2018-05-25 - Portsmouth-Caen

Survey details

Survey route: Portsmouth-Caen

Company: Brittany Ferries

Sea region: English Channel

Survey start date: 2018-05-25

Number of nights: 1

resting birds on a mirrored sea

Survey sightings

Cetacean sightings: N/A

Bird sightings: N/A

Other animals: N/A

After a week of sunshine we drove down to the Portsmouth terminal in the rain and boarded the Mont St Michel, the rain having now stopped. On arrival on the bridge the sea appeared misty and we realised the mist heralded a calm sea state of 2 with a light swell.

Within the next hour the sea state dropped to zero, with no swell, perfect conditions within the 2 kilometer visibility and glare ahead. Unfortunately these wonderful conditions did not last long and the glare disappeared and the mist turned to fog forcing us to abandon the survey before we even reached the Baie de la Seine. We found a forward facing window on deck 8 and enjoyed a snack whilst hoping the fog would lift.

On approach to the harbour at Ouistreham visibility improved briefly and behind a gannet sitting on the sea a harbour porpoise was spotted surfacing, they were out there but the weather was not favourable today.

We disembarked for lunch, hoping for better conditions on the return but the crew knew that the reduced visibility was going to get worse and once again we stayed on deck 8 watching and hoping the conditions would improve.

Disappointed, we realised that we would not be able to survey on the return transect and I went to the bridge about an hour from Portsmouth to collect the equipment and thank the crew. Returning to deck 8 where shortly after, with the Isle of Wight on port side the sun managed to break through and the mirrored sea became visible.

It was an amazing site to see the birds and ships shining pinky blue in the evening sun, on a mirrored surface, but unfortunately too late to enable us to continue the survey.

We had used the time to practice with the logger once retrieved from the bridge so everybody felt much happier and more confident in its use. So many thanks to the team for all their patience and enthusiasm but special thanks to Captain Bertrand Cuvillier and his wonderful crew for allowing us on his bridge and for all their help and thanks to Brittany Ferries for this opportunity.


1 incidental harbour porpoise

Birds seen:- few birds seen, mostly sitting on surface.

Gannet, Lesser Black backed gull, Greater Black backed gull, Herring Gull, Black headed gull, Guillimot, Cormorant, Comic tern, possible common scoter (small skein), mediterranean gull.

Survey team members

Mary Hill, Christine Chapman, Ian Eastleigh, Stuart Gill