Having garbed up and donned waterproofs and a lifejacket, I then spent 3 wonderful hours with Caithness Sea Coast aboard their rigid inflatable. With the wind at a moderate level and bright skies, we set off from Wick and headed northwards up the coast to Duncansby Head, passing Noss Head, Sinclair Bay, Buchollie Castle and the Stacks of Duncansby. A great multitude of birds observed our passage including Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill, Black Guillemot and Great Skua – one of which had no trouble at all in keeping up with our 25 knots.
Crossing the open water to Muckle Skerry, we attempted a landing but the swell prevented us from getting ashore. We were treated to views of Seals, hauled up on the rocks, and many more sea birds, including Shag, Terns and a Pomerine Skua.
Disappointed by our failure to land, we cruised the island keeping a wary eye on the currents that have claimed many a vessel. Our disappointment was short-lived as an Orca fin was spotted several hundred yards away. Steering towards it, we were soon alongside 3 of the magnificent mammals, as they swam to investigate us. One of the Orca was an awe-inspiring size, looking to be about twice the size of the others and with a fin that towered into the air. In the main they kept their heads down but passed us many times, once coming within 10 feet of the rear of the boat.
Minutes passed like seconds and all too soon we were headed back to the mainland where we were (nearly) granted a spectacular sunset. What an evening and what an experience. Many thanks to the crew who got us home safely.