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Old 28 March 2017, 08:58   #1
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Dances with Dolphins

Saturday was my first day of the year at sea... in the new boating season.

I was as happy as a sandboy doing what I love doing the most. Rock hopping at displacement speeds on the edge of the sea swell in the Sound of Arisaig.

With not a care in the world.. I was relaxing ..looking for anything that may attract my attention .. as I made my way along the coast. The boat was my 2.75 meter F-Rib powered by a 6HP which is my favourite weapon of choice for such an adventure.



Suddenly ... I was very aware of a dark dorsal only inches from my boat . It was moving stealthily at my own speed.. half hiding under the hull.



I rubbed my eyes in disbelief when another three bottle nosed beaks eased there way forward of the front bow of the wee F-Rib



I nearly pissed my pants when a loud bang .. resembling the sound of a drummer hitting a rim shot on a snare drum.. reverberated from the fibre hull.

I can only presumed it was one of these curious sea creatures giving the boat a tail slap .. to see if I was a hard or soft bodied animal ? Then it too darted in front of the boat ..its large tail following behind its bottle beak.



The noise was perhaps a signal for the dolphin dance to begin.

Two wingmen now caused me to gasp in surprise as they breached only a foot or so in front of me. Blow holes bursting open in unison with a sound of pffffffsssssss.. as stale air under pressure was blown clear before filling lungs again and disappearing into the sea from where they came.



Next..a bull in a china shop charged to the fore soaking me with spray as it too breached only feet from my face.



It was followed by another with a slightly more elegant entry. Another bottle nosed dolphin had entered the mesmerising dance. I was now truly enthralled and hypnotised by this glorious sea show.



They then started to appear in different sizes..some only three feet long .. others were as long as the F-Rib..and must have been twice as heavy as my weight.



As I slowed my boat..they continued to circle and dance all round.
It was a once if a lifetime show. .played only for me to see this day at sea .. but I don’t mind sharing with you guys ..assuming there is still an interest in the wittering of an aging sea salt..who calls himself “the Gurnard”

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Old 28 March 2017, 09:32   #2
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Wow... what a start to the season! Mrs and daughter will be so jealous, that is a dream of theirs we'll have that experience one day before we stop going to sea.

Super images... as good as I've seen of a smallcraft encounter... helped greatly by the clear water in that area of course.

Thanks for posting... there will be genuine excitement when my crew gets back from work and I show them your post.
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Old 28 March 2017, 10:22   #3
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Thanks for your kind words Fenlander .. here are another couple of my favourites shots just for your family

Its mama dolphin with baby... faithfully following behind. Yup..even the young wanted to dance with the Guppy.





It was certainly a thrilling..once in a lifetime experience ..

When they gave the wee boat the occasional nudge with beaks or tails..it all added to the excitement.

I spent around three hours with them over two days. I took some movies of them as well as photos .. but will have to edit and join together before posting that.

Some of the bigger brutes could have easily swamp the wee boat.. but the only concern I had was.. I was worried about injuring them with the prop.

They seemed to know that danger..so always bumped the front of the boat. I kept a steady and constant course so as not to confuse them

They rolled upside down as the passed under the boat..flapped flippers.. jumped clean out the water ..circled and danced.

They following wherever I went and I even lead them around half a mile distance to where my brother and mates were kayaking so they too could watch the show.

I thought they were never going to let me go.. think they fell in love with the Guppy at first sight.

On the second day.. they saw me from around quarter of a mile away.. then came bounding over like a playful pack of dogs.. just so they could harass me again.

I was sorry to leave the area ..but I enjoyed three fantastic days of adventuring.. including an abored attempt to go round Ardnamurchan Point in the Guppy.

Four meter high .. (and that is no typo).. breaking swells made me chicken out that task ..although I did get almost to the lighthouse

A tale for another day
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Old 28 March 2017, 11:09   #4
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I can hardly type from jealousy! What a fantastic experience. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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Old 28 March 2017, 12:07   #5
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I must admit Siochair ..I felt very privileged and also humbled to see such a dance. I have never seen anything quite as spectacular at sea in all the many years I have been boating.

I think what made it so special was the size of the Guppy..and perhaps the dolphins were not intimidated by its small size. They were jumping clear of the water and rubbing themselves along the tubes as they took off. You can see the wake this one caused as it jumped in the air beside the tube .. but due camera response delay ..its back in the water again...before the shutter operated



Also..the camera has no viewfinder ..so I was shooting in the dark most the time as the LCD screen was hard to see in the sun..but I kept firing at will..hoping to get some good shots. It doesn’t have much of a zoom either..but that wasn’t a problem as they stayed very close.





It was disappointing so see I failed to get any photos of them “standing on their tails” as I did see them do it..but it all happens so fast.. I missed those kind of shots.

It was also amazing to see them swim under water.. to get any closer..I would have to have been swimming myself.



This photo the rear one is doing a barrel roll as it swims past..it seemed to clap its flippers together when upside down..so a right show off.



Its a day of dolphin dancing that I will never forget
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Old 28 March 2017, 12:29   #6
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My (one of many) pet hate is shutter lag. Thankfully each generation of digital camera seems to be much faster than the last.

Whilst it is a pity you missed some of the tail standing you still managed to get some stunning shots.

I would probably have been so enamoured by the display I would only have remembered about the camera after it was all over.
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Old 28 March 2017, 13:28   #7
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cool I like that I see in one of your pics there looks like a tag on its back
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Old 28 March 2017, 13:32   #8
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Fantastic pictures Gurnard.

Weather lately has been beautiful with calm seas and temperatures 15-17°. I was out in the Avon 8 tender the other day on Lewis just to blow off the cobwebs, but rowing.
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Old 28 March 2017, 14:05   #9
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cool I like that I see in one of your pics there looks like a tag on its back
Hi Breezeblock..if its the photo showing a dolphin close up..with a strange shape coming out in front of its dorsal.. I think its just the way the camera caught another dolphins tail..as it went back under the water They were often very close to each other and often crossing or even jumping with one another


Yup ..its been a great spell of weather Spartacus..although I did hit some wild waters trying to go round Ardnamurchan point on Sunday.

It was relatively calm until I hit the big swells rolling against tide eddies and an off shore wind as I went round the headland at Sanna Point.

I was all alone in my 2.72 meter F Rib ..no other boats in sight or anywhere on the horizon ..so decided to head for home in case a 4m wave tossed me high in the air.

Im a coward at heart in those kind of seas

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Old 28 March 2017, 14:08   #10
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Awesome pics Gurnard and what a thrill to be riding with Dolphins on what looks like a glorious Fribbing weather😎. .... and I'm sure you being you.... finished it off with a fine single malt to compliment the day as well .
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Old 28 March 2017, 14:30   #11
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Mrs F and daughter have been thrilled to see your images Gurnard. They have of course visited the area and also met you in a different area so feel some tiny affinity to your experience.
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Old 28 March 2017, 14:31   #12
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You know me only too well Kerny..

I had a few slugs of the golden syrup ..to celebrate getting the dolphins to follow me for over half a mile.. just so my paddling pensioner pals could watch the show too.

I felt like the frenzied Pied Piper of Arisaig leading dolphins and not rats.



This photo is not as sharp as I would have liked ..but it shows the size of some of the bigger guys.. the kayak is 16 feet in length..the guppy is only 9 feet long..so if one accidentally landed on me..I think I would have been well squished.



The guys getting entertained too..



I'm very pleased to report that no whisky was lost or wasted through healing gut wounds..Im completely watertight again
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Old 28 March 2017, 14:41   #13
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Back to the Stiory telling with a Bang Mate!..Nice pics!
I bet that put a smile on your Face!
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Old 28 March 2017, 14:58   #14
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I bet that put a smile on your Face!
It sure did Maximus

but what made me smile even more was finding another whale vertebrae to add to my whale bone sculpture that I made from the bones I found on Rona last year. This one is from a Minke whale.



In truth ..it reminded me of Willk and when I was jealous of his dolphin photos from last year.

He told me the secret of attracting them .. get a nice displacement speed wake going.. and they will dance to your tune of choice.
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Old 28 March 2017, 15:54   #15
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In truth ..it reminded me of Willk and when I was jealous of his dolphin photos from last year.

He told me the secret of attracting them .. get a nice displacement speed wake going.. and they will dance to your tune of choice.
And your photos reminded me of my great days last summer - well done!

They do slap hulls BTW - I've often felt them under my feet - tapping a 2.5 ton boat. Seemingly they can do gentle! At up to 600kg, you'll certainly be hoping they play nice next time too...
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Old 28 March 2017, 16:57   #16
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Yup..I could see there was a massive weight in the bigger blubbery buggers ..but it didn’t worry me too much Willk.

They were obviously willing to put their trust in me ..so I was happy to put my trust in them too.. rightly or wrongly ... its just the way my mind works



However the walls of water off Ardnamurchan point ..which as you know .. are some of the most treacherous waters on the west.. well I didn’t trust them one little bit.



I wanted to pass the lighthouse .. as then I will have joined up the missing link of coast line .. all the way from Gigha ..including all the sea lochs.. up sound of Mull ..to north of Skye. ..in my wee F Rib 275

Its taken me a year so far..but I have also done much of the Solway and parts of the Mull of Galloway as well.

I went part way across Sanna Bay towards the lighthouse.. but there were too many random walls of solid water appearing then disappearing just as quickly..I decided to leave it for another day..

That is the way my mind works too.. I try not to take too many risks.


So near..yet so far ....



I have pre viewed the dolphin video clips and am very happy with them too.. I just need to find some editing software to join them together ..so do come back when I post it
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Old 29 March 2017, 13:32   #17
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I finally managed to get some software to join the video clips of the dolphins together. Enjoy it ..the music is John Barry's Dancing with Wolves sound track..it inspired the short video.



Thanks for looking..hope you found it of some interest
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Old 29 March 2017, 13:48   #18
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Those pictures are amazing, I remember some from Anglesey last year from one of our members.

I was up in Perth last week for a break and had a drive to St Andrews and round the coast and couldn't believe the weather, looking at these it looks like the summer.

Glad they were friendly, we had basking sharks three years ago around MUCK and they seemed huge but not as entertaining as your dolphins
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Old 29 March 2017, 15:16   #19
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Dolphins?

We were in Skye three years ago (had a great time by the way), making our way down the coast when one of the children noticed something like a dolphin, by the time we turned around and grappled for cameras our two friends dived deep out of sight, this was about 1-2 miles from the mainland. two, however we only got one photo

It was amazing, very envious but pleased for you.

Our two what we thought were dolphins.......
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Old 29 March 2017, 15:18   #20
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Our two what we thought were dolphins.......


Why be envious of a few dolphins when you saw Orcas?
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