Friday, 30 May 2014

Basking in Glory-ish!

Our first small boat survey of the year! It was a marginal forecast but we decided to give it a go despite a bit of a NW breeze blowing. We headed out first for South Haven, Skomer where the sea bird colonies were in full swing with plenty of close views of Puffins Kittiwakes, Razorbills and Guillemots. We then ventured out to the seemingly snow covered island of Grassholm, but the "snow" is 40,000 nesting gannets the, snowflakes are Gannets coming in to land and taking off!
We then made a big sweep around to the south but the choppy seas made things difficult and we failed to connect with any cetaceans.
None the less we did connect with a much rarer creature for our waters, a basking shark! 
For Hannah (whose sharp eyes spotted it), and also  for most of those on the boat, it was their first encounter with this gentle marine  giant.  We estimated it at no bigger than 8-10 feet in length so a juvenile  and not really a giant as such! Baby Basking Sharks are between 5-6 feet long at birth. so I expect this was no more than a year or two old! We tried to get some pic's and hopefully someone did better than me as we were rocked about slowly following it at a reasonable distance. After a couple of minutes we left it in peace although to be honest it did not seem to realise we were there!
We have seen them every now and again over the years but this was the first one for at least five years so something of a treat even though we failed on Dolphins!

Film from the trip: