In comparison to the Isles of Scilly survey I had been on earlier in the year where I had been worried about bad weather, this survey was the opposite with the run-up to the survey having glorious sunshine and clear skies. This was exactly the weather we had when we arrived in Penzance and boarded the Scillonian III.
Starting our survey we had almost perfect surveying weather. Sea state 2, no glare and clear skies. Sailing past Newlyn there were many fishing boats and plenty of feeding gannets, herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls, no dolphins to be seen at this point though. Our first sighting came midway between Penzance and St Mary's, a singler common dolphin headed towards the ship. Despite the glorious weather, this was our only sighting of cetaceans on the outward journey to St Mary's.
After enjoying the sunshine for a few hours on the islands we departed sailing around the top of St Mary's. The captain offered to sail close to the rocks of the Eastern Isles, these are rocky outcrops to the south of the island of St Martin. Sailing close to the rocky outcrops we saw bobbing in the waves a group of 8 grey seals.
Continuing our sail towards Penzance we spotted a significant number of feeding gannets, diving into the water at high speed catching fish. Keeping our eyes focussed on the feeding frenzy we spotted the pod of common dolphins taking part. This pod was quickly followed by a smaller pod travelling very fast in the direction of the feeding frenzy so not to miss out on the glut of food apparently available.
Our final sighting of the survey was another feeding frenzy of gannets, gulls and 21 common dolphins as we rounded past Lamorna Cove. A fantastic end to a wonderfully sunny survey.
Thank you to my team for their hard work.
Many thanks to Captain Dave Redman and his crew for their assistance and for making us extremely welcome on this survey.
Common dolphins x 40
Grey seals x 8
Guillemots, cormorants, herring gulls, gannets, fulmars and lesser black-backed gulls.
Kerry Heseltine, Trystan Davey, Chris Brown