It only takes an hour and a half to cross the Pentland Firth from Scrabster to Stromness on the Northlink ferry. Standing on deck I can see all kinds of wildlife dramas unfolding.
There’s a Fulmar, a tubenose related to the Albatross, gliding effortlessly faster than the ferry:
They are known here in Orkney as Mallimacks, meaning ‘bad mouth’, because they defend their nests by spitting vile smelling oil at intruders.
They don’t look like they would from here on the ferry’s deck:
I see a Great Skua, the Buzzard of the Coast, viciously attack a juvenile Great Black Backed Gull and plunge it into the sea:
We sailed on, but I don’t think it ended well for the Gull.
We must be passing the island of Hoy soon, with its famous rock stack.
Where has everyone gone? I glance behind me and there they all are, waiting for a photo opportunity as we sail past the Old Man of Hoy.
The deck of the ferry is a great place to see human dramas unfold, too.