Right, here we are again, up in the Moray Firth for our summer survey for cetaceans. We (Nicola, Laura and I) have help from four staff from the Sealife Centres all around Britain: Adam, Claire, Jenny and Scott and sporadically from the residential Wildlife Center volunteers (Jonathan, Pippa, Kirsty and Dianne) as well as from some RSPB and SNH folk. After a couple of teething problems with our lovely huge cottage in Portknockie (like finding out that the landlord's relative's daughter had held a party in the house the night before we moved in and did a horrible job of cleaning up afterwards and the cleaner having to come round again to do the job today, or that the TalkTalk box that was supposed to connect us to the internet didn't work and Nicola spending most of the day on the phone to the provider and Laura hidden under a jumper in the garden to use her dongle) we eventually settled in quite well.
Today found us waking up to a blue sky covered by white clouds. After a quick breakfast in the garden I trained up the Sealife volunteers and bombarded them with a quiz at the end about the different cetacean, seal and bird species they might encounter while up here afterwards. Then Laura and I set out to collect the equipment from the
Bay and set everything up on the boat. As we were storing things away and setting dictaphones and watches to the right times and dates, Davy, the skipper of the Gemini Explorer came to us and asked quietly where the hydrophone was. The hydrophone?!? Isn't it supposed to be in the shed here at the harbour? No, they had brought it back to the
Center at the end of last year. Ok, great. Laura and I set off to hunt for the hydrophone which turned out to be in the shed next to the volunteer house (where the mice live that we encountered on last year's survey when retrieving our equipment). So far so good, back to the boat and resuming to set everything up which took us just about another 3 hours. Home, food, and now sleep as we have decided to give it a go tomorrow!