January has been a pretty wet and wild month here at our base in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. This can make surveying Scottish waters at this time of year rather challenging. Consistently strong winds had blown over the sea of the Hebrides at the start of the month and a large swell had developed. However, a small window of calm weather had been predicted so we jumped into action, preparing the boat and organizing our survey team. Six fantastic volunteers joined us on board on the morning of the 8th January. After refreshing the cetacean ID skills that they had learnt during their pre-trip training day, we set sail. With the predicted swell we decided to survey the sound of Mull, before heading south and making our way down to the island of Jura. Sailing down the sound of Mull provided much needed shelter from the winds, which were still howling in the open seas. Despite a few showers we remained fairly dry and the weather continued to settle throughout the day. By the time we reached our anchorage, the wind had died off completely and we spent a wonderful evening playing games under the moonlight.
The next day we watched the sunrise on deck as we set sail, leaving our anchorage and making our way south. The conditions had improved even more and we were soon bathed in sunshine. We couldn’t believe our luck as we scanned the flat calm seas. Sunglasses were a must and some members of team team had to get the sunscreen out!