Thursday, 12 July 2018

Gower Minke

On Wednesday morning 9 of us joined the Oystercat in Swansea Marina in time to lock out at 7.00am. Skipper John was assisted by 3 crew and they kept the tea/coffee sausages and pastries coming all day. We were soon rounding Mumbles Head and set a course west. We reached Worms Head and turned to port to do the first leg of our survey. We were soon in amongst the common dolphins, this pod being quit subdued bow riding and swimming alongside but with little or no breaching. They had juveniles with them. There was a strong tidal race being a spring tide and it was so strong that some of the marker buoys for fishing gear were under the surface but causing white water and a wake. STOP came a shout. A SIGHTING?? No it was an orange buoy behaving like a dolphin. There were wisecracks about bright orange cetaceans for the rest of the trip. Up until this point bird life had been almost non-existent but now the manx shearwaters were becoming more numerous together with male guillemots accompanied by their offspring, jumplings. Then came the shout Minke! We stopped and loitered for over 30 minutes but it did not show again. We then had numerous pods of common dolphins the largest was bursting with testosterone. Breaching, high jumping, swimming on their backs etc etc. Unfortunately the auto focus on my camera no longer works so I missed a really top photographic opportunity. The attached was taken by Len.
We headed back for the 4.30 lock and spotted 3 porpoise inshore. All in all a brilliant day thanks to Mumbles Motor Boat and Fishing Club and John Elvins and crew who sacrificed a days fishing to take us out.