For the next few days we sailed north, with a big swell developing due to strong southerly winds. Although this made spotting marine life much more difficult, we are still able to tow our hydrophone in unsettled conditions and continue to collect valuable data. We continued north as the swell lessened, surveying the waters of the Minch. We had continued to see pods of common dolphins throughout the first week of the survey, but the next day as we sailed towards Loch Inver, we spent the afternoon absolutely surrounded by dolphins! Pod after pod swam past us, coming into bow ride. We recorded over 350 dolphins that afternoon alone!
The weather turned once again as strong winds blew in. We slowly made our way back down to Tobermory, sailing down the Sound of Rassay, before surveying the waters around the Small Isles. The penultimate day saw the most surprising sighting of the trip, with an incredible sighting of a leatherback turtle! True ocean wanderers, sightings of leatherback turtles in UK waters are rare. Read all about the encounter here.