Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The first whale of spring... and a swallow!

I woke up at half past six and the weather was just too good not to jump on the Stena Europe and see what we could see. I rather though David Cuniffe might be up and about so I gave him a bell, and yes he was and yes he thought it would be a great idea. I waited a bit longer and then phoned Eirian Garrard, she couldn't do the full four crossings due to work commitments but was keen to do the return trip. In a matter of three hours I had a team and our places booked on the Stena Europe!
We sailed yesterday afternoon and although the sea was pretty calm and we were all concentrating hard we had only two porpoise sightings and a brief sighting of two common dolphins that surfaced on the bow, so there was little evidence of the movement from the previous week on that sailing. Sadly Eiri' had to get off at Fishguard at Midnight but Dave and I slept our way back to Ireland for a fresh start from Rosslare this morning.
Dave was firing on all cylinders and clocked a couple of Porp sightings up to and just past the Tusker Light. 
Staring hard into the hazy blue i saw the briefest glimpse of a big black back dissappear beneath the surface a long, long way away.  "Whale"  I shouted and kept on staring through my bins, desperate to refind it and let Dave get a view of it. I kept on staring at the spot and nothing , Zilch Nada . We passed by the spot and I almost gave in, but a quick last glance behind us showed a ripple on the  smooth calm water. Then a bit of a wave and then the Minke surfaced, Yowza! first whale of spring  seen clearly by both of us.
The middle section was pretty uneventful but we managed to add another nine sightings, all porps, in the last hour including 34 animals of which at least two were calves. add that to 6 porps and two common dolphins and the total comes to 40 porpoise 2 common dolphins and 1 minke whale  over a total of just over 6 hours effort observation. Not bad I reckon. Oh, and about ten miles off Strumble a swallow flew past us heading west my first hirundine of spring, although we saw loads of Manxies and both common and Sandwich terns so it seems spring has sprung !
Fair play to the Dutch guys as well, nice porp pic's. If you want to email me a phone number I will try and get you on the ferry some time.