Saturday, 29 May 2010

A weekend of Cetaceans... 22-23/5/2010

From Stacey Wall, Sea Trust/Celtic Diving marine mammal observer,

During the hottest weekend of the year so far. I encountered both bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoise.
Setting off from Fishguard on Saturday aboard Celtic Diving's, dive boat “Wanderin’ Star”, the sea was as flat and as calm as I have ever seen it. I was anticipating much cetacean action with the perfect surveying sea state. However as we travelled further north into Cardigan Bay I was disappointed to see nothing other than the odd gannet or gull.
Over six hours later as we were heading back to Fishguard I spotted the unmistakable rise of dorsal fins. The animals were very far away and using binoculars I identified them as bottlenose dolphins, estimated 4 mammals in total. I was satisfied.
The Sunday brought more fine weather and sea state. This time the dive boat headed in the opposite direction, towards and past Strumble Head. On the way to the first dive site I spotted a pod of porpoise. They were easily seen without binoculars and I alerted the divers to them, to their delight. I estimated there to be four or five animals in that pod.
We then reached the dive location and as the briefing was being given I still searched the horizon. I spotted another pod of porpoise passing by and through the binoculars I saw the small group of approximately 5 adults had a calf with them, making me smile inside and out.