The Marine Mammal Surveyors met at Portsmouth Ferry Terminal early in the morning of Friday 24th May, enthusiastic to commence the return day-survey from Portsmouth to Caen. For two surveyors, it was their first ever survey, which was especially exciting! We boarded the Mont St Michel and spent some time discussing survey protocol and techniques and getting to grips with Logger.
Shortly after departing from Portsmouth we were invited up to the bridge to begin our first transect survey of the day. The weather was great for surveying, with blue skies and calm seas, although the sea did become slightly choppier as we approached Caen. There were no marine mammal sightings during this transect, however several bird species were spotted, including gannets, fulmars, shearwaters, cormorants, greater black backed gulls and herring gulls. On the approach into Caen we saw a raft of approximately 20 herring gulls sitting on a large patch of seaweed, which was an interesting sight. Diving gannets are also always a wonderful spectacle!
We had a very quick turn-around in Caen, and before we knew it, we were back up on the bridge to commence our second transect, back to Portsmouth. This transect was very similar to the previous one however, there were no marine mammal sightings. Despite the quietness of the day, all team members were able to gain valuable experience of using Logger and by the end of the survey everyone appeared comfortable with all the protocols and equipment. As we approached Portsmouth the sea became flat calm and the sun was setting, which made for an incredibly picturesque conclusion to our day.
All surveyors remained enthusiastic and positive throughout the day and the team worked very well together – thank you very much team for all your hard-work and for a great day!
Thank you very much to the Captain and crew of the Mont St Michel for your hospitality and interest in our work, and to Brittany Ferries for making this survey possible – it is greatly appreciated.
Unfortunately, no cetaceans were seen during this trip, but the variable sea and weather conditions resulted in valuable opportunities to become confident and experienced with using Logger, and for the newer surveyors to learn and practice the data collection techniques. All surveyors remain eager to continue surveying in the future!
Becci Owen, Sue Flanagan, Mark Witton-Maclean and Georgia Witton-Maclean