Thursday, 20 September 2012

Shattered Wheater

As I was sitting outside the harbour the other morning a Wheater landed on the railings of the boat absolutely shattered. You could see it's chest pumping up and down with exhaustion, but what I could not understand was that the shoreline was 50 yards away where it could rest, drink and eat but instead it landed on the boat.

Oh well I was pleased as this was the closest I have been to one and it was the perfect opportunity to get a picture.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Basking Shark

On the 17th Sept at 2.09pm we stumbled across a Basking Shark just south of the Longstone Lighthouse.

"Sean", one of the lads who work for me, was looking at a lobster pot buoy to see if we were clear of the rope that was on the surface when he noticed 2 fins on the water. After a quick oh Sh** it's a Baaaaaaasking Shark, we dashed out to the bow of the boat to see it when I remembered I had left my camera at home. More oh Sh** was the word I used a bit. Well more than a bit to be honest, so all I had was my phone. Sorry the picture is not the best but you get the idea.

Now from what I gather it's the first since 2007 but it's the first for me and that's why I was like a kid in a sweet shop. As we followed the shark, which we think was about 9 to 10 foot long, we lost it in the choppy waters which was a crying shame.

Anyway here is the poor picture.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Fish Supper

 Years ago my dad was a fisherman and when my brother and myself used to work for him we saw loads of these types of fish and by crumbs they don't half have some big spikes on their spine and on the gills. We often got one stuck in your hand and you had to make sure you got it out straight away, because if you didn't your hand would swell up like a balloon.

Red Gurnard was the name but they were called a few other names from time to time I can tell you.

Never mind here is a few pictures of the Shag just about to eat a small Gurnard the other day. Pictures taken just outside the harbour entrance.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Mighty Gannet

I could not help myself today and I decided to go out again to see all the birds.

With a handful of guests and a friend to join me we went out in search of the rare bird or a Minkie Whale.

On the way out we could see thousands of Gannets in the sky so it was not hard to guess where we were going. With calm sea's and blue skies it was not hard to enjoy every moment of this trip.

The Gannets stole the show today and their was not as many Sooty Shearwaters today as there were yesterday and all I can put that down to is the wind. Never mind we still got Bonxie's, Artic Skua's, Fulmers, Gulliemots and lots of Seals.

I think the pictures will tell the rest of the story. 

Amazing Sight

Today we went out a little to see if we could find some Minkie Whales but we were greeted by over 4000 Gannets and over 50 Sooty Shearwaters. We also saw a few Guillemots, Fulmers, Razorbills and lots of seals.

The wind picked up alot as the day went on and the seas started to pick up to but myself, the crew and our guests did not mind one little bit a we watched in amazment at the thousands of Gannets diving into the sea.

We spotted a Sooty and got a few pictures to an as we slowly followed the birds north we spotted a group of 37 Sooty's resting on the water. As we manovered the boat closer more and more flew in from the south but as we got the count to 50 they all lifted and we lost count.

I was chuffed with one never mind 50+. They are a class bird and very very quick but the seas were getting a bit rough and it was starting to become a little hard to look for other birds. Never mind it was amazing to see.

We have the same trip going on Saturday at 10.30am so why not join me in the hunt for Minkie's and Seabirds. A sight not to be missed.

To book please just phone me on 07984668093

Saturday, 8 September 2012

I've got an eye on you

As we passed Staple Island the other day we noticed a lone seal basking on the rocks. At first we did not take any notice as seals enjoy a bit of sunshine, but then someone asked if we get Grey or Common Seals at the Farne Islands. Mostly we get Grey Seals but only a few Common Seals, and as one of the lads glanced at the seal he noticed it was a Common Seal.

Well would you credit it, a Common Seal. It's been a while since we have seen one and to be honest we don't really pay to much attention to them as we see them day in and day out, but to see a Common was a really nice surprise.

The Sooty Show

On Friday the 7th September I got a text to say that their had been a few sightings of Minkie Whales further out from Seahouses.

After getting no guests to join me on the first trip we put our time back to 11.30am to see if we could get a few people to view the Islands.

We ended up with 9 people so we headed out. Just outside the harbour I got another text to say that had seen a Minkie Whale so I asked our guests if they would like to go and see it. Yes was the answer so of we went.

As we were heading out we noticed a work up of Gannets so we popped over for a look. No Whales but it was great to see the Gannets diving in for food.

We looked around to see if anything was happening and we saw over 2000 Gannets circling the sky and before the lads said anything to me I was steaming towards them.

We passed lots of Guillemots, Gulls, Kittiwakes, A few Puffins and Gannets everywhere. The Gannet count must have been up to 4000 as the sea and sky was littered in them. If we did not see any Whales then Gannets would have done the job.

All the birds were feeding on Herring as we seen a Great Black-backed Gull mug a Gannet and steel the fish.

A little further down we spotted a Sooty Shearwater but it did not hang around. We were getting a little to far away and as it was supposed to be an 1.5 hour trip we decided to head back towards the Islands.

All the way back to about half a mile from the Longstone we past Gannet after Gannet after Gannet. Then another Sooty Shearwater and another and another. We have 9 in total and they were all showing well.

Yes you guessed it I did manage to get a few shots and the 1.5 hour trip ended up being a 2.5 hours. Value for money I would say, but no sign of any whales. Oh well you can't have it all.

Friday, 7 September 2012


As the night was beginning to close on one rough September day
In the year of 1838, a steamer passed through the Fairway
Between the Farne Islands and the coast, on her passage northwards;
But the wind was against her, and the steamer laboured hard.

There she laboured in the heavy sea against both wind and tide,
Whilst a dense fog enveloped her on every side;
And the mighty billows made her timbers creak,
Until at last, unfortunately, she sprung a leak.

Then all hands rushed to the pumps, and wrought with might and main.
But the water, alas! alarmingly on them did gain;
And the thick sleet was driving across the raging sea,
While the wind it burst upon them in all its fury.

And the fearful gale and the murky aspect of the sky
Caused the passengers on board to Lament and sigh
As the sleet drove thick, furious, and fast,
And as the waves surged mountains high, they stood aghast.

And the screaming of the sea-birds foretold a gathering storm,
And the passengers, poor souls, looked pale and forlorn,
And on every countenance was depicted woe
As the “Forfarshire” steamer was pitched to and fro.
And the engine-fires with the water were washed out,
Then, as the tide set strongly in, it wheeled the vessel about
And the ill-fated vessel drifted helplessly along;
But the fog cleared up a little as the night wore on.

Then the terror-stricken crew saw the breakers ahead,
And all thought of being saved from them fled,
And the Farne lights were shining hazily through the gloom,
While in the fore-cabin a woman lay with two children in a swoon.

Before the morning broke, the “Forfarshire” struck upon a rock,
And was dashed to pieces by a tempestuous shock,
Which raised her for a moment, and dashed her down again,
Then the ill-starred vessel was swallowed up in the briny main

Before the vessel broke up, some nine or ten of the crew intent
To save their lives, or perish in the attempt,
Lowered one of the boats while exhausted and forlorn,
And, poor souls, were soon lost sight of in the storm.

Around the windlass on the forecastle some dozen poor wretches clung,
And with despair and grief their weakly hearts were rung
As the merciless sea broke o’er them every moment;
But God in His mercy to them Grace Darling sent.

By the first streak of dawn she early up had been,
And happened to look out upon the stormy scene,
And she descried the wreck through the morning gloom;
But she resolved to rescue them from such a perilous doom

Then she cried, Oh! father dear, come here and see the wreck,
See, here take the telescope, and you can inspect;
Oh! father, try and save them, and heaven will you bless;
But, my darling, no help can reach them in such a storm as this.

Oh! my kind father, you will surely try and save
These poor souls from a cold and watery grave;
Oh! I cannot sit to see them perish before mine eyes,
And, for the love of heaven, do not my pleading despise!

Then old Darling yielded, and launched the little boat,
And high on the big waves the boat did float;
Then Grace and her father took each an oar in hand,
And to see Grace Darling rowing the picture was grand.

And as the little boat to the sufferers drew near,
Poor souls, they tried to raise a cheer;
But as they gazed upon the heroic Grace,
The big tears trickled down each sufferer’s face.

And nine persons were rescued almost dead with the cold
By modest and lovely Grace Darling, that heroine bold;
The survivors were taken to the light-house, and remained there two days,
And every one of them was loud in Grace Darling’s praise.

Grace Darling was a comely lass, with long, fair floating hair,
With soft blue eyes, and shy, and modest rare;
And her countenance was full of sense and genuine kindliness,
With a noble heart, and ready to help suffering creatures in distress.

But, alas! three years after her famous exploit,
Which, to the end of time, will never be forgot,
Consumption, that fell destroyer, carried her away
To heaven, I hope, to be an angel for ever and aye.

Before she died, scores of suitors in marriage sought her hand;
But no, she’d rather live in Longstone light-house on Farne island,
And there she lived and died with her father and mother,
And for her equal in true heroism we cannot find another.

Written by McGonagall

I thought this would be fitting to post since it's 170 years since the Forfarshire struck the rocks of Big Harcar some 400 yards from the Longstone Lighthouse. 
File:SS Forfarshire c1835.jpg

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Leucistic Turnstone.

On Friday we stopped to tell our guests about the Shags when I noticed a Leucistic Turnstone sitting beside all the Shags. At first glance I had not got a clue what it was but after taking a second look and then getting one of the lads to check it out to we were both stunned by the colours.

With not a care in the world the Turnstone hopped around lifting seaweed and checking the rocks for food as I snapped away. 

I have seen a few birds like this but never a Turnstone, but it was a total pleasure to view a bird like this and even our guests who were not into birds enjoyed some lovely views.