Finally – the sun has made an appearance in John O’ Groats! Day 2 of Orca Watch started with glorious sunshine and next-to-no sea fog meaning even more people ventured out to Duncansby attempting to see some orca and other cetaceans. We were lucky enough to have a very close encounter of Risso’s dolphins in John O’ Groats harbour including lots of breaching and tail slapping.
As the ferry headed off at 9am we managed to come across the same group of animals just out of the harbour and due to their relaxed nature and the very mindful and respectful nature of the skipper, we managed to get a nice close look as we cruised by. We had around 5 animals in total; two of which were incredibly white indicating that they were older individuals, one of them was a much smaller and darker juvenile and there were two other adult animals.
Sea conditions remained clear, sunny and warm (yes warm!) with very little breeze for the whole day, with keen watchers staying well into the evening hoping to spot orca. We had two report of orca passing through Kirkwall in the late morning and a further sighting of orca from Deerness in the afternoon. From photos posted on ‘Orkney Cetacean Sightings’ Facebook page (some of which we posted here, photo credits: Deborah and Neil Kermode) , it looked like the orca group was Mousa’s pod and watchers became very enthused at the thought of getting a glimpse of this famous five.
Despite, praying and sacrificing cake to the orca gods, the group didn’t pass by Duncansby and the last sighting indicated that the animals had moved offshore. We did however get a fantastic sighting of a spoonbill flying over Duncansby lighthouse which made a lot of people very excited as this species is not often seen around Scotland and was most likely a migratory animal.
With orca out to sea and the weather continuing to look good, we are hoping the animals will be hungry for some breakfast in the morning and will return to the Pentland Firth from the South East so fingers crossed for orca tomorrow!