British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue

News

2009-10-04 12:05:26

Northern Bottlenose Whale leaves Loch Eil

Northern Bottlenose whale (Photo: Charlie Phillips)Well, that's it out – the Northern Bottlenose whale that has been trapped in Loch Eil near Fort William was this afternoon finally coaxed out of the narrow sea-loch trap, through the Corpach narrows and into more open water and a better chance of making it out to the open sea and freedom… and food.

The team gathered before first light this morning, myself from WDCS/BDMLR, Dawna Connolly from SSPCA/BDMLR, Dr Patrick Miller from St. Andrews University Sea Mammal Research Unit, the local Coastguard, Lochaber Yacht Club, Loch Linnhe Caravan Park staff and various helpers, all who played a part in helping this poor animal hopefully reach freedom. Through the novel idea of playing sounds including Killer whale vocalizing and man-made sounds underwater through a waterproof microphone we think that Dr Millers idea and the expert handling of the boat by the yacht club members managed to persuade the whale to travel through the very narrow Corpach narrows, out of Loch Eil and past Fort William down towards the Corran straight and hopefully freedom.

As the light faded towards the end of the afternoon the whale dived and was not seen again, swimming only a few miles from the open sea. Later this evening the tide will be racing out again and hopefully the whale will scoot through the Corran narrows maybe with some playful porpoises for company (three were hunting in the rapid tide). The search stood down just before the light went totally and all that we can do now is to keep a local watch going to monitor if the animal is spotted again. Hopefully not. Thank you so much to all concerned and the hard, gruelling work that you did today, you are all stars.

Charlie Phillips
Medic and WDCS Adopt A Dolphin Field Officer