An account of day 3 of the Orca Watch in Caithness (by Colin Bird – SWF Regional Coordinator)
Photos: Colin Bird
The day looked like a complete none starter with rain, howling wind and thick fog at John O’ Groats. Phil Evans and myself decided to have tea and a burger and wait to see how the weather would let up. Five minutes before the watch was to start the fog lifted. So we went to Duncansby and met Helen who had joined the watch at the start, we decided because of the wind we would be best shielded from the wind by relocating on the east side of the headland instead of the North. We were then joined by Rachel and Pete who were on last years watch and had agreed to give me a picture of the Hoxa orca sighting.
At 17.50pm I received a text message from Ivor Thomas on the John O’ Groats Ferry saying he could see orca off the Ness of Duncansby. Pete and Rachel rushed back to the North side of the point to see if they could see them, they then phoned to say they had them just below the cliffs. Phil, Helen and myself grabbed our cameras, abandoned every thing else and rushed up the hill and across to the north side where Rachel was shouting “There they are!” We all snapped away with our cameras following the cliff path round the lighthouse and ended back where we had started, Phil who has a fear of heights was so excited that he never noticed the 150 foot drop to the sea that was a meter away. Everyone was overjoyed that they had seen orcas so close. We continued watching for a further 2 hours but the wind chill was just too much and we decided to call it day and pack and see what tomorrow would bring. Interestingly, this pod is the same pod that was off John O’Groats last year and Lybster in 2010.
Three days and three sightings for the watch team with sighting by the ferry and Rachel and Pete when in Orkney. It doesn’t get much better than this!