There has been a sperm whale (of all things) in the harbour at Oban for the past couple of weeks. I first heard about it on 1st April, and had to do a double take before I established that it was for real and not an April fool. We popped down to see whether we could view it on Monday but the closest we got was finding a man who had viewed it a couple of minutes before we arrived. We stood on the harbourside, wrapped up against the wind and taking it in turns at the binoculars, until the children could take it no more then retired to seek refreshment.I’d had the seafood stall on the quay at Oban recommended by a couple of folks so we sought it out. A small green shack with some rugged benches outside, it sits right where the ferries pull in. When we arrived, a huge silver tanker was parked right outside, presumably refueling the Mull ferry.
Despite the inauspicious outlook, we persevered and were rewarded with the largest and most fabulously succulent scallops I have ever had the privilege of eating. They were served with melted garlic butter, a token salad of iceberg and tomato and a piece of sliced brown bread. We also got the langoustines, six of the lovely creatures, perfect and yummy, and a crab sandwich, crammed with filling. The whole lot cost us £15. A total bargain, and eaten in the midst of the bustle and action of the harbour.
On the way back to the car we tried a bit more whale spotting but to no avail. A couple of times we thought we saw some ripples on the surface, but it wasn’t absolutely convincing. It was only later that we learned from the Oban Times that the whale had, at last, had its fill of ferries and fishing vessels and pleasure boats and had decided to leave the harbour the very afternoon that we arrived to visit. It may be that we had arrived just 5 minutes late to wave the creature off on its travels.