Wednesday, 30 November 2016

What a big splash

Mr Rosser doing the business  on the Stena Europe! Gotcha! (CB)

Chantelle, Michael and I set off on a Stena survey yesterday in excellent conditions. Sightings came thick and fast from the beginning with 6 separate sightings of porpoise, a total of 16 animals, before we cleared Strumble. This was followed by a distant sighting of 5 common dolphin. The conditions were so good that any white water meant cetaceans but that lead to the frustrating bit. We had very distant splashes which seemed to be something good but was just too far away. Shortly after that Chantelle shouted that she had seen something so I looked across in that direction. I had the biggest splash that I have ever seen from Stena Europe in over ten years of surveys. It was reminiscent of the humpbacks that I had in the Pacific. Whatever it was we will never know because it did not show again. We had another 6 common dolphins before bad light stopped play at 16.44.

Chantelle and Michael got off at midnight so I did the return alone. I was all keyed up hoping for the leviathan that had eluded us yesterday but it was not to be. There was a long line of bout 25 common dolphin feeing off the Tusker followed by 6 shortly after. Mid-channel I had 3 Rissos logging on the surface but they dived just after I saw them and did not reappear. The approach to Strumble was full of porpoise....7 sightings totaling 22 individuals. As we got abreast of Strumble a pod of Rissos appeared, 7 adults with  3 calves. As I was taking photos I was praying that Ken was on Strumble because with his gear he would have got some stunning photos. As things turned out Ken had done his Strumble shift and gone while Cliff went to Strumble to see us in and was just too late for the Rissos.
A really good winter survey