Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Lighthouse repairs and minke

The Mainlight dominates the island night and day and we quickly notice if something is not right. A couple of nights ago we noticed that the light was looking right. The problem was that the bank of lights that make up the beam weren't firing up properly. Luckily there is a back-up light that flashes at the right intervals to cover for any problems with the normal light.
You can see below the emergency light on in the top of the lantern.
But yesterday the Northern Lighthouse Board sent out their maintenance crew and by the evening the main beam was back working fine.


On Sunday a couple of private boats came over from North Berwick and told us they had seen minke whales feeding near Bass Rock. We had been seeing them on a daily basis but they seemed to move away when a large number of north Scotland fishing boats moved into the area. So yesterday morning I headed out early with a scope and it was a beautiful, flat calm day so I could see clearly across the Forth to the Bass rock, about 10 miles away. Halfway in between there was a mass of gannets diving and I could hear many guillemots and their chicks calling. A sure sign that there were fish about. And then surfacing in amongst the birds was first 1 minke and then another. In another feeding frenzy of gannets a couple of porpoises feed. All very exciting. Later in the morning a minke was seen feeding closer to the island so I decided to see if we could spot whales for the May Princess when she came in. Half an hour spent searching before she arrived revealed no whales. But just as she came round the South Ness one appeared  and with some hastily radioed instructions the boat managed to be in the right place to see it come up 3 or 4 times. When she landed her visitors there were some big smiles on the passengers faces and the crew.

Feeding frenzy of gannets half way between the May and the Bass Rock. Below the May Princess searching for the minke whale.

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