We regret to announce that, due to the continued uncertainty over Covid-19, we will be moving Orca Watch online.
During Orca Watch week, 29th May – 6th June, we’ll be hosting a series of online events, open to all, including the ever-popular evening of talks. Locally-based volunteers, who conduct watches in the area all year round for Sea Watch, will be continuing to do this, within the Covid-19 restrictions. They will then feedback their data to us to present in regular evening live online sessions.
We’ll publish details of the online programme in due course.
We have moved Orca Watch online because, even if all goes well, Scotland will still be under protection levels, and there remains a great deal of uncertainty. The dates announced by the Scottish Government for each stage of easing are indicative and conditional on supportive data. And at each easing of restrictions, there is the possibility of a backward step. we want to play our part to get life back to normal at the earliest possible date across the UK, and do not want to risk helping spread the virus and harming the community. We have shared our decision and rationale with the Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council, and they are fully in support.
This has been a difficult decision to make. Orca Watch is an incredibly important event for Sea Watch and it is one of our favourite events. It also enables us to meet volunteers and supporters from across the UK and from around the world, but we need to prioritise the health and safety of everyone who makes Orca Watch a success. We are disappointed to have had to take this decision, but feel it really is the sensible and responsible thing to do.
Meanwhile, if when things get easier you are thinking of a holiday in Caithness and North Sutherland, don’t forget our Official Accommodation Partners.
Many thanks to all our partners and stakeholders. In particular we would like to thank the following for their ongoing support of Orca Watch: John O’Groats Ferries, RSPB wardens at Marwick Head, Sanday Development Trust, High Life Highland Countryside Rangers, The Cabin at John o’Groats, Shetland Wildlife, John O’Groats Development Trust, Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council, CNSF, NatureScot and our Official Accommodation Partners.
A big thank you also to all those who were planning to come to Orca Watch 2021.
We look forward to seeing you in 2022 (if circumstances permit), whether as Official Volunteers or casual observers. Without you there wouldn’t be an event, and we wouldn’t be able to collect much needed scientific data during Orca Watch and so track, year on year, the abundance of whales and dolphins (including Orca) in the Pentland Firth.
We really hope to be back with the full Orca Watch in 2022 (if all goes well) from 28th May to 5th June. Meanwhile see you at our virtual event.