Lucky move that led to a love of marine wildlife

When engineer Steve Truluck swapped London for the quieter coast of north-east Scotland 12 years ago, it proved to be life-changing.

Rather than the busy daily commute, he realised he could see whales and dolphins from his window.

So instead of returning south to resume his normal career in 2012 after what was meant to be a temporary placement, he decided to stay in Moray. He set up own window-cleaning business, which allowed him to pursue his marine wildlife passion when he wanted.

He also started as a volunteer with Whale and Dolphin Conservation, has become a whale watching guide, and travels the world to experience and photograph the beauty of marine wildlife.

Steve, who is now 49, told BBC Radio Scotland's Lunchtime Live he had been living in Guildford and working on the outskirts of London.

"I was fortunate enough my company offered me the chance to move up to Scotland and work on a flood alleviation project in Forres," he said.

"I came up and moved into a property in Hopeman, a little seaside village on the Moray Firth.

"Literally on the first day I was there I went shopping and one of the local shopkeepers recognised that I was a newbie in the village, she asked me what road I was living on and told me I could see dolphins.

"Everything changed from there."

He recalled: "I started looking out at sea, I completely ignored TV, and was literally glued to the sea, hoping and praying that I would see some dolphins.

"It took me two months, I was looking and looking and looking, every wave.

"Eventually I got lucky, I saw my first dolphins from the house."

He was given a special spotting scope and was able to look further out to sea.

"I started seeing whales," he said.

He decided to start a new life, joined Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and took part in their shore watch initiative to record sightings.

"They happened to be setting up a new shore watch site at Burghead just down the road from me," he said. "I then had a network of like-minded people.

"I saw some amazing things, and got to know there are killer whales in Scottish waters. I can't get them out my head.

"The last group of killer whales I saw was off Fraserburgh. They've gone from a group of three to a group of eight in six years, which is incredible growth rate."

'An absolute joy'

He said: "Whale watching allows us to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat where they belong and just sometimes something truly special happens. It’s those days that I live for.

"When a creature double the size of your boat chooses to approach you, starts looking at you and interacts with you, it is truly unbelievable."

Steve has become a respected whale watching guide to help other people realise their dream of seeing the creatures, and has even featured in a documentary about his passion.

Although he now travels the world in pursuit of marine wildlife experiences, he still appreciates what is on his own doorstep.

"Living in the Moray Firth, you are blessed, you've got the bottlenose dolphins, you often see them very close to shore, it's an absolute joy," he said.

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