Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Serenity 1 being launched

As well as doing tour during the winter we also have to get the boats ready for the new season. After a lot of maintenance we have finally got the one of the boats ready to go back into the water.

At 9am on Sunday morning we lifted the boat with the hoist and headed towards the slipway. As she entered the water we turned the key and bang the engine started stright away. Not bad after 5 months out of the water.  

Last Winter Tour

  Firstly i would like to say thank you to everyone that joined me on our last winter trip, and sorry about the delay in getting my blog updated.

  We picked up at 10.30am on Saturday morning headed out of the harbour with woolly hats and thick coats. After an amazing week with flat calm sea's and beautiful sunshine we were hoping for the same but no.
  It was cold and there was a heavy swell in the water, but this did not dampen our spirits are we arrived at Stag Rock, were we encountered 80+ Common Scoter's and 50 Eider Ducks. Just a little bit later we saw 3 Long-tailed Ducks and 1 Red necked Grebe. It was a lovely sight to see all the Common Scoter's fly past the bow of the boat and then settle on the water just ahead us. Just a little bit past Stag Rock we saw another Red-necked Grebe and about 8 Long-tailed Ducks.
  As we slowly cruised along the shoreline we encountered 2 Red breasted Merganser's and 1 Red-throated Diver.

As we entered Holy Island we headed towards the sand banks where all the seals were basking. Their must have been about 300 seals just chilling out. As we were in shelter of Holy Island the sea's went calm so it was the perfect time to grab a bit to eat and drink.

We headed past Black Law Rock and saw 2 Red-breasted Merganser's, (male and female) and 2 Goldeneye's. We said goodbye to Holy Island until our next 4 hour Winter Tour in Sept we decided to head stright to The Farne Islands for more shelter.

On arriving at the islands we saw about 40 seals chilling on the pebble beach at South Whames. Just around the corner on the west face of Staple Island were thousands of Guillemots flying around and around the boat. I see this every year and it still to this day puts a smile on my face. Just amazing.

We headed towards the Inner Farne to see more Guillemots, Razorbills, Shags and Kittiwakes, i got a text to say that a few Shags were already sitting on some eggs. A bit early but i suppose they have been showing signs over the past few weeks.

We could not finish the tour without seeing those beautiful Puffins and they did not let us down. In the shallow waters beside Knocks Reef were about a thousand Puffins just resting.

After our Puffin fix we steamed towards Seahouses.

Once again a big thank you to all of the people who have joined us over the winter on our tours and I'm already looking forward to September when we start again. Not that I'm wishing away the spring and summer i just really enjoyed the company and the trips.


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Getting busy now.

What a beautiful week its been so far. With flat calm sea's, beautiful sunshine and thousands of birds.
Since Saturday the Puffin numbers have risen day by day, Guillemots are in the thousands, Razorbills are starting to pair off and the kittiwakes are back on the cliff faces.

On Saturday we headed out to Holy Island with a gang of kids and teachers for our 4 hour Winter trip. Maybe we should say Spring trip now. Never mind it was still a great trip.
We travelled along the coast passing Bamburgh Castle viewing lots of Common Scouter's, Puffins, Shags, Cuddie Ducks, (Eider Ducks) and Long-tailed Ducks.

As we arrived at Holy Island i could hardly keep the boat in one place as the tides were so strong. I know its lovely to see the moon in its full glory but when you get a moon as big as its has been for years you get the monster tides. I cant remember the tide being so big and so strong. We went up to St Curthberts Island for a look at the seals and a few waders. We turned around and headed towards Black Law Rock. 
As we approached the north side of the rock we were greeted by a 200+ Oystercatchers, 30 Dunlocks and 16 Turnstones.
 As Black Law Rock is mostly sand with rock on the top and pebbles around the side i was able to get the boat close so we could get a good view of the birds.

As we steamed slowly along Ross Sands we noticed a lot of Red necked grebes, some Red breasted Merganser's and about 100+ Pink footed  Geese. At first we saw what we thought was a big tree floating in the water but as we got closer we saw Pink footed Geese. I have never seen Geese just sitting on the sea before but it was nice to see.

On the way over to The Farnes we passed a few Puffins and Gannets.

When we arrived we saw lots of Guillemots and Shags.

Over the next few days the Puffins numbers rose and more Guillemots arrived. I know the weather will not last but I'm really enjoying it at the moment so I'm going to make the most of it.

On Monday the MCA came to inspect all the passenger boats for there out of water inspection, so its just the finishing touches to do to the boats now and we will be ready to get going for the season.
We have a few spaces left for our last 4 hour winter trip this Saturday so please give me a call.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Puffin Watch

Since Saturday we have had a mixture of weather, wind and sightings.

On Saturday my brother and i headed out for a trip around the islands, and we encountered our first Puffin of the year resting on the water beside The Wideopens. As we all know they are lots of Puffins around the islands during the season but it is still nice to see the first one. 

Just around the corner we stummbled upon Widgeon's, Golden-eye's, Kittiwakes, Razorbills and Long-tailed Ducks. We also noticed quite a few Gannets flying through Staple Sound hunting for food. They are just a great bird to see.

As we were steaming around the islands chatting to all of the customers we noticed the time. We were to busy enjoying the weather and the wildlife that we did not realize how time had flown by.
Now this is not a bad thing but as we were supposed to be at a wedding at 1.30pm and it was now 12.30pm we decided to head home. We could be a little late but as i was best man and my brother was usher this was not a good idea.
After alot of rushing around trying not to forget the wedding rings we both made it on time.
The day went great and my speech went down a treat so it was a good ending.

Over the next few days with the sun shinning but there was not a fantastic amount to see. The West Wind got stronger and stronger, and its pushed alot of the Razorbills, Gulliemots, and the single Puffin back out to sea.

Lots of the Shags have now built their nests, a good few Kittiwakes are now nesting on the rock sledges and the Seals are loseing their coats and are now fending for themselves.
I suppose their will be alot of comings and goings over the next month but it look as though spring is here.

     My loyal dog Bud enjoying the sun on the deck of the boat.