Tuesday 19 July 2011

It’s a hard life...

Ok, so it has been a while.  Basically I am just working too hard and do not have enough time for my blog...ha ha ha!  It seems like forever since I wrote my last blog, and it has indeed been a while.  But basically we left the little town of Killybegs and had the excitement of the Irish Coastguard coming aboard via helicopter (do they have ejector seats?).  We then had an awesome morning off the Skelligs.  The sea was FLAT calm, the sun was shining, and I knew that when we were back in four days and wanting to do a landing it would be nothing like it was now...and I was right!  But we circumnavigated both Skellig Michael and Little Skellig getting so damn close we may as well have put the gangway down.  We had awesome views of the monastery, the stone stairway, the gannet colony of 29,500 pairs (which they reckon is the second largest in the World??!!) and just had a fantastic couple of hours getting up close and personal with the two stacks.

We then headed south and into Bantry Bay, on the way seeing at least 3-4 minke whales, several pods of short-beaked common dolphins, and several large flocks of Manx shearwaters.  No sooty or great shears amongst them unfortunately, but we did spot a couple of European storm-petrels.

Next day after heading south all night we were in the Isles of Scilly and ashore on Tresco in the morning and St Agnes in the afternoon, with some folks visiting St Mary’s.  The weather was its usual beautiful sunny self in the IOS and we had a walk through the Abbey Gardens on Tresco, then back to the ship for lunch.  As we were sitting at the pier waiting for the zodiac a raptor flew overhead, creating a stir amongst the oystercatchers.  I watched it before it disappeared, and thought to myself that it didn’t look right for a European buzzard, but put it down at that.  As we were heading back to the ship from St Agnes later that afternoon, my good mate Bob Flood who lives on St Mary’s, texted me and said “Honey Buzzard over Hugh Town”!  Damn it, it was of course the same bird I had seem earlier and mis-identified!  Oh well, a nice afternoon on St Agnes with nothing spectacular, but a few shelducks, linnets, etc.  A nice cider at the Turk’s Head though!

So next day we arrived in Plymouth and it was time to say good-bye to Noble Caledonia and Zegrahm’s were back on.  So had a little time in town to check emails etc., before we had new passengers embark and new expedition staff.  We left Plymouth and headed north...and ever since I have had little time to update my blog!  I’m photographer onboard, as well as general naturalist and zodiac driver and the hours just seem to evaporate.  Especially when you have an incredible day on Isle of May in stunning weather and take more than 3000 photos!  So I’m trying to catch up with my blog, but it might take a little time, but here are some photos from the last few days of the Noble trip.

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