August 6th

August 7th, 2017

With today being the final and last day of this year’s National Whale and Dolphin Watch Week, run and organised by the fabulous Sea Watch Foundation, our wonderful and supportive clients very kindly said, please can we extend today’s dedicated 4 hour wildlife cruise to a full 5 hours, giving us the full extra hour… A much improved weather forecast today also meant we could cover maximum area, and with that, hopefully some exciting Cetacean encounters!! FIRST UP were those shy and endearing little Harbour Porpoise, which as soon as we entered the Manacles Reef MCZ, quite literally started popping up, here, there and everywhere!!! Ahhhh, as we just adore these dear tiny little Cetaceans, bringing us all some fabulous, close-up and very exciting views!

Leaving the Manacles Reef MCZ behind, and heading further South to the most Southerly Point of the British Isle, the Lizard Point, my eyes quickly picked up a “work up”, consisting this time, of some + – 14 Harbour Porpoise, feeding with Shearwaters, both Balearic and Manx, along with Storm Petrels and Gannets overhead, once again to everyone’s excitement! Now if I am allowed to say, all those who know me well, know very little if anything gets past my continually searching, Eagle-like eyes! Knowing full well, the clock was ticking and once again, this year’s Annual National Whale and Dolphin Watch would be coming to an end, it was time to really try and pull something exciting out of the bag…

Leaving the inshore zone to start our return journey in a big offshore loop back to Falmouth, away, away, away on the very distant horizon, would you believe it, I managed to locate another vast Avian work up! However, it was a long, long, long way off, some six miles to be precise…the problem of “work ups” even though this was a vast and active one, is would it still be active by the time we got out there? If I decided to throttle Free Spirit up, to cover those miles, decisions, decisions…as the question is, how long had it already been active? With dear old “Dell Boys” famous words ringing in my head, “He who dares Rodney, he who dares!” It was a quick heads up over the PA to everyone below, so they knew what I had seen and I was throttling Free Spirit up, several times during the long run out, I prudently slowed Free Spirit down, so I could search again, to make sure the work up was still active, which happily it was both times…and then after one more run offshore, finally becoming visible to the naked eye, but still a long way off…

I always like to approach these huge Avian work ups up-sea and very slowly, slowing right down, a long way off, so you can really scan and search through the masses of birds first, giving plenty of time for any Cetaceans to then also reveal themselves. Just the masses of birds was a phenomenal sight in its own right, with many STORM PETRELS flitting around under the clouds of Manx Shearwaters, and incredibly NINE SOOTY SHEARWATERS in the mix!! Along with some hundred Gannets all wheeling around overhead and then folding their wings, as they plunge dived, squawking as they entered the water in wave after head-long pouring wave! Now if this wasn’t all exciting enough, the piece de resistance was about to unfold and the reason why all these birds were here feeding in the first place was revealed…when right before our very eyes, multiple pods of Common Dolphins came bursting to the surface, driving shoals of tiny bait fish before them, certainly one of natures natural magical moments and truly always a very privileged sight!! As not only is this a visual feast for your eyes, it’s also an audible and visual feast for all your senses, causing nothing but untold excitement and happiness to all whoever witness one of these true spectacles of nature, and happily for all of those on board with me, on Free Spirit today!!! Making it a lovely and fitting end to this year’s fun-filled and exciting, Sea Watch Foundation National Whale and Dolphin Watch Week!!!

+ – 55 Common Dolphins, two pods with juveniles feeding, 20 Harbour Porpoise from four interactions, pod sizes: 1, 2, 3 and the bigger group of 14 feeding, Lots of Manx Shearwaters offshore continually passing through, 9 SOOTY SHEARWATERS, 7 BALEARIC SHEARWATERS, 9 STORM PETRELS, Lots of Gannets offshore continually passing through, 13 Mediterranean Gulls, 7 Kittiwakes, 5 Atlantic Grey Seals, Compass Jellyfish.

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