Watching the Waves, March 2019

It would be fair to say that quite a few of my Shetland blog posts could have a subtitle of “Watching the Waves”.  

Often the waves are the side attraction that goes alongside watching the birds, spotting the otters and hoping for whales.

Last weekend was, however, pretty choice wave watching weather.  Unusually, both for Shetland most weeks and for the rest of UK on this particular weekend, there wasn’t much wind around at the south end of Shetland.  There was however plenty of wind further out at sea, so the waves when they made it to shore were pretty dramatic - and also somewhat unusually (must have been something to do with Storm Freya making her way around the southern parts of the UK) the winds changed direction, so for part of the weekend waves rolled in from the southwest and later were hauling in from the east.

Waves from the southwest (Ness o' Burgi)
Waves from the southwest (Brei Geo, Scat Ness)
St Ninians, Crowds
Calm days (Grutness Voe)
Waves from the east (Grutness Voe)
Waves from the east (Grutness Voe)

Although the weather was pretty benign (on shore at least) I did find a few reminders that it's not always plain sailing around Shetland.

In 1993, the Braer, an oil tanker, came unstuck at the south end of Shetland - eventually breaking up on Garth's Ness on the west side of Quendale Bay (and it was only by a series of extra-ordinary coincidences that the pollution was as localised as it was).  Most of the wreck has over the years disappeared, and now only the mast is still visible, lodged in a narrow channel on the other side of Quendale Bay.

Last traces of the Braer

Other shipwrecks stick around much longer than the Braer has done.  Over the years there have been 30 or 40 ships lost in Quendale Bay, some disappear completely, others get covered by sand and just very occasionally reappear.

West end of Quendale Bay, March 2019
West end of Quendale Bay, January 2007

So, what of the other cast that might distract me from waves watching? I certainly didn't spot any whales this time.  However, the birds are starting to regroup on the cliffs (plenty of guillemots and a few razorbill, but it's still too early for the puffins).  And I did get the bonus (even if it was a long way away, and in near darkness) of watching an otter in Quendale Bay searching for this evening meal.

Guillemots at Sumburgh Head
Otter in Quendale Bay

Seven Book Challenge

Just the covers.  No explanation. No reviews.

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