Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sea Trust Pelagic:Pembrokeshire Islands:Sun 6.June 2010

Following the disappointment of the cancellation due to poor weather of our first trip of the year back at the end of April I waited anxiously on Saturday for the e-mail from Richard Crossen to find out whether or not our re-arranged trip for Sunday was on,thankfully the news was positive-yipee all systems go !!
We met up with friends Neil and Gail at 07.00 at the Harvester just off the M4 at Llandarcy and following a relaxing drive on quiet roads were soon tucking into a bacon "butty" at the cafe at Neyland Marina.
Richard,Cliff and our fellow passengers soon joined us and after boarding the Cartlett Lady we headed down the haven out into open sea.
We soon reached Skokholm and then pulled in close to Skomer to take in the spectacle of the huge numbers of breeding auks,the sea and the air was filled with the calls of Puffins,Razorbills and Guillemots as well as plenty of Fulmars and Kittiwakes with the ever ready larger gulls ready to plunder the smaller birds for a free meal.
I soon found that photographing auks from a rocking boat with the speed with which they fly is no easy task but was reasonably pleased with a couple of shots.

The cameras clicked away and it was soon time to push on and with the sea a little choppy for the first time on this type of trip I have to admit that I did feel just a tad "icky".

As we neared Grassholm the breeding Gannets started to fly past thick and fast and before too long we could see the white topped island with it's familiar white "cloud" of Gannets above,they were everywhere.

We pushed on in search of cetaceans and after about 3 hours into our journey and as we approached The Smalls the cry went up "Common Dolphins coming in ",we were soon into a large pod and the cameras buzzed into overdrive,they came in so close to the boat that using the "Bigma" was a complete waste of time and I soon changed over to my smaller zoom lens.

This was my first serious attempt at photographing dolphins and it is certainly not the easiest thing I have ever tried !!

To try and anticipate when one is likely to jump clear of the water is a nightmare,I literally ended up just pointing the camera in a general direction and firing off bursts !!

We moved on and soon encountered another pod and the total count was around 150 but there were certainly far more further out from the boat with probably several hundred in the vicinity.

We pushed on and the sea had flattened considerably so I felt a lot better and soon tucked into the superb picnic that Teresa had prepared,there had been a few Manxies around as we had encountered the dolphins but in all the excitement I missed a rare photo opportunity.

Our turnaround point was soon reached and we headed back to Neyland hoping to run into another pod of "Commons",sadly they did not find us on our return leg and as we motored home a selection of the larger gulls tagged along for company.

The forecast had been a little mixed and we had been prepared for some rain but on this occasion luck was with us and the last few hours of the trip were enjoyed in glorious sunshine. Our friends Neil and Gail certainly enjoyed their first "outing" and a fantastic day was enjoyed by one and all,huge thanks to Cliff and Richard for organizing the trip and further thanks to Richard for all his helpful tips on digital SLR photography,fingers crossed I can develop in time to take the same fantastic images that he does.

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