Girls call me Makaluod
Another thought on your whetstone scratches. It could also be caused by cross contamination from the previous whetstone(s). You need to be meticulous about cleanliness when honing so that not a single particle (even the invisible ones) from a previous whetstone can get onto the next whetstone. This means that between whetstones, you thoroughly cleaning the blade, your hands and anything else that can lead to cross-contamination.