Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Perfect conditions, different days...

Photo's, Steve Rosser

Perfect conditions, different days.
Steve Rosser and I took advantage of the incredible weather to do another Stena Europe Survey, yesterday and today. with silken seas and little glare we encountered the kind of conditions I dream of for cetacean watching.We got off to a great start with two groups of c'10+ and then c'2o-30 Porpoises as we made our way out past Strumble, (unusually compact groups) and then kept picking up more, many with calves untill suddenly they stopped appearing about two thirds of the way across. It went very quiet despite the glassy conditions until far in the distance, splashes were seen and eventually we came upon a pod of 30-40 Common Dolphins which charged in to our bows. A Few more porpoises completed our trip as we passed the Tusker and we were well content, though slightly wondering where the Risso's were.A good nights sleep and a new day dawned calm and still for our return survey from Rosslare to Fishyguard. We ticked off a couple of porps and then big splashes at extreme distance had me suspecting they were Risso's breaching. We approached at what seemed like slow motion , such was the distance between us due to the incredible visibility. At least 25 -30 Risso's were arrayed across our bows as we approached, with the usually taciturn officers of the bridge grabbing binoculars and pointing excitedly! No sooner than we had these logged than we contacted four seperate pods in succesion, some with calves, at least 50+ individuals!After such hectic activity, I was pretty happy for a break and again we spent time scanning the glassy surface for somtime with no reward.As the Welsh Coast and Islands became clearer odd porpoises began to apper , again, several with calves. Usually concentrated coastally it seemed odd that as we approached and passed Strumble no porpoise broke the flat calm surface.A couple more weeks like this would make up for a lousy summer! allthingsgood, walrus