Regional Co-ordinator for the Pembrokeshire area, Angharad, has been busy this season working closely with Falcon Boats skipper Ffion Rees going on many boat trips both in shore and offshore. Here is her account of her most successful trip to date!
Finally, a good spring day, the sun is out and the sea is calm (quite a relief given the Celtic Deep can be quite bumpy!) We were about to embark on the 3 hour offshore trip to Grassholm Island and out into the Celtic Deep.
Within minutes (and I mean literally minutes) we were greeted by a small pod of common dolphins who without hesitation, came to bow ride and join us on our trip. Clearly not too shy of the camera, we were able to take some fantastic shots and were joined by both calves and juveniles!
After being thoroughly entertained for around 15 minutes, the dolphins clearly became quite tired of our company and went off on their way. Little did we know they were simply going to join their rather large pod, and within minutes again we were surrounded by approximately 40/50 individuals!
Ffion shut off the engine of the boat and we all sat there, blown away by the confidence and interest the dolphins were showing us.
We finally decided to head off on the search for larger sea creatures and we were lucky enough to spot a lone Minke feeding in the distance! Such a spectacular sight which was virtually impossible to miss given the calm sea and its size.
Soon we were surrounded by gannets as we approached Grassholm and we were surrounded by seals and birds. Whilst attempting to avoid being poo’d on, we sat and watched the gannets on the island which is bright white, as they clearly don’t have the luxury of a separate toilet area!!
As we made our way back to dry land we were taken to the barrel reef and the smalls and we were given a great guide on the history of the area.
All of us at Sea Watch are extremely grateful for the help of Ffion and all the staff at Falcon Boats. So far this year we have gained invaluable data from their trips. Both we and the cetaceans are lucky to have Falcon Boats on board!
Given the success of recent trips with Falcon Boats, they have teamed up with us to run bespoke photography trips, a specialist trip with our Monitoring Officer, Katrin Lohrengel and more recently our 2016 Research Assistant, Sonia Doblado. Spending time with cetaceans is usually restricted by well-placed marine codes of conduct, but our certified officers can spend more time with them in order to photograph them for the purposes of scientific research.
If you would like more information on booking a boat trip with Falcon Boats, visit their website at http://www.falconboats.co.uk/ or telephone them on 07494 141764 and who knows what you will see!
Written by Angharad Carrington-Edmunds, SWF Regional Coordinator for Pembrokeshire. All photographs credited to Angharad Carrington-Edmunds.