5th April 2013: Sperm Whale at Oban


I’d witnessed the live stranding of a Sperm Whale at Alturlie, east of Inverness, in 2008 and felt that once was enough. Interesting for sure, but not exactly a lot of fun. So when news broke of another Sperm Whale arriving in Oban Bay, close in to the harbour, on 30th March I didn’t go to look straight away. Surely the chances of it surviving in such shallow water a long way from where it would normally be expected to be were slim? But day by day opinion from the various gathered experts seemed to be that it was in reasonable health, was echo-locating normally, and that apart from swimming around in big circles close inshore it was behaving how they expected a sub-adult Sperm Whale to behave.

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So, 5 days after it was first sighted I went to have a look. An absolutely beautiful blue sky day with snow-covered mountains all the way. The Whale was immediately obvious logging in the middle of the bay. At least 30 feet long, it would dive for 30-40 minutes and then surface for 5-10 minutes before another lengthy dive. These photos were taken from outside The Oban Chocolate Company (great day!).

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Update: To most peoples relief “Jonah”, as he came to be known, swam out of the bay of his own free will on the afternoon of 9th April. Despite searching there were no further sightings and hopefully he’s back out in deep water feasting on squid.

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Left click on photos to enlarge.