Survey Reports

2019-06-05 - Penzance-St Marys

Survey details

Survey route: Penzance-St Marys

Company: Isles of Scilly Travel

Sea region: Celtic Seas

Survey start date: 2019-06-05

Number of nights: Day sailing

Weather conditions: Mainly sunny with some cloud and a cool breeze, sea state 3 to 4, swell 1-2m


When the team boarded the Scillonian III the weather forecast was good the sun was shining. After a chat to get to know each other we had a short recap on survey protocols and proceeded to the bridge. The Captain and first officer were pleased to tell us that within the last week they a had seen a Minke whale on two separate days and risso’s dolphins, so expectations were high.


The journey out towards Land’s End was very quiet with very little bird activity and no sightings apart from a few barrel jellyfish. As we moved away from the coast large dark shower clouds covered the sun and, with a 12 knot headwind, a sea state 4, lots of small white horses and the temperature plummeting it did not feel like June. Still no sightings.


Approaching St Mary’s, the sun came out and by the time we disembarked summer had returned.    


After lunch on St Mary’s we walked around the Garrison taking in views of all the islands, The Isles of Scilly certainly looked their best. The only down side was when one of our surveyors had the last two bites of their pasty stolen by a Herring Gull in a lightning attack, future surveyors be warned.


On the return journey the weather was glorious. With the tail wind nullified by the boat’s speed and continuous sunshine it became a rare “shirt sleeves” surveying day. The first sighting of the survey was of common dolphins seen at some distance feeding beneath a small group of gannets.These were the first feeding gannets we had seen all survey. As we got nearer the dolphins passed reasonably close enabling good views for the surveyor, recorder and the crew. There were no more cetacean sightings, the final sighting of the day was a grey seal seen close to Mousehole as we approached Penzance.


The only bird sightings of note were of over 1000 manx shearwaters seen passing very close to the ship throughout the journey and one unseasonal summer plumage Great Northern diver.


Many thanks to Captain Peter and his crew for their assistance and for making us extremely welcome.


Total Sightings:


8x Common dolphins


1x Grey Seal.


Bird Species Seen:  Great Northern diver, gannet, manx shearwater, fulmar, cormorant, shag, herring gull, Great Black-backed gull, kittiwake, guillemot and razorbill.

Survey team members

Dave Williams, Georgia Bardua, Sue Bryant