The tour I run to Mull each year includes a boat trip to the Cairn’s of Coll. This year we had a close encounter with a Minke Whale. It was good to see the expertise of the skipper and crew shining through by not chasing the animal but biding time and waiting for it to come to us … and it did … BIG TIME!
From somewhere around 800m away the animal took a beeline towards us. Like any animal it was pushed by inquisitiveness to investigate. The whale finally surfaced it’s 10m bulk alongside the boat giving us unprecedented views.
In the photos I took it’s possible to see the white pectoral fins below the surface of the water as well as subtle patterning and shading on the back and head. Most people think it is only possible to identify individual animals by their dorsal fins. Some have unique shapes and nicks making re-identification possible. Our Minke had a classic notch-less, some would say perfect, dorsal fin. However, the body marks also enable individuals to be identified too. A good camera and a little patience are all that is required … and an obliging Minke of course.