Whilst guiding on 18th July 2019, we were fortunate to discover a large pod of Atlantic White-sided Dolphins off the east coast of Yell. We initially located them around Otterswick, where we had good (if a little distant) views of them on the calm sea. There was much leaping and splashing, and it was apparent there were a few small calves in the pod too. The group gradually made their way south along the coast of Yell, and we caught up with them again off Burravoe. They then headed across Yell Sound and were seen off various points of mainland Shetland, much to the delight of a number of local and visiting enthusiasts.
Cetaceans are always erratic in their appearance in Shetland, and whilst everybody wants to see Orcas, it is actually a much rarer sight in Shetland waters to come across a group of dolphins. Risso's Dolphin is usually the most frequently seen; Atlantic White-sided is quite rare, although usually turn up in big "super-pods" like this one. It was a great privilege to be able to watch this group of dolphins for such a prolonged period of time.
Atlantic White-sided Dolphins off Yell, 18th July 2019 (C) Rob Fray