Monday, 30 November 2015

Lifting Out

We have now lifted out Serenity and Sovereign II for the winter. Looks like its back to the painting again. You see it's not all beautiful calm seas, thousands of seabirds and topping up the tan, I do have to put on the scruffy gear and do some proper graft.

Chocks ready for when the boat gets here. 

 Inside Serenity's shelter.

 No it's not Leonardo DiCaprio on the bow on the boat but Mr Priestley giving myself and Toby a hand with the boat.

 Slowly does it.

 Everything going fine

 Half way out

 Sovereign II just about to be chocked up for the winter

 All chocked up and now it's down to the painting

Don't worry, as Serenity II is still in the water so we will be sailing.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Happy Birthday Grace Darling

It's 200 years today that Grace Horsley Darling was born in Bamburgh 'the year of the Battle of Waterloo' as she was often reminded.

I know I talk about her in my commentary nearly every day but it's hard to believe it's 200 years ago. I also feel honored to tell people about this wonderful lady and it's really nice when young children who are on the boat and tell me that they are learning about her at school. It's lovely to know, that this young women will be always remembered for what she did and will go down in history forever.

As I write this blog today, I can't help thinking about her life on the Farnes and what it must have been like. I know what it's like out there today for the Rangers, but back then it must have just been their way of life and when you hear the stories and read about the Darling family you have to take your hat off to them.

I hope the Darling family will be talked about for the next 200 years but today it's all about Grace.

Have a look at this fantastic website if you don't know much about Grace and the Darling family or if you do know a little bit then this site will teach you a lot more

Happy Birthday Grace  

 If you are in the area why not visit the Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh


Friday, 20 November 2015

Seal Season 2015

The seal season is well underway now and at the last count there was 1,227 seal pups around the islands and that's 102 more than this time last year.

On Saturday there was a gap in the weather and he seas were calm enough to get out. With a few guests on board we headed out to the islands to see what was about. I was hoping to see some Little Auks but I was out of luck.
When we arrived at the islands the seals were scattered everywhere and there were loads of seal pups for my guests to see.

We stopped the boat near Longstone Lighthouse to look at some more seals, we saw a seal that stood out like a saw thumb among all the other seals as it was as ginger as can be. This seal is from Donna Nook or Blakeney Point as all of our seals are born on the rocks, were down there they are born on the sand which sometimes colours the seals skin.

After that we steamed across to the Brownsman Island where there were more seals but this time we saw a mother with a new born pup. We must have missed the birth by seconds, but it was such a beautiful sight to see, that it did not matter that we had missed the birth. It was flat calm behind the island and the boat lay perfectly on the water as we watch the mother turn onto her side so that the pup could get some milk. As the pup moved closer to her mother, it slipped close to the water edge and then all of a sudden a bull grabbed the pup and dragged it into the water.
We all shouted "OH NO", please don't let this happen but the pup some how managed to claw itself onto the side and the rocks and pull itself out of the water.
The sigh of relief on my face and the guests was priceless. I have to admit I have never seen such a sight before and god knows why the bull decided to drag the pup into the water and I guess I will.
The pup did get away from the bull and the mother tried to encourage it further up the rocks, away from the bull and the incoming tide.
The relief around the boat was heart warming and as we left, the new born pup was enjoying some of its mother's milk, so finger crossed this little pup will grow up fit and healthy.

The pictures below show the story but the look in the pups eye shows you how scared it was. 


Thursday, 12 November 2015

North East Blogger Awards 2015

This year I was nominated for the North East Blogger Awards for Travel, which was held at Bonbar Newcastle on Tuesday 10th.
As you all know, I'm from a little village so going to the "Toon" as they call it, was a little bit different to the pubs around Seahouses and they must have known I was coming as they got the red carpet out for me. Ha ha.

It was a beautiful venue and my emotions were mixed with excitement and fear rolled into one. I was really excited to be invited but at the same time a bit nervous as I was on my own and did not know anyone.
I was greeted with open arms and given a present for being a finalist, which was lovely. I made my way to the bar to get myself a drink to calm the nerves, but before I got there, I was offered some champagne, which I had to refuse as I was driving. A Red Bull will have to do me and as I  looked around I saw Sam from  I have never met Sam before but I got to know her through twitter and now I read her blogs which are brilliant by the way.  She introduced me to Chloe from and at first she was not sure who I was but the she then said, "Are you the Puffin Man", with a big smile on my face, I automatically said yes. For me that was great, so thank you Sam and Chloe.

I also chatted to Emma from O PR who made me feel comfortable during the evening and by 8.30pm the awards were to be announced.

Just before the winners were announced they showed a short clip of every finalist and when it got to me I was very embarrassed with my short clip. Thank god it was on 30 seconds.

Anyway I never won the travel category but to come in the top 3 in the North East was something to be very proud of and to be honest the bloggers in the north east are producing today are of a high quality stuff which just goes to show what a place we live in.

Thank you for all your support and I will try again next year. 

Yes I can scrub up when I want too. 


Sunday, 8 November 2015

Rare Albino Seal

On Saturday morning I took a gang of divers out to the Farnes and diving with the seals was on top of the agenda.
We dived a place called Big Harcar where Grace Darling did her famous rescue all those years ago. Its not a deep place to dive and the seals were everywhere. The guys got their kit on and off they went. After about 45 minutes they surfaced with smiles on their faces as they had such a good time playing with the seals, that they wanted to do it again.

It had rained since the second we left the harbour but after a hot cuppa the guys were ready to go back in for some more seal action, so we decided to go to another area called the Hopper, which is beside the Longstone Lighthouse and the water was teeming with seals so it was time to get kitted up and back in for a play.

We were just about to drop the first pair in when I noticed a very pale seal. At first I thought I was seeing things, so I gave myself a slap and took another look. Bloody hell its a Albino Seal.

I ran to the wheelhouse to get my camera and once again I had left it at home. What I plonker I am. A lovely lady said that I could use her camera, so without question I grabbed her camera and snapped a couple of pictures. The pictures are not the best, but I was so excited to see such a wonderful mammal it did not really matter.

The divers jumped in and myself and Andy watched the albino seal splash around like she was having the time of her life. Albinos tend to get rejected, and find it a real struggle to survive on their own but this youngster was having none of it and the other seals seemed to embrace her with open paws.
I'm not sure how she will cope later on in life and I know she will struggle with her eyesight but for the moment she is doing fine and it was a pleasure to witness such a wonderful mammal.

A big thank you to Andrew and the gang for joining me in the pouring rain as if was not for you I don't think I would have been in this area to witness such a wonderful sight. 

Monday, 19 October 2015

Sea, Sun and Serenity

Since the beginning of October we have not had it bad at all around the Farnes. Yes there has been a few days when the weather has been dreadful and the seas were rough, but over all not bad at all. Some day's have been a pleasure and we wished we had some of this during the summer, but it was not to be.
There has been a good few Guillemots hanging around and the odd Puffling (baby puffin) too, which is always nice to see.
We have had a few Bottlenose Dolphins, the odd Basking Shark and a Minkie Whale. On the bird front we have had lots of Goldcrest, Fieldfare, Redwing, Redpoll, Little Bunting, Purple Sandpipers, Turnstones, Yellow-browed Warblers, Merlin and Short-eared Owls. This is only some of the birds that have landed on the islands so its not bad at all.

We are still waiting for that mega bird to arrive and you never know what the Farnes will produce.

Here are a few pictures of the flat calm seas, beautiful sunshine and the serenity of the farne islands.












We are now up to 14 pups with many more to come. The harbour is also starting to get the male and female Eider Ducks back after moulting and they are looking stunning too.

Thanks for reading once again.


Wednesday, 14 October 2015


There has been lots of Yellow-browed Warblers on the county over the last few days which is fantastic to see, but for me it has been the Goldcrest which is sometimes over looked.

On Sunday I was out with a gang of diver's and all they wanted was to dive with the seals. After the first dive the south side of the islands was starting to get a bit dodgy, so I decided to look elsewhere to dive.

We steamed across to the Longstone, tied up at the jetty and then all of a sudden loads of seals appeared. How lucky were we and it was ideal for the diver's. They all started to get ready and after they were all in the water I went for a look around the island. I had hardly stepped of the boat when I was surrounded by Goldcrests.

They are tiny birds but delightful to see and they never gave a monkeys about me. They were so close to me at times it was just amazing to see, but once again I had left my camera at home. I was kicking myself and to make things worse as good few other birds on the island too. I went around to the other side of the lighthouse to find 2 female Blackcaps and a single male, a Wheater and lots of Robins and the whole time I was saying to myself "I wished I wished my camera". Kicking myself I headed back to the boat with my lip hitting the ground and then I spotted a Yellow-browed Warbler sitting inside an old lobster pot. It was very mixed emotions as these birds were brilliant but having no camera was very upsetting.

Back on the boat I kept on thinking about it more and more, so I was determined to come back and get some pictures.

I never made it out on Monday but Tuesday I did but only for a few minutes and those few minutes were enough for me to get a picture or two. There was only a few left compared to Sunday but enough to put a smile back on my face.

I even went back today (Wednesday) and Andy and Tony tagged along for the ride. There were only 2 Goldcrests left but enough as one of them could not stay away from us and the area we were at was full of flies too.
It was also a beautiful day and a good excuse to stay out there a bit longer. It was nice to sit back and enjoy the view. We all commented on how lucky we are to live and work in such a beautiful place as the Goldcrest's flew around the island. Happy with what we had seen, we headed back to Seahouses, chatting about these tiny birds.

What a way to finish a great day off at the Farnes.