Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Irish Sea Cetacean Spectacular: Day 1 Sunday/day 2 Monday

The promise of some nice warm settled weather made us decide to jump aboard the Stena Europe and try and film as much of the wildlife as possible. Thanks to our friends in Stena Line our cabins and tickets were arranged overnight and we boarded at midnight ready to start in Rosslare on Sunday morning.
Thanks to Steve Rosser for filling in the details of the morning’s sightings, and see below post for more details!
…This afternoon the two Steve’s jumped ship to be replaced by Hannah. The Porpoises continued to show well and I began to get my eye in with the video bins.
As we approached the Irish Side Hannah spotted distant dolphins feeding and breaching. In the perfect conditions we spotted them at extreme range, maybe a couple of miles away! Normally common dolphins will come into the bow but having just passed a pod of 15-20 which kept their distance, we could only hope these might give us a show and allow me to film them and again I managed to get some footage.
Just to add the Icing to the cake, some Risso’s  turned up as we passed the Tusker and brought our tally to four species with over sixty individual sightings averaging over ten sightings per hour an incredible total and without doubt a cetacean spectacular!
The Irish Sea can be grey and lumpy with a bit of reputation as stormy but over the past few days it has been heart achingly beautiful with such combinations of colours and cloud formations as would have inspired Turner to a masterpiece.
It has also been populated by a host of cetaceans with Minke Whale Risso’s Dolphin, Common Dolphin and many porpoises showing in these most favourable conditions.
Tuesday dawned overcast and calm in Rosslare, perfect for viewing and we set off on another day’s fantastic cetacean recording session. Porpoises continued to show well and a glimpse of a couple of Risso’s, were a small taster of things to come. We continued sighting animals right across the route with a formidable 42 individual sightings by the time we reached Fishguard.
Hannah and myself started the return trip full of hope but as the miles passed by with just a few sightings, we began to wonder if the spectacular was fizzling out.
Wham we started hitting porpoises about an hour off Rosslare. It was nonstop with Hannah struggling to keep up it went quiet for a while and then as we approached the harbour we had Risso’s all over the place!.
The evening hour was the flattest calm I can remember   and we added even more porpoises some Risso’s and Commons as a fantastic sunbseyt set the sky ablaze
A small pod of about 10 coming into our bows in the twilight as we left the bridge and headed for our cabins exhausted but happy!