movement in the whirlpool, it was especially dramatic, the whirlpool forms as water rushes out of the gulf and is forced up over a shallow pinnacle. We run Whirlpool Special Trips for guests who want to see the whirlpool at its most active. The movement in the water column pushes up small fish which make it a great feeding area for cetaceans, on this particular day we saw a number of porpoise rushing around catching a meal. Scientific studies show that this area is probably the best area in Scotland for seeing porpoises which are here all year round.
On the way home up Shuna Sound we saw a large number of greylag geese, they make a distinctive honking sound and are large heavy birds.
Quite often the winter light provides ideal conditions for photography of landscape and wildlife, the low sun gives great colour and contrast.
Out on the water we were kept warm by hot drinks and lots of warm clothing. There is lots to see in the winter on the water, come prepared with good clothing and you will have a great Sealife Adventure. – David Ainsley, Sealife Adventures