Monday, 27 May 2013

First of the Risso's and more Minke, thankyou Stena!

My birthday on Sunday , so a family celebration in Monmouthshire far from the sea! The weather clowns were blowing hot and cold, windy and calm during the week. I tried to let everyone have advance  chance of a trip, advertised it, got some possible surveyors together and then the weather clowns changed their mind again so cancelled... Saturday Morning all change again frantic phone calls.. got a last minute team together, actually booked  the ship two hours before she sailed. Got in Car whooshed down the M4 praying I had got it right in the end....
It was a wonderful start to the bank holiday weekend with fabulous sunshine and excellent visibility, when we boarded the ferry at Fishguard for Rosslare Sat 25th May. Elfyn Pugh, Maggie Sproule and myself Barbara Davies, took our usual positions on the bridge of the Stena Europe. 5 mins out and Elfyn spots the first of many porpoise sightings along the way. Tuskar Lighthouse proved to be a good location for Elfyn and Maggie when they spotted a Minke whale (which I missed!) and a few porps. The evening crossing allowed us extra time when I spotted some Rissos dolphins 10mins out, followed by a porpoise half hour later, finally calling it a day around 9.45pm.
Sunday's trip back was equally as good when a porp then 3 Rissos came into view 20mins out. It was wonderful to see all the variety of seabirds too; kittiwakes, Manx shearwaters, gannets, guillemots, puffins, artic, common and sandwich terns.Keeping our bins firmly transfixed on a feeding frenzy of seabirds proved fruitful not just once, but twice with sightings of what we thought were common dolphins. Quite a bit of splashing although in the distance. We estimated about 15 in one group and approx 7 in the other. After a lull, there were a few more sightings of harbour porps (20 in total for the weekend) plus three tanned faces on the bridge, concluding the survey at around midday.
Great results!
Simpatico, Barbarella and Miss Baja 2013
Sorry to those who missed out ,including me! First Risso's of the year and another Minke resuming normal service on the southern Irish Sea! Massive thanks to all at Stena Line for making it all possible!