Saturday, 30 March 2013

Black Guillemot

It was a lovely day at the Farne Islands today and it's the first time I have seen the sun in weeks.

Lots of Guillemots around and we seen 3 Puffins. All in good health to.

This time last year the Shags had built their nests, paired off and some had even layed their eggs, this year they have not even started. This is one of the reason's I love my job as we are always learning and one trip is never the same as the other.

Today was a total surprise for me, as we noticed a partial summer plumage Black Gulliemot beside the Brownsman Island.

I say a surprise but I have to expect the unexpected when it comes to birds and you just never know what your going to see around the Farne Islands as it has done so to many times over the years.  

Anyway here are some mixed pictures from today and it all started in the harbour.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Lucky 13

The number 13 is usually unlucky but this time I must say it's lucky. After 13 days at the Farne Islands the Danio is finally of the rocks and is now docked in Blyth harbour.

When I think about it there has been alot of unlucky's and lucky's during this whole episode.

She was unlucky to hit the rocks in the first place but she was so lucky to hit the area she did. The ship has a flat bottom and the area of the rock was flat to. She had to put up with gale force winds and big seas, but if was in another place she would have never survived but she was lucky enough to be a place were the big waves were broken down by the Longstone Island and the south end of the Blue Caps.

She was unlucky to be holed but lucky to have a double skinned hull.

Most of all she was very very lucky to have a team gang of salvage guys who knew what they were doing and knew how to float her safely without spilling any fuel, wood etc.

Thank you guys removing the Danio safe and sound and not affecting our beautiful Farne Islands and all it's wildlife.

Here are some pictures of her taken by Mark Mowbray when she finally arrived in Blyth harbour tonight.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Day 11 Danio

As the seas drop a little bit the salvage guys prepare themselves to tow the Danio of the rocks.

They were hoping for Today but I think by the time they have everything in place it will be more like tomorrow. They have had so much bother with trying to get stuff out to the Danio and they are only doing it in daylight.

What should take half and hour to pass a rope across to the Danio or other items is taking over an hour, due to the big seas surging the boat up and down. They might go out at lunch time but not get back until 6pm because of the weather and you have seen the weather the guys have had to deal with in my last post.  If it was calm they could do 2 trips a day without any problems.

The guys are still waiting for a Multicat to arrive and one of the guys was on the road for 7 hours bringing gear here and stopped over for the night at a B and B and when he woke in the morning his trailer with all the gear was gone. These are the things these guys have been dealing with. We tend to forget that we are a small village in the countryside and when the guys ask for something we say Newcastle will be the closest place for that. They are used to items being on the doorstep not miles away.

The other thing is that they deal with ships hitting sandbanks and rocks all the time but they have never dealt with a ship hitting a wildlife reserve and to cause as many problems to people livelihoods, so the quicker they get rid of the Danio the better.

Even yesterday they had a rib delivered from Aberdeen.

Anyway fingers crossed for tomorrow and I hope everything goes ok and the Danio makes it to Blyth without any problems.

This is some of the rope that will pull the Danio of the rocks. They need 300 meters of rope and wire in total. The guys are making sure all the kinks are out of the rope then putting it onboard ready to pass across to the tug. 

Titan Salvage crew unloading their truck 

This is some of the heavy wire they will also be using. 

The rib being delivered from Aberdeen

Unloading a ready to go.


Monday, 25 March 2013

Not Nice

I was really looking forward to seeing my first Puffin of the year but I did not expect to see it like this.

This is a little worrying as I only walked half way along the beach at Beadnell and I saw 21 Puffins, 3 Guillemots, 1 Razorbill, 1 Shag and 1 Gannet all dead.

We complain about the weather and how cold we get and sometimes forget about our wildlife as we have it easy compared to them.

All I had in my head was that these fella's had come all this way to get ready for the breeding season and their life's have been taken away from them because of this bloody weather. Life is not fair sometimes especially as it's the year of the Puffin on the Farnes this year.

There has been reports of lots of dead Auks along the East Coast today and it's not nice to see or hear about.

Fingers crossed we don't find many more and this is just a small incident.

There was a few in one spot so I gathered them together to take the picture. I also checked everyone I found to see if they were ringed but none of them were.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Day 6 Danio (Big Seas)

It has been very quite on the updates about the Danio as the weather has just been so dreadful and the guys have not been able to get out to see her. A tug turned up which has just been built in 2012 and is called Sanmar Terninal VII. She can pull 80 tons and has a deadweight 120 tons, so hopefully she will do the trick.

Monday and Tuesday,  were the biggest Easterly seas I have seen for some years.  Luckily enough for the Danio the Longstone Island was breaking all the seas up before they got to her, so she survived some 4 to 5 meter seas.

Wednesday it seemed to drop a good bit but still not the best but one of the boats took out the MAIB and they were on the Danio from early morning until late night. I'm glad I'm not the Captain of the ship.

Thursday was alot better and some of the lobster boats were out fishing but it was not good enough for sight seeing.

Friday was just dreadful again. The wind picked up from the S.E this time and it got stronger and stronger as the day went on. The seas were from 3.5 to 4 meters with gusts of winds up to 70 mph.

The Salvage gang wanted to go out and see if they could get onboard and sort some ropes so is ready for towing. 

The lobster fishing boat the Standsure got ready to take the guys out. While she waited the winds picked up more and more, but it was now or never as high tide had just passed and they wanted the tide up to get the guys off.

All aboard they set off.

The wind was screaming, the sky was black, and the seas were huge. This is what separates the men from boys or are they just a bit crackers. Deadliest Catch has not got a look in with their big boats, here comes Johnathan and Glen.....

They took the guys out and brought them back safe and sound but I bet it was a long cold day for them. All because of a ship on our beautiful Farne Islands. At least they are trying to get this ship away as quick as possible but all we need now is some calm seas and good weather to help the guys.

Here are some pictures of them going out and coming back.

This is when they first left the harbour. You can see the Longstone Lighthouse in the top left corner but that is not rock you see below the Lighthouse it's the Danio. 

Her first wave

Get up there. 

As Alex Ferguson would say.....twitchy bum time.

 Ah this is like a walk in the park.


The Danio and the Longstone in sight.

The return leg

I think there might have been a few choice words said at this moment. 

Playing hide and seek now.

The harbour entrance in sight.

Well Done Guys.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Danio Day 3

Today was wild and it got worse as the day went on.

The salvage guys have got everything in place and they are ready to go the second the weather gives them a chance to get out the her. 

The winds have come at the wrong time but at the moment it's from the east and the Danio has a little bit shelter from the Longstone Island. Don't get me wrong she will be still feeling it but not as much if it was from the north.

She is a doubled skimmed hull ship and they have filled it with water so she will be more stable. I have been told this will take about 12 hours to empty. I have also been informed tonight that nobody is allowed within 500 meters of the ship until they get her off the rocks. Lets just hope they get her off safe and sound before Easter.

I think they are going to try and take all the fuel off her and bring it back to Seahouses. They are not going to take the logs of the ship as this will only lift her less than a foot so it's not worth it, but if they think it will make a difference then they will do it. Their main concern is to get the fuel off and then tow the ship to safety.

I don't know what they are going to do with the 1 meter by 1 meter hole near her bow but at the moment she is not taking in water.

Anyway that's all for now so here are some pictures of the big seas, me, and the hole taken from saturday and late this afternoon and I will update you all tomorrow.

This picture is taken by my friend on his mobile. I was getting close to her to try and drop some guys off but the tide was running to hard for me to do it.

This is the weather forecast for the week

Again this is taken on a mobile so it's not very sharp. This is the 1 meter by 1 meter hole on her outer skin. 

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Danio Day 2

Today was calm to start with and then the weather changed when the tide changed. Big seas but blue skies but the gloom was hanging over the cargo ship which is 80 meters long and carrying logs is still high and dry on the rocks just the north side of the Blue Caps.

Another boat has arrived tonight and they are hoping to try and get her off tomorrow. The way the weather is shaping up I don't think they will have any chance and to make it worse the tides are dropping off.

I had a few guys accessing the area and trying to think of the best plan on how to get her off, without making any impact to The Farne Islands and it's Seabird and Seal population.

I don't think they realized how important this little tiny group of rocks are to the wildlife until they looked around. This gang have done this thousands of times and they are going full steam ahead to get this sorted as quick as possible.

Yes it will cost a lot of money but who cares as long as the birds, seals and underwater wildlife are safe and we can talk about this in years to come.

I will try my best to post everyday or night and let everyone know whats happening.

Here is a picture from my plotter chart yesterday and I'm the boat and the arrow is the ship. This is at high water so I can get close but at low water I can't get as close.

Here is a link to Tyne Tees report on Staurday.

Long-tail Ducks and Big Seas

This is just a quick blog to say we had a nice Long-tailed Ducks in the harbour over last weekend when the weather was rough and they were back again today. I also got some nice pictures of the seas, and Goldeneye's sheltering in the harbour. Even my 14 month Archie was feeding the Eider Ducks at the beach in the harbour. This is the best place to get some great pictures and remember to bring some bread with you for that close up shot. If they bite don't blame me.