I love Mull. That’s a fact. You should go. The Good Doctor had pulled an absolutely blinder by getting us both a trip to Mull for my impending birthday. We commenced the long trip North, hopeful that we may get some decent weather and hopefully see some whales from the Sea Life Survey cruise.
We briefly stopped on the trip North to picked up the Stilt Sandpiper that had been gracing Campfield Marsh on the English Solway Firth. on arrival I was told the bird had flown, but fortunately it came back in pretty quickly to much relief. I even managed a quick record shot
(Stilt Sand is the bird on the right)
We continued our tip North and the weather changed rapidly, some heavy storms allowing atmospherics landscapes from the ferry
The weather didn’t stop these hardy Jocks from indulging in some local brew – they seem to be enjoying it.
We were picked up promptly from Criagnure and drive across to our base for the next three days at Tobermory. I grilled the locals for details on any potential otter spots and they all told me pretty much unanimously to try the pontoon in the harbour.
So at dawn on day two I find myself near the pontoon. I sit for thirty minutes in the cold morning and there is nothing around. The occasional seal drifts by setting the heart racing. Then an otter ops into view barely 20 feet away. The light is awful and I have to crank the ISO up over a 1000 to get anything recorded. The otter slips onto a boat. This is typical behaviour as they like to wash in the fresh water. The otter (a male dog otter) slinks away form the boat and continues to feed in the harbour. I return for breakfast (they don’t mess about north of the border!) and I am still able to watch the otter. Cracking.
On with the rest of the day and we meet the crew for the whale trip. We are immediately informed that it is unlikely we would see any whales at this time of year, which is a bit surprising. We remain hopeful that we can see some good stuff and besides this is Mull, wonderful Mull! Well as expected we didn’t see any whales, but we did see some porpoises, perhaps 40, and we got some really good views.
There weather was awful at times, and the crew gave us some very fetching orange body suits to keep us warm and dry. Now I look good in this suit
We headed back to harbour stomachs slightly upset, but just in time to catch a massive White tailed Eagle grab the opportunity to cut across the sound from Ardnamurchan.
I spent another hour in the harbour without much joy for any more otters.
Tobremory really is a pretty little town, and has the added bonus of a top curry house, as well as a top chippy.
I also had the good fortune of another close encounter with the otter, but the ISO was cranked up again and none of the shots were as I had hoped.
Another day out opn the boat covering massive sections on potential sea was again unproductive for whales but the scenery was truely breathtaking.
I went looking again in the evening to try and get the otter to perform, it wouldn’t but I was left a different mammal. I heard two local boys screaming ‘Kill it, before it catches our fish!’ and to my surprise they were trying to catch a mink that was stealing the fish they had caught in the harbour side! The mink got away and I managed to catch a couple of shots during an intense downpour.
The trip was over and a raven croaked past in the fading light of a fantastic Mull evening. I look forward to my next visit hopefully in spring 2009.