Poole–Cherbourg

2019-08-16 - Poole–Cherbourg

Survey details

Survey route: Poole–Cherbourg

Company: Brittany Ferries

Sea region: English Channel

Survey start date: 2019-08-16

Number of nights: Day sailing


POOLE CHERBOURG 16.08.2019


Many thanks to Jasmine for joining us at such short notice due to another surveyor being ill, your support at such short notice is very much appreciated.


The Captain and crew welcomed us onto the Bridge of the Barfleur at Poole Port and we were able to observe the navigation whilst sitting quietly in the red zone. We were soon on effort after passing Old Harry’s Rocks and the Studland Peninsula. We saw terns? Arctic/common, cormorants, oyster catchers and lesser black backed gulls on the way out of the harbour.


The weather was overcast with a Sea State 4 for most of the voyage and a moderate swell. We were expecting strong winds with precipitation.


Other birds that we encountered were greater black backed gulls, herring gulls, gannets both adult and juvenile, guillemots, kittiwake, cory’s shearwater, manx shearwater and a very weary looking wheatear approached the Bridge looking for some respite during the stronger winds en route to Poole. A surveyor also thought they spotted a Balearic shearwater.


We were able to stay on board during our lunch break at Cherbourg, which we were all ready for relaxing in the café.


Half way through the return journey we sailed into a fog bank, shortly before this our only mammal sighting was of grey seal fairly close to the ferry. 


The Sea State felt as though it increased on the return leg of the voyage but the pressure of the fog and hard rain seemed to prevent the occurrence of white caps and crests so that although we had the maximum recorded as 4 it was more likely to have been a 5 or 6 due to the strong winds and currents.


 The team members did a great job in what were becoming increasingly difficult conditions and we would like to thank the Captain and crew members for being so accommodating and including the ORCA survey team on the Bridge of the Barfleur.


Survey team members

Cait Cochrane, Liz Pedley, Liz McDonnell, Jasmine Rennards

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2019-09-20 - Poole–Cherbourg

Survey details

Survey route: Poole–Cherbourg

Company: Brittany Ferries

Sea region: English Channel

Survey start date: 2019-09-20

Number of nights: Day sailing

^ Sunset over Brownsea Island

Outbound:


The team arrived to Poole ferry port in positive spirits, since the sun was already shining and it looked to be a pleasant day ahead. After boarding the Barfleur the team were able to gain access to the bridge around 45 minutes after departure.  


After setting off into the English Channel, the waves and wind largely picked up to a sea state 5, making spotting wildlife tricky. Gannets were the first signs of life, often flying alongside the bridge wings. Despite good visibility, within the first 30 minutes of surveying, the swell picked up to moderate height (1-2m), and white streaks soon littered the sea surface with longer waves producing more frequent spray, building to a sea state 6. Despite no cetaceans being seen on the first leg of the trip, a great skua and a couple of brief terns were spotted on route.


On approach into port the team retired from the bridge to allow for the tug to assist the docking of the Barfleur and ventured out onto the outside decks to enjoy a final burst of summer weather. Looking down the side as the ship manoeuvred into position, some birds were encountered taking advantage of the disturbance, thrusting up silt and prey. Among them were black headed gulls (winter plumage), greater black backed gulls and herring gulls.


The occasional land bird flew over us too including some starlings, a goldfinch and a swallow. Most surprising of all however, was the lightning blue flash of a kingfisher which appeared (we think) from the car decks and circled over the water across the harbour and back onto the car decks below! Not a species the team were expecting to see and definitely the highlight of the trip!


Whilst we were gazing down in hopes of catching a glimpse of the kingfisher again, blue tinted barrel jellyfish were frequently rising and sinking to the surface, again, swirled upwards by the ships’ thrusters.


Return:


After having lunch on board, the team were able to survey almost instantly after leaving Cherbourg’s dockside. We had good views of cormorants and gulls on the zig-zag out of the harbour walls. Unfortunately, the conditions had not improved and were faced once again with a sea state 6 and later on a heavy (2-3 metre) swell. Occasional guillemots were seen resting on the water or flying low across the water in a line, flapping fast through the wind, all in their winter plumage.


Despite the team’s best efforts, the conditions did not allow us to spot any marine mammals on this occasion, but thoroughly enjoyed the trip.


Perhaps due to the turbulent conditions across the Channel, a number of flotsam and jetsam debris were sighted, which is included in the list below. Oystercatchers were seen foraging on the beach as we neared Poole harbour and were treated to a beautiful sunset after leaving the bridge to absorb the views as we sailed past Brownsea island.


We would like to thank Brittany Ferries, the Captain and his crew for welcoming us on board the Barfleur. Thank you to the team for their hard work, vigilance and support, I hope we sail again soon.


Birds Seen:
Gannet, herring gull, great black backed gull, black headed gull, great skua, cormorant, tern species, guillemot, oystercatcher, kingfisher, swallow, starling, goldfinch, pigeon and unidentified passerine


Other animals:
Barrel jellyfish
 
Debris:
Red football, balloon, plastic bags x 2, parcel, silver drinks can, green tray, wooden palette and golf ball

Survey team members

Ruth Coxon, Eleanor Butler, Shelley Abbott, Rachel McCormick

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2019-04-19 - Poole–Cherbourg

Survey details

Survey route: Poole–Cherbourg

Company: Brittany Ferries

Sea region: English Channel

Survey start date: 2019-04-19

Number of nights: Day sailing

On Good Friday the survey team handed in their passports at reception, putting their passes on ready to join the Bridge crew once the Barfleur had left Poole Bay, so we were well past the area around Old Harry Rocks. Where we were informed by the locals about recent sightings of dolphins.


The crew welcomed us on board and presented us with their special ORCA sightings log. The weather conditions were ideal with a sea state of a gentle 3 during most of the voyage with some glare.


We saw some migratory birds along the way, a flurry of swallows, some sand and house martins, a few razorbill and guillemots. A possible Goldfinch and some LBJ’s which may have been Pipits were also seen.


While we had crossed through the shipping lane, cruising closer to the French side, Richard one of the ORCA surveyors, spotted the fin and side of a possible Minke whale which, surfaced typically disappearing within the blink of an eye, observed as an incidental sighting. During the return journey, another incidental sighting of a possible bottlenose dolphin was spotted, again this was on the French side of the shipping lane. Not long after, Ali another one of our surveyors, spotted another possible bottlenose dolphin.This was all very quick spotting due to the movements of these marine mammals.


As we returned we had a beautiful view of the Studland Needles behind the ship as the sun was setting, we passed Old Harry’s Rocks on the Studland Peninsula.


I offer my huge gratitude to the amazing survey team and would also like to extend our thanks on behalf of ORCA to Captain Daniel Roignant and his crew on the outward voyage and to Captain Chauvigne and crew on the return crossing, for the privilege of accommodating our survey team on the Barfleur.


Marine Mammal Seen:


Minke whale (Possible)


Bottlenose dolphins (Possible)


Other birds Seen:


gannet, cormorant, shag, sandwich tern, bonxie, black-backed gull and possible sightings of either a skua or pomarine.

Survey team members

Krystie Hamilton, Alison Couch, Richard Allcorn

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