Friday, 19 August 2011

Zippedydoohdah! fintastic Whales in Wales!

I sat in my garden at 6.30 am, drinking tea, sadly aware of the fact that the sunny calm morning was going to deteriorate. The only question was when? Would we be able to get out to the Celtic deep before the forcasted winds got up and made a mess of our hopes to see the fin whales we knew to be out there?
Hardly a breeze as we ate our bacon butties at Neyland Marina and the party gathered whilst Nick readied the "Celtic Wildcat" for our mission , for we were most definately on a mission...
Plan was, bat on out to Nicks happy hunting grounds with the rising wind in our teeth and hope when we got there:
(A) there would be some Whales
(B) the sea would not be too rough to see them!
Well the wind was increasing and we were certainly batting against a choppy sea. Passing a couple of small pods of Common Dolphins without giving them more than a second glance, we were on a mission. Eventually soaked and thirty odd miles offshore, Nick picked up a blow and homed in on it! Fin Whales, lots (ten+) of Fin Whales, thousands of Manx Shearwaters ,and hundreds of Common Dolphins, all intent on hoovering up the small fry that must be there in huge quantities. Photography was rather challenging as the boat lurched around in the heavy seas but Rich Crossen got some shots which set the scene -a couple here, more tomorrow.
I also got some film, a lot of it pretty wobbly but some bits are reasonably good and really show what was going on out there.

A professional cameraman equipped with the latest gear and editing facilities would have really done it justice. And it deserves that kind of coverage, the BBC's Natural History Unit is based no more than a four hour drive away. Our research since 2004 has proved this is an aannual occurrence with Fin Whales seen in August whenever our boats can get out. It would need some planning but if they got their act together we could prove Welsh Waters can produce wildlife spectacles to match any in the world!