Sunday, 15 July 2012

Stena Europe ferry survey and old friends...




Half a weather window and we hopped on the Stena Europe more in hope than expectation of favourable conditions.
As we were checking in, we bumped into BBC TV "Coast" presenter Mark Horton who I had met a few years ago. Mark joined our survey on the bridge and seemed to have the makings of a dolphin spotter , thoroughly enjoying himself! (See pictured above with volunteers Cristina and Helena). Mark was extremely enthusiastic and thought our work on the ship[ would be a good subject for the next series of Coast
Incredibly the sea state on Saturday subsided from a 2 to 0. and with overcast skies conditions were near perfect. We picked up some porps and had a couple of Common Dolphin encounters including a group of circa 8 which spectacularly came leaping in to our bows giving excellent views. A distant pod of Risso's were a bit frustrating, disappearing as we approached but all in all, it was a good outward journey. The trip back today was a bit choppy and lots of glare making for a much less productivetrip but a couple of miles off Strumble a pod of around half a dozen or so common dolphins appeared on our bow before trailing of astern.
Interestingly Ian Hotchin reported seeing a similar size pod off nearby Abermawr on Saturday evening. Impossible to say if they were the same pod but it does seem from recent reports around North Pembrokeshire that the Commons were moving inshore perhaps to exploit abundant mackerel shoals.