Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Intelligent Life?

"For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons." Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

My love for The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy knows no bounds, it is a work of genius and only improves each time I read it.  Dolphins have long held an attraction for humans and whether you simply enjoy watching their seemingly careless frolicking in the waves or are convinced they're trying to communicate a secret message regarding planet's impending doom, they're bound to put a smile on your face.

Fun frolics or doom laden Vogon warnings?

Apart from 1 long distance sighting from Waternish Point on Skye a few weeks ago, dolphins have eluded us.  Or avoided us.  We've been close enough to stags to count the points on their antlers and been dive bombed by giant skuas, but dolphin were still on our "to do" list, or more accurately our "not quite seen properly yet" list.

Our "Active in Scotland" booklet told us that "The Moray Firth is acclaimed as one of the best places in the UK to see dolphins.  Stand at Chanonry Point, Black Isle on land, or enjoy a wildlife boat trip".  We located Chanonry Point on a map and, as luck would have it, there was a Camping and Caravan Club right on the beach at Rosemarkie, within easy walking distance of Dolphin Central.  I'll be honest, ever since we arrived in Scotland we've been bombarded with the "it's easy to see XXX wildlife" messages, and it's usually a bare faced lie - or at least overly optimistic marketing spin - but this time they were right.

If I roll out of bed the wrong side, I may get wet.

When we checked in the lovely wardens told us exactly what time the dolphins showed up and where the best place to see them was.  Then they showed us to our perfect pitch, just 10 yards from the beach and close enough to hear the waves lapping on the shore at high tide.  (As well as the great pitches the facilities here are fab too, super clean loo blocks and very handy info centre.)

We parked up and headed for Chanonry Point where around about a dozen dolphins were already cavorting in the waves, chasing fish and generally having a good time.  I was gob smacked at how close in to the shore they were - I'd taken my binoculars but they were so close I didn't need them.

As close as they look.
After about an hour or so I headed back to sort out dinner leaving Steve to get soaked and take more pics (will upload them when we get home).  We'll be back later this evening for another encounter so prepare for me to turn into a dolphin bore again on social media later...

As well as dolphin watching there are lovely walks along the beach here, nice local pubs and a lovely little community cafe right on the beach with the most impressive memorial benches I've ever seen.  They also do a pretty mean bacon and egg mayo roll, all made with local produce.

This will probably be the last blog I manage before we reach home, it's been a fantastic adventure discovering wildlife and superb beaches so it seems only fitting that our final campsite is perched next to another couple of miles of sandy loveliness.

Right, time for another cold beer now before we take a stroll along the sand to watch the dolphins again this evening.  I've always said you don't need to travel to the ends of the earth to find a piece of paradise and this trip, and especially this site, has proved me right.

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