UPDATE: Minch swimmers encounter Killer Whales on swim of a lifetime!

The pod of around eight Orca whales enertained sea-tour passengers on Tuesday. Photo: Summer Queen
The pod of around eight Orca whales enertained sea-tour passengers on Tuesday. Photo: Summer Queen

The Swim the Minch team are expected to arrive in Stornoway around 10pm tonight.

The hardy swimmers have now been at sea for more than 24 hours and are just one nautical mile from Arnish Point.

The swimmers have been taking turns to swim a leg and last night were joined by a 20ft whale and the team are now reporting that dolphins are diving under the kayak which is accompanying the swimmers.

But most dramatically, and heart-stoppingly, of all the team have contacted the Gazette to report a pod of at least four Killer Whales surfaced just 20metres from the boat and from swimmer Laura Maynard.

The fearless swimmer though ploughed on bravely and even after being told of her deadly water companions she powered on.

The pod, made up of three females and a male with a reported six foot fin have since disappeared to the depths of the Minch to be replaced by another group of curious dolphins.

As you would expect, aches and pains are now creeping into the bones and joints of the gang with shoulder strain a common complaint. As a result the relay legs are shortening and will soon drop to 20 to 25 minute bursts.

The team will land on the shore between Pier number one and Pier number two so come out and show your support.

The team are raising money for the RNLI and you can support their efforts at http://www.justgiving.com/thebigminchswim.

Fundraising is also taking place onboard MV Isle of Lewis and passengers are encouraged to go out and give the team a wave.

Pictured are the pod of Orcas spotted off the Summer Isles - they could be the same ones who were intrigued by the Minch swimmers.