Seals, Porpoise, Basking Sharks and occasionally Dolphins and Minke Whales can all be seen in the sea round Arran. The Clyde was once well stocked with fish, but sadly stocks have declined alarmingly over recent decades. An Arran organisation, the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) is at the forefront of trying to reverse this and more information can be found at www.arrancoast.com
If you should find a stranded marine animal (dead or alive), please follow this link for what to do.
Last Updated on Sunday, 10 February 2013 15:14 Written by Webmaster Thursday, 09 June 2011 07:06
The size of these cetaceans, at up to 11, marks them out, in whale terms this is not big but in terms of the Clyde only the basking shark can rival the minke whale. They have a, relatively indistinct dorsal fin two thirds of the way down their body, which can be seen as they slowly break the water’s surface to breathe. This noise, together with the spray created, sometimes alerts you to their presence.
Usually if they are to be seen it is in the summer months of July and August.
They can be seen from any shore, or the ferry.
Written by Webmaster Thursday, 09 June 2011 07:03
At 2.5 to 3.5 metres when fully grown, the sight of bottlenosed dolphins launching themselves out of the water is truly breathtaking. They are usually in groups, or pods, of between 10 and 30 with all ages among them and have a much larger, more triangular shaped dorsal fin than porpoise. They can be very boisterous with younger ones chasing each other and can come very close to the shore.
Unfortunately they are not here all the time. They can make an appearance at any time of the year and once here tend to spend a few days in the islands waters so luck can play a huge part in whether you will see them.
When they are here, the dolphins can appear anywhere round the island. You may well here others talk about them if they are here as the sight of them is so memorable so keep an ear open- the sight of them at play is one of the few wildlife spectacles that even the locals will stop to admire.
Dolphins can approach boats underway and if they do this it can be a breathtaking experience, but please don’t chase after them- if they want to interact with your boat then enjoy the experience but they will decide when they have had enough.
To see them never fails to raise the spirits and brings a smile on even the most miserable of days.
Last Updated on Sunday, 10 February 2013 15:15 Written by Webmaster Thursday, 09 June 2011 07:01
These are the smallest of the cetaceans in these waters at 1.3-1.8 metres in length. Porpoise spend most of their time in small groups well offshore and have a diet of fish and crustaceans. On a calm day you may see their rounded black backs topped by a very small dorsal fin breaking the waters surface.
Time spent scanning the sea on a calm day may provide a glimpse of porpoise. The ferry is a good place to see them from as they usually don’t come too close to the shore.
Last Updated on Sunday, 10 February 2013 15:16 Written by Webmaster Thursday, 09 June 2011 06:53
At up to 11metres long these are giants of the Clyde. The only part of these massive creatures you are likely to see however is their fin protruding from the water, sometimes accompanied by the top of their tails and the tip of their snout, as they cruise along feeding. Basking sharks feed on microscopic plankton, which they filter from the water so have no teeth.
Warm calm weather in August or September provides the best chance of seeing a basking shark.
They can be seen anywhere round the island, you need an element of luck to be in the right place at the right time. If you happen to be in a boat when you see one please don’t harass it by going too close. They may approach your boat so be ready to prevent injuring them.
Common (or harbour) seal
Last Updated on Friday, 15 January 2016 18:40 Written by Webmaster Sunday, 17 April 2011 17:59
They grow up to 1.5 metres with males reaching 130kilos and eat fish, crustaceans and molluscs. Frequently seen hauled out onto rocks when the fine spots of colour on their coats can be more easily seen. Their facial appearance is often described as “puppy” like with round doleful eyes and nostrils, which form a distinctive v-shape. Although more numerous round Arran than the Atlantic grey, common seals are actually declining in numbers nationwide.
Common seals can be seen in groups hauled out at favourite spots round the island. The road between Corrie and Sannox provides good views as does the shore near the entrance to Brodick Castle. Groups can also be seen in Kildonan and at the end of the Newton Shore on the north side of Lochranza.
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