Friday, 13 January 2012

First Ferry Trip of the Year

Due to the poor weather at the end of 2011 the last Fishguard/Rosslare Ferry survey was way back on 7 November. It was good, therefore, to be able to do a survey early into the new year.
I boarded the Stena Europe yesterday at Fishguard and had the usual usual warm welcome from the crew - for which many thanks. I was on my own for the outward leg and conditions were a little rough to start off with although by the time it had grown too dark to continue the sea had calmed down considerably. Just one lone Porpoise recorded off Strumble to show for my efforts but the day ended with a nice sunset and the weather was set fair for the next day..........
Sure enough the sea was calm with very little wind this morning and visibility was terrific with a little cloud here and there to keep the glare at bay. For this leg I was joined by Tony and Stevo Lucas and although we had some quiet periods it turned out to be a good trip. A little way out of Rosslare we saw 4 Porpoises close in to the ship and an hour or so out two separate Risso's Dolphins followed each other in quick succession. The middle section was pretty barren - no cetaceans and very few birds. However, approaching Strumble 2 Porpoises popped up, again close to the ship. The highlight was a pod of twenty or so Common Dolphins picked up by their splashes some way off near Dinas Island. They then headed west towards the ship and eventually passed fairly close and were in view for 10 mins or so altogether with much leaping and boisterous displays.
Roll on another year of surveys from the Stena Europe. 2011 was an amazing year for Minke Wales - what will 2012 bring?
No pics of Dolphins but a couple of shots to show the wonderful winter light - sunset from the ferry and dawn over Tusker Lighthouse (click on pics for larger images).