Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Pembrokeshire islands cetacean survey!

Yesterday, ten Sea Trust Supporters and our survey team enjoyed a fantastic day out on Nick o' Sullivan's "Celtic Wildcat"

The Weather window opened up for us as we passed through Jack Sound and crossed St Brides Bay en route for Ramsay Sound. A large log with an upstanding branch set our hearts beating but as the angle changed, the "Orca" resolved itself back into a piece of driftwood...

Several real Porpoises popped up as we entered Ramsay Sound and nosed our way gently through and out of the northern end, swinging around to the Bishops and Clerks, where more porpoises were sighted.

Nick then turned the Wildcat west, out towards the Celtic Deep and The Smalls Lighthouse. Here we encountered a pod of circa 25 Common dolphins who at first came in to meet us then muddled around a bit nervously. As we cautiously approached, they shot onto our bows revealing several calves before leaving just as suddenly, heading back towards where we first encountered them.

We left them to it and made for the perpendicular lighthouse breaking the otherwise flat horizon.

Few places I know emit such an eerie haunted feeling as the Smalls Rock with its towering grey lighthouse even on a relatively bright calm day. A gaggle of resting Shags atop the rock and one snoozing Grey Seal seemed completely unaffected, as did other seals playing in the surf.
Hundreds of Manx Shearwaters were hanging around the tidal race that pulls offf the Smalls Reef, although not yet the thousands we encounter later in the season, but still an impressive sight.

Grassholm looks snow covered from a distance, with a blizzard of snowflakes above. They resolve themselves into nearly a hundred thousand gannets as we get closer.

Puffins, Razorbills, Guillimots and Kittiwakes completed the tour on Skomer and Skokholm as we headed back into the Haven After an eight hour odyssey around oour beautiful Islands.

Thanks to Rich Crossen for his organisation, Nick for his cooperaton and the rest of the gang for their support!
Pics, Rich Crossen. More pics here