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Whales and Dolphins

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© Sealife Surveys

Heading west from Mull, the next landmass you meet is North America : there is a lot of water around here ! And where there is water there are Cetaceans - whales and dolphins to you or I.

The most common whale seen in these waters is The Minke Whale or Piked Whale, sometimes called The Lesser Rorqual. To see Minke Whale, your best bet is to join an dedicated excursion like Sea Life Surveys where there are also occasional sightings of Humpback Whale, Fin Whale and others.

The ideal day for a whale watch is a calm one, when it is easy to see the whales break surface, to blow and breathe. On a quiet day you can also hear the blow.

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© Sealife Surveys

On land, you might see a Minke Whale from Caliach (Cailleach) Point, Carsaig or from Ardnamurchan Point. You need binoculars and have to be patient, because whales are, of course, below the surface more often than above. The watcher needs at least half an hour in any given area, to give the whales a chance to show. You also just have to be lucky : I recently saw a mother and calf in Loch Scridain, along with hundreds of seals and the closest young whale was about thirty feet offshore!!

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© Sealife Surveys

There are a number of different Dolphin species to be seen around Mull's three hundred mile coastline (not to mention another two hundred other smaller islands and islets, numerous inlets and sea lochs) ! An important tip is that if you see a Dolphin quite close inshore, it will be a Bottle Nosed. Further offshore, we get into the realm of Common Dolphin, Rissos Dolphin and Killer Whale (or Orca.) The Orca is not common here, but it is seen every summer, and sightings are increasing.

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© Sealife Surveys

Porpoise are our most common Cetacean, and they behave rather like a very small Whale, in that as they rise to breathe, you only see the back and fin.(When observing Dolphins, you often see the whole creature). Top places to see Porpoise are from the Oban to Mull Ferry, and the Kilchoan Ferry to Tobermory, off Callaich Point, Grasspoint, Gribun Cliffs (Loch na Keal), and from the old chapel at Pennygown.

Basking Sharks are often seen off Callaich Point from mid to late Summer,and if you see large fin cruising on the surface for a period of time, it is almost certainly a Basking Shark.

Dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks and even minke whales are often seen on boat trips from Tobermory, Fionnphort and Ulva ferry. Learn more about Whale and Dolphin viewing trips

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