Friday, 10 July 2009

Stena Ferry Survey

Disapointingly a Sea Trust small boat survey had to be cancelled on Thursday due to a very choppy sea after several days of strong winds. An alternative was a survey across the Irish Sea from Fishguard to Rosslare on Stena Europe with Cliff, Rich and Miguel. Sea conditions on Thursday afternoon were still pretty choppy at times (sea state 4) and spotting any cetaceans was not easy. We did, however, manage a few Porpoises not long out of Fishguard and brief views around halfway across of a couple of young Rissos Dolphins which just stayed put on the surface as we passed. Both seemed to be immature animals.
Friday morning started off very quiet as we sailed out of Rosslare. The sea had, however, died right down and for most of the crossing it was glassy calm with a thin veil of cloud removing any glare - ideal ceacean spotting conditions. We were not to be disapointed and a couple of hours into the trip we saw some Porpoises and then a family group of 10 Rissos Dolphins. They passed us a little way off keeping a low profile but showed their tall, raked, fins well. Photo shows one individual - shame they didn't come closer! As the ferry moved on well past them they became more energetic and could be seen splashing and leaping in the distance behind us.

On towards Fishguard we encountered three pods of Common Dolphins - perhaps 40 animals in all , including one pod quite close into Strumble. Numerous Porpoises were also seen between Strumble and Dinas Head.

Few Gannets were seen on the way but numerous Manx Shearwaters and Puffins including two Pufflings. A Great trip!