Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Stena Super Ferry Animals!

Yesterday I was joined by Steve Rosser, Peter Boyle Jon Skone (and best of all) my grandson Josh, to do one of our long running Stena  Surveys aboard the  Stena Europe. 

Team Sea Trust 


We were into Porpoises from the start off Pen Anglas and we continued recording cetaceans all the way across with 16 separate sightings which included a total of 13 porpoises 26 Risso's and 55 Common Dolphins for the Fishguard to Rosslare leg.
Porpoise with porplet off Strumble

Commons coming into the bow

As the Harbour View hotel is now closed we went to the Hotel Rosslare to eat which was quite good value and a bit closer to the boat! After a couple of glasses of wine on the boat we hit the sack,some of us sleeping more soundly than others (sorry about the snoring Josh!)

Dolphin seen from Stena Europe in its berth in Rosslare Harbour!

As we finished our wonderful Breakfast in the truckers bar the guys in reception told us there were dolphins off the breakwater, as they said so we saw one out of the window, cruising by! Josh raced off to get our camera's and bins whilst I made my way up to deck 10.We have had Risso's off the breakwater in the past whilst the ship was in Rosslare Harbour and we had one on our way in so at first with a low bright sun silhouetting it I presumed it was a Risso's but bit by bit it dawned on me that the dorsal was too small and it was not behaving like a Risso's, could it be a bottle? 
In the bright light and with its erratic surfacing's I could not easily get a view of its head. but when it rode the bow wave of a small tanker entering the harbour I was pretty convinced

Eventually I managed to get a head shot and Hallelujah! I had  nailed it, a bottlenose for definite!
Both Ian Hotchin and Tony Lucas had told me they had seen bottles outside Rosslare Harbour,back in the nineties but this was the first one we had ever seen on the Irish side of the transect! Sadly there were no noticeable markings that might identify it like Clet but single Bottlenose's are quite  unusual.According To Captain Bob Wheel its been around a few days so hopefully it will stay a while!

Our return trip was also pretty good with a pretty hectic 23 sightings which included 31 porpoises 10 common dolphins and a pod of very active but distant Risso's all in all a great trip/survey although according to Ian and Sylvia Hotchin we missed a couple of bottles which bow rode us into Fishguard Harbour! oh well we never said we were perfect!

Distant Risso's!
So all in all team Sea Trust had a cracking result! Many thanks to Captain Bob Wheel and all his crew for putting up with us, On-board Services for a cracking breakfast and cabins as well as the shore side Stena team that sort out our bookings!