Saturday, 29 December 2018

Fansastic Season 2018

All I can say is Wow, what a season. The sea gods have been really kind to us this year and this season blew everyone away with calm seas, very clear waters and lovely weather. Yes we did not have the heat that everyone else had but I'm not complaining one bit as it was a total pleasure being on the water and I even jumped into the water for a quick splash... Now that's saying something... Yes it was bloody freezing but I did it..

The beginning of the season was not the best with bad weather and rough seas but after that it just got better and better right until about the 12th December when it changed. Other than that it was just amazing and over the festive period its been like summer on some days. In fact over the festive period they lads saw 25 Bottlenose Dolphins heading north and a very late Minkie Whale north past Staple Island, which is the latest whale to be recorded. Great spot by Jimmy and Chris and its another first for Chris which has been a great season for him too.

Also this year we saw some new members of staff join the team and I have to admit they have blown me away with their attitude and enthusiasm and its great to see. Sometimes its not easy joining a team that has been going for a while but I'm so pleased they slotted in so well. Fingers crossed they are with us again next year and we do it all over again.

We also purchased a new boat which arrived at the end of the 2018 season but will be running in 2019 which will be great as both Tony and Jimmy past their boatman's licences near the end of the season so next year we will have all 3 boats running which is exciting news.

Bird wise looked like it was going to be a total failure especially with the Shags as it looked like more than half had been killed from the Best from the East but somehow they managed to bounce back and by the end of the season loads were around the islands. Amazing really and it just goes to show you how wildlife can just ruffle its feathers and get on with it. I say this year after year and I will probably keep on saying it but the Farnes just keeps on blowing me away and year on year I see something that I thought I would never see.

The final bird count has yet to be confirmed but I will let you know when I find out.

For me there was a couple of things that stole the show this year and once again it was the Bottlenose Dolphins as they always impress me and our guests just love them too and the other was a first for me and that was another kind of dolphin, the Risso Dolphin. At first I was not sure what it was but when it surfaced a second time I just knew it was a Risso and boy what a creature it was too.

The seal pup season was really good too and again the weather was kind to them. Yes we did have a good few die early on in the season and they were probably premature, not strong enough or washed away by the seas. I know its awful to hear but that's nature. So the final figure for the seal pups were

Near the end of the season we also saw some lovely birds and some firsts for most of my crew which again is really good for them as it keeps them interested and it also gives them something else to talk about to our guests.

It has also been a great year for the Sunset Cruises, so much so we have added a few more days to our schedule.

So over all it has been a great season but most of this all down to our staff who have been fantastic and worked so hard to so on behalf of Toby and myself I have to say,  "thank you" for everything.


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Monday, 17 December 2018

Christmas Sailings

Just to let you all know that we are still going to be sailing right until the New Year so if you are in the area and would like a trip to the Farne Islands and see all the cute seal pups then we will be sailing everyday from 11am, 12,30pm and maybe a 2pm. This is all weather permitting, so if you need to get out of the house over the Christmas period and give us a call on 01665 721667 or pop down the harbour and you will see our white booking office and the girls will let you know everything.

If you are reading this and you know anyone visiting the area then please let them know, thank you.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

North East Gold Award Winners

Myself and my brother are so proud of all of our staff and everything we have achieved together over the last few years and the other week we were awarded for all our hard work with Gold award at a prestigious event in the Civic Centre in Newcastle.

This glittering evening is built entirely around celebrating the success of the finalists, who represent the best of the North East's tourism businesses and it also gives you a chance to finally meet the  people who call to book trips for their guests and I have to say there are some lovely people out there doing amazing things to raise the profile of the North East. Not that it needs promoting, as we know its a great place to live and work.

So with my tuxedo on and my partner in crime (Jimmy) along my side we took our seats not far from the main stage where our guest presenter was Alfie Joey from Newcastle Radio. Just before the awards were presented we had a 3 course meal and I have to say it was just delightful.

After everyone had finished their meal it was on with the award ceremony and it was great to see so many people attending this event with over 400 people and so many awards to go through they asked us just to collect the awards and no speech's.

As the awards were being handed out it got to our category and we had some stiff competition from the likes of Chillingham White Cattle, Behind the Books and Lundgren Tours Ltd. They went in reverse order and when they read out Serenity as the winner both myself and Jimmy were totally god smacked. We never in a million years thought we would get picked never mind win it.
I was shaking like a leaf but very proud to walk up on the stage to collect the gold award.

The more I think about the evening the more I realise how lucky we are to live in this beautiful part of the world and also lucky we are be working in it too. The look on Jimmy's face said it all really and if you don't know Jimmy he is an Ozzy who got on the wrong boat and by gum is so pleased he did too.

We are all pleased to have won such an amazing award but if it was not for everyone around us we would have never have won, so thank you to all the staff for all your hard work as this award is yours too.

Yes we can scrub up if we want too.

As I write this blog I would also like to say well-done to a few friends who also won awards to their hard work over the last few years and its not very often that you get two gold winner in one little village like Seahouses and we did with my good friends from St Cuthberts House who won Gold for best Bed and Breakfast.

Also to my other friends at Laverock Law Cottages and Shepherds Hut who won Gold for Sustainable Tourism Award.

It was nice to get the whole of us together and it was just a wonderful evening too.

Now I do have to say that even though we won gold, I have to say that the biggest winner was Northumberland as there was 15 categories and Northumberland won 9 of those, which is an absolute amazing achievement by all, so well done.

A week later after the awards I found out that Northumberland won the Best UK Holiday Destination. I think that about sums it up really....

Once again thank you to all our staff as if it was not for you we would not have won this, so a massive THANK YOU.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Red-Necked Grebe

A few weeks ago we spotted a Red-Necked Grebe on the water in between Brownsman and Gun Rock.
Its neck was not red like it is during the breeding season but at this time of the year its more grey and the head is not as black. Despite the lack of summer plumage its still a lovely bird and not very often spotted around the islands. We might see one a year and then go a few years without seeing any.
I do know that they are spotted a bit more near Stag Rock in Bamburgh during the winter so you would think you would see them more often near the Farnes but this is not the case.

All the same its just really nice seeing this lovely bird and its also nice to show our guests too.

Sorry its a small post but I promise a better one soon.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Bloody Ballons

We have tuned into a throw away generation, and its drives me insane. I remember we used to take out TV's back to the shop to get fixed or even a kettle and we would never think "Ah just throw it away and get a new one", but that's how it has gone today. I remember an old bloke from the village called "Tommy Walton" god rest his soul. We used to take our broken bikes to his house to get fixed and a day later you would get it back and it felt like you were getting a new bike. Yes it was not a designer bike but it did the job and that's all that matters. My boat is the same. I wanted a new toilet but it was cheaper to get the whole toilet with the hand pump then just to get the hand pump, so now I'm stuck with a toilet basin and seat. I does not make sense at all. 

I think the point I'm making is that everything gets thrown away now and this has a knock on affect as we end up with waste, plastic and lots more everywhere. 

One late evening I had my boat on the beach at the harbour as I had rope and lots of fishing twine around my prop, which needed to be taken off. As I was cutting it away all the rope something in the corner of my eye went past me, and it was a lantern all light up like the Christmas lights. I could not believe what I had seen and wondered were it had come from. At first I just ignored it but then all of a sudden another one went past me but this time it got caught in some lobster pots and it started to melt the twine. I quickly grabbed it and put it out. All I could think off, was if that landed on someone's boat then it could have caused so much damage and what for. There is no need and where do people think the are going to land. Its the same as balloon realises. I just don't understand them and why would you. 

Back to the throw away generation. Why do we do these things and instead of throwing things away why not try and fix them and there will be less waste in this world and less things killing our wildlife. We maintain our cars so they last longer and we look after them but when it comes to rubbish people don't think it kills our wildlife as it does not affect them. Come on.... 

We are lucky around this area for rubbish but this year we have seen an alarming rise in balloons and rubbish at sea and it does get upsetting especially when all the seabirds are around. 

Okay, rant over but please have a little think about our actions that can affect the wildlife which is not their fault of course.