Monday, 11 June 2018

Stena Europe and the BIG five

I have long suspected that Welsh porpoise and Irish porpoise cross the Irish Sea because while sightings are routine close to the coast on both sides occasionally we get porpoise strung out all the way over. Yesterday was such a day. We had 32 separate sightings of porpoise totalling 76 individual animals. With the porpoise fin ID project progressing so well I am sure in the years to come we will get animals from the Sea Trust data base confirmed in Irish waters. It will need more skilled photographers than me!! What a day!! I think we trumped Cliff's 1000+ common dolphins. Nick Barbara and I started in trepidation of another foggy day but while the visibility was never very good it was good enough. Shortly after leaving the harbour we had porps quickly followed by 4 bottlenose dolphins. The porps kept coming all the way over until near the Tusker Rock we had a glimpse of a large cetacean but could only record a 'probable' Minke whale. The resident Rosslare bottlenose dolphin was nowhere to be seen although it had been present that morning. There were 5 black guillemots in the Harbour which is a good count because we were concerned that numbers were not recovering since the storm a couple of winters ago. We chilled out on the deck at the stern, keeping out of the way as the crew ushered off the passengers and prepared for those bound for Wales. A quick bite to eat in the Metropolitan Bar and Grill and back to the Bridge. The first sighting of the return was 4 Rissos dolphin (3 adult and a juvenile) dead ahead and close. We had to reassure the Captain that they did dive and he had not run them down. Plenty more porps and then we had good but brief views of a Minke whale in roughly the same position as the probable a couple of hours earlier. After more porps Barbara spotted a lone common dolphin and a couple of miles on another. While single common dolphins are unusual we later learned that Cliff had them all down his way!! Lots more porps finished a superb day.
Big thanks to Captain Richard Davis all his crew and shore staff!