The National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2012 takes place throughout the UK on 27th to 29th July. Established by the Sea Watch Foundation, this event is intended to encourage members of the public to become involved in reporting sightings of cetaceans - the family of whales and dolphin around our coast.
There are over 29 species seen around the coast of the UK, many of these pass through the Minch and along the west coast of Scotland. This year there has been higher than normal sightings, the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust saw a rise of 119% on the same period last year.
Members of the public are being encouraged to take part in local watch groups, many of these can be found on Sea Watch website www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk.
In Ullapool a local tour operator is putting on a special trip to raise both awareness of wildlife and funds for the local swimming pool. Following 2 encounters with Killer Whales in June, the Summer Queen became involved with Sea Watch, the HWDT and NAKID Project in trying to identify members of the pod they met in the Summer Isles. Not only did this result in confirmation that the Northern Community Whales, normally only seen in the Orkney, had visited the area for the first time, but also the discovery of a new baby Orca previously unknown but now named “Summer” as a result of being encountered in the Summer Isles.
The cruise that takes place on Saturday 28th July afternoon is intended to mix education and promotion of wildlife including whales and dolphin with fun to encourage younger members of the community to become involved in supporting and respecting the natural environment around them. The tour leaves Ullapool Harbour at 2pm and will go out through Lochbroom and into Annat Bay where passengers of all ages will be encouraged to fill in eye-spy lists, answer quizzes and watch for sightings that may be submitted to the whale watching databases. There is also rumours of a Lochbroom Monster - last reported in October 1906 - who may well be out there!
Tickets for the Whale, Dolphin and Lochbroom Monster tour cost £10 for adults and over 10 years old, £5 for under 10 year old, and family tickets (2 adult/2children) available for £25. All proceeds are going to Ullaspool, the Lochbroom Leisure Centre.
Further information at www.thesummerqueen.co.uk or bookings can be made on 01854 612472.
All sightings can be submitted at www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk and www.whaledolphintrust.co.uk