Muc-mhara-crotach – the gaelic for humpback whale. This was taught to me during the first hour of the Easter Sunday event by a very cheerful little boy, who then revealed that it was his favourite whale. The fact that it is also my favourite whale is a coincidence that made us both smile! I have enjoyed many conversations with members of the public since beginning my time here at the Scottish Dolphin Centre, and so far these moments have been some of my definite highlights.
I’m Catherine, one of the guide education volunteers here this year, along with Holly. It’s still fairly early in the season but we have already had the chance to get out there and say hi to lots of you! I was lucky enough to travel up to Caithness in March and enjoyed the science festival; it was my first chance to go to an event and it was great to see so many people during the day. We also had the chance to visit the local schools and introduce them to the whales and dolphins they could see along their coast. It was great to see the enthusiasm for these animals, and we had some very good questions from everybody! My favourite was “what about the crocodiles?” which was asked by a youngster from a nursery group (three times).
Whilst in Caithness we were very lucky with the weather, and made use of this to do some whale and dolphin watching. I didn’t see any dolphins during the trip, but I did see lots of sea birds, including razorbills and fulmars. At one point I was looking out over the sea with a bright blue sky, a rainbow, and fulmars flying in figures of eight over my head. It was picture perfect.
Over the Easter holidays we had two of our Wildlife Warriors sessions – our holiday club for children. Despite the hail and wind we managed to enjoy the anatomy obstacle course in the ice house, with a brilliant oesophagus tunnel made by Holly. We also made brain hats; I still have mine, it might come in handy for dopey moments! The second session was much nicer weather wise, so we spent the afternoon playing games in the sun – it was ospreys verses dolphins, with everything to play for right to the end.
We’ve got lots of events coming up to take us into summer, which we’re all looking forward to, and with dolphin sightings on the increase no day is the same here at Spey Bay. I love it here, and enjoy sharing things with the people who come in. I also love it when people share their facts and favourites with me.
So, I now know my favourite whale is Muc-mhara-crotach; if you see me around, I’d love to find out yours!