2nd January 2023
Only meters away from ‘PI’ the Humpback Whale south off Porth Hellick Down this afternoon
For the first time in the last month, the weather was ideal for kayaking and I took advantage of it and was making my ways towards Samson, mid-morning. It was almost high tide when I reached the Samson Flats but there were still good numbers of waders including, 120 Ringed Plover, 150 Sanderling, 40 Turnstone, 2 Whimbrel and Purple Sandpiper and a single Grey Plover. After a few minutes, they flew off from being pushed off by the tide and I switched my attention to Green Island where there was an adult Yellow-legged Gull and the 3 Spoonbill. It was while taking pics of the latter species that news came on that the ‘PI’ the Humpback Whale, was off Deep Point! Going to Samson, I thought that if ‘PI’ is seen today, it will be off Gugh, just a twenty-minute row from where I was now. Instead, it’s chosen to return to where it was a month ago, an hour kayak off Deep Point!
The 3 Spoonbill that arrived in November last year were still present on Green Island
There 2 Whimbrel on the east side of Samson
There were up to 9 Mediterranean Gull off Samson
There were over 50 Kittiwake off the south of Samson
Looking towards the Eastern Isles from Samson
It was so still, it felt like I was almost rowing on glass as I took my time just off Tresco South Beach before turning SE towards Guthers Island and then south deep into the Eastern Isles where I got onto a Common Scoter. Scanning the horizon to the SW, I could make out a small cloud of Gannet diving. It wasn’t long until I had reached the Gannet, ploughing through good numbers of Razorbill and Guillemot along the way. I heard the sound of the Humpback but due to the sun in my eyes, I couldn’t see it. After a brief call to Julian, who was observing the beast from Tolls Island, he let me know that it was south, about 300 meters away from I was. I heard it again close by and another call, this time from Joe Pender, who was looking down from Deep Point on the whale, and he told me to continue SW. That I did, and as I paused to scan, over the crest of a wave, there it was! Directly in front of me, facing north at the tip of my kayak!!! As soon as it went down, I stayed close behind only to see it this time, fluke it’s tail as it came up again. There was a large swell, making both photography and videoing very difficult. For the next thirty minutes, I followed it WSW, just off Porth Hellick Down. Here it surfaced many times from all directions and on one occasion it came up to my right side. I was online to where I thought it might surface again and immediately got out of the way. I was right as it blew to where I had just been but I had moved a few meters to the north and I was now behind it. On two occasions, it got crazy! I had no idea where it was until it rose only meters away from me! That was a little too close for comfort and I felt it was getting to the point that I thought I better move on as this could turn out to be dangerous if it came any closer. I didn’t have to worry. as the next time I saw it, it was distantly to the south. WOW!! By far one of the most incredible, exciting, sometimes damn scarey close encounters in my lifetime! It doesn’t get better than this. I made my ways back following the coastline of St Mary’s before reaching the shore of Sharks Pit where I put my kayak to bed. My butt felt sore after sitting for over 5 hours in a kayak and covering some ten miles of water but it was well worth it after that truly remarkable, insane experience that I just had with ‘PI’.
Approaching the Eastern Isles
This was the only pic I got with the SLR as it was too close to focus when it appeared from out of the water.
At times, the whale was getting too close for comfort but I got some insane views as I observed it As it was so close, I couldn’t focus onto it with the SLR!
Whale watchers looking off Deep Point
On the 28th December, four of us were very fortunate to observe ‘PI’ breaching six times in succession, off Morning Point.
Returning to this afternoon, over 70 kittiwake feeding 0ff the east of Deep Point
Also to the east off Deep Point were good numbers of Guillemot
Up to 4 Black Redstart were at Porthloo Beach
Where there was also this Stonechat
And 5 Chiffchaff
On the 30th December, this 1st w Scandinavian Gull was off Morning Point
With this distant adult Yellow-legged Gull
Yesterday I had a 3rd w Yellow-legged Gull at Morning Point. At the same site on the 29th December, there were 2 adult and this 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull
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One thought on “Kayaking with ‘PI’ the Humpback Whale off Scilly!”
Although watching dolphins and whales in a tour party would be wonderful, to be solo in a kayak so close to a whale must be a more wonderful experience. Tremendous Kris!
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