A curious common seal, Shiant Islands, Hebrides, Scotland. Copyright Colin Munro

I’ve spent most of this summer sailing along the coast off Western Scotland and Norway, with a brief swing by the Faroe Islands. I think this includes some of the most dramatic scenery in the World and some of the best marine wildlife.  From the wild remoteness of St. Kilda to the sheer majesty of Troll Fjord there is little that betters the coastline of the northeast Atlantic.  The one downside is that internet has been working only intermittently and then at a glacially slow speed.  However it has been a great trip for marine mammals, with regular sightings of grey and common seals, harbour porpoise, common and bottlenose dolphins and even the occasional orca and sperm whale.  So whilst siting in a bar in Bergen on a chilly and rainy August evening I thought I’d take the opportunity to upload a few images of orcas (Orcinus orca) and common seals (Phoca vitulina).

Male orca cruising off the Lofoten Islands, Norway. copyright Colin Munro

Male orca cruising off the Lofoten Islands, Norway

We were lucky with around the Lofoten Islands, where a small family group of orcas altered course to swim alongside us for a few minutes, rather like overgrown dolphins (which is exactly what orcas are).

 

A female orca (or killer whale) Orcinus orca, cruising along near the Lofoten Islands, Norway.

A female orca (or killer whale) Orcinus orca, cruising along near the Lofoten Islands, Norway.

The western isles are always good for seals, with common seals pupping whilst we were there.  We had particularly good sightings around the Shiant Islands and The Isle of Skye, where both common seals and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) occur together.

A curious common seal, Shiant Islands, Hebrides, Scotland. Copyright Colin Munro

A curious common seal, Shiant Islands, Hebrides, Scotland.

Very often they would pop up behind our Zodiac, always at a safe distance, but curious as to what we were doing.

A common seal cruises with its eyes and nostrils just above the water. Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, Scotland. Copyright Colin Munro. www.colinmunroimages.com Colin Munro Photography

A common seal cruises with its eyes and nostrils just above the water. Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, Scotland.

With only the tops of their heads, eyes and nostrils visible, seals can be tricky to spot. A glance in their direction frequently results in a loud splash as they duck dive out of sight, rather like inquisitive but shy children.

Common seals playing on rocks, Shiant Isles, Hebrides, Scotland.  Harbor seals, copyright Colin Munro www.colinmunroimages.com

Common seals playing on rocks, Shiant Isles, Hebrides, Scotland.

Basking on the rocks they were often quite playful.

Female common seal or harbour seal, Phoca vitulina,  dozing on the rocks, Dunvegan, Isle of Skye. Copyright Colin Munro Colin Munro Photography www.colinmunroimages.com

Female common seal or harbour seal, Phoca vitulina, dozing on the rocks, Dunvegan, Isle of Skye

Colin Munro Photography

Facebook: Colin Munro Photography

My stock images : www.colinmunroimages.com

Sign up to my newsletter