Minke Feature

Date published: 22 July 2014

Guest Blog by David Leaver

Sometimes the things you look for prove to be the most elusive!

We’d been looking for minke whales while sailing around the Hebrides. We had seen dozens of basking sharks as we passed Heisker lighthouse and had wonderful views of sea eagles while anchored at Canna. We also had a group of over fifty common dolphins playing around the yacht as we sailed south from Neist point on Skye. On Rum we’d seen the same stags, hinds and even goats seen on the BBC Autumnwatch program as well as tens of thousands of Manx Shearwaters feeding around the island before going ashore to nest amongst the mountain tops. But still no minke!


Then, towards the end of the week, we were forced to motor to Eigg as a total lack of wind meant no sailing.  However, we were compensated by beautiful blue skies and a hot sun to warm us.

“What’s that?” came a shout.

We all looked – nothing.

Then we saw a huge dark back break the surface of the glass - like sea in amongst a flock of avidly feeding gulls and gannets. We motored to within 200 metres and stopped. Close enough. However the minke thought otherwise – the yacht rocked gently to an unexpected disturbance – we looked over the side - and there we saw it!!

A minke of about 20 ft came rising out of the depths towards us. The whale stayed with us for over ten minutes, curiosity encouraging it to stay close before off it went to feed again. What a delight!

- Main Minke Image by Bawolff

David Leaver