Monday, 27 July 2015

Saving the Shag

Andy and myself noticed a young Shag with orange twine around its neck. We tried to get it ourselves but every time we got close enough it flew away.
Annoyed with our efforts we called in Rangers to see if they could get it. They asked us where it was last sighted of they went.

You have to give them their due as they tried really hard but once again the shag got away.

A few days later I received a text to say that they had managed to catch the shag and free it of all the twine. What a great result and well done guys for doing a great job.

Another success story for the Farnes.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Noctilucent Clouds over the Farnes

After a great Sunset Cruise on Thursday evening with crystal clear skies and a great sunset I got a text from Gary to say that there is Noctilucent clouds starting to show. I looked at the time and it was about 11pm so I decided to go out and have a look.
I gave my friend Sarah a text to see if she fancied joining me and she jumped at the chance to come out.

We were a little bit lazy and just headed to the harbour so we could have a cuppa while taking some pictures.
The evening was so clear and bright you could see the clouds with your naked eye and they were just amazing witness.

If you don't really know what Noctilucent Clouds are then let me give you a little explanation about them.

Night clouds or noctilucent clouds are composed of tiny crystals of water ice up to 100 nm in diameter and exist at a height of about 47 to 53 miles higher than any other clouds in earth's atmosphere. Clouds in the earth's lower atmosphere form when water collects on particles, but mesospheric clouds may form directly from water vapour in addition to forming on dust particles.

They are most commonly observed in the summer months at latitudes between 50° and 70° north and south of the equator. They can be observed only when the sun is below the horizon and with last night being so clam and clear it was just perfect for it.

I'm not going to go on and on so I will let the pictures show you what they look like.

I hope you like this as I did and if you get a really clear sky in the summer then watch out for this.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

White-beaked Dolphins

We were just about to pick up our guests from the Inner Farne the other day when I noticed a few other boats going the wrong way. When I looked through my bins I noticed they had dolphins around their boats.
Itching to get across and see them I was praying our guests would come back in few minutes quicker. That was never going to happen but when everyone was on board we dashed off to see them.

When we arrived in the area, the dolphins were spread out all over the place and they were obviously feeding. I was not sure which way to go at first so I decided just to go slowly and see what happens.

All of a sudden we were surrounded by them and they were are far as the eye could see.

They were jumping out of the water and they weren't bottlenose dolphins either. They were white-beaked dolphins and what a sight too.

I will guess at about 30 and this has to be a Farnes record too. We did see two near the Farnes last year but not a many as this. The best part about it was that all our guests got a good show and when we returned to Seahouses we had enough time to unload and head back out with more guests and catch up with them.

These beautiful creatures and can grow up to 10ft long and weigh between 180 to 350kg's. They are also very acrobatic and social animals. They will frequently ride on the bow wave boats and jump clear of the sea's surface.

They have been studying these dolphins around the area for some time now and I think they are starting to get a good catalogue of ID's so we can learn a lot more about them.

I love any sort of wildlife but when a dolphin bow rides your boat and leaps clean out of the water you cannot help yourself but smile at these fantastic creatures and what a way to end a trip.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Seabirds Departing

It's that time of the year again when all our seabirds start to depart. Over the last few days we have seen massive gaps on the cliff faces where the Guillemot's used to be and even though the weather was rubbish today you could see loads of jumplings around.
I don't really like this time of the year as you know people will be disappointed when they arrive and everything has gone and the other reason I don't like it, it's because when the gaps start to become big the gulls hang around for the young chicks as they are easy pickings. I know it's nature but it can be cruel at times.

This week has been a very mixed week and no surprise there as its been like this all year. We get a few good days of weather then rubbish again. We never made it out of the harbour on Wednesday and Thursday which was such a pity as it was really sunny and when we did get out on Friday most people were returning home so they never got a chance to see the wonders of the Farnes.

We have also seen good numbers of Purple Sandpipers and Golden Plovers returning to the islands over the last few days. A couple of Great Skua's passing through but over all very quite on the bird front.

We still have lots of seabirds around but they are in their favourite little spots where they tend to go when they are just about to leave. Don't worry they will not be going just yet but its not long now. I would say another 2/3 weeks and that will it for another year, but don't worry we will still be going to the Farnes on a daily bases and hopefully we will see some mega's during that time. We also have been seeing the Bottlenose Dolphins again which is always good.

The harbour has been having some work done to the end of the pier since they found a big hole in it but luckily they caught it in time and it has not stopped us getting into and out of the harbour. They are getting on well with it, and it will not be long before they are finished. They have also found another hole but hopefully they will get a grant or some lottery funding for that as it does need done. The harbour does need some TLC but they are taking silly money to do it. (millions)
One day hopefully.

Also I have to apologise for not posting for a while as my camera and leanse are broken. Both are away at the moment being fixed at the moment, so all I have is my small lense which I use for landscape shots. At least I have something to use but its very frustrating when you see something that looks good and you turn around to pick up your camera and its not there. Hopefully I will have them back soon but in the meantime here is some pictures for you.


Friday, 3 July 2015

Lightning, rain and thunder, we had it all.

What a start to the month. In all my years at the sea this was the worst thunder and lightning storm I have ever seen.
While we were on our last trip on Wednesday we were just about to head across to the Longstone Island when the weather turned for the worst. The skies had turned black and then the heavens opened. We decided to turn back and then all of a sudden the lightning came down with an almighty bang.
Myself and Andy got as many people inside of the wheelhouse and a few under the over hang behind but a few were left outside unfortunately. Andy quickly gave the one's outside some umbrella's in hope that it would help but we were totally caught out by the way it came down. It was coming down so hard that they made no difference at all but, bless Andy he was not going to give up and he held the umbrella to try and stop them from getting wet. It was coming at all angles and the lightning was catching us up very quickly.
We decided to head for the beach but as we got closer and closer to the beach, the lightning was getting closer and closer to us. When your in the middle of the sea without any protection from the elements its definitely squeaky bum time. We made it to the beach and then along the shoreline towards to harbour. Home and without being hit thank god.
The guests got off the boat and I took one look at Andy he looked like a drowned rat and boy did he take one for the team, but to add insult to all the rain he then told me that the lady had also been sick on him too. What a guy and this is what a crewman is all about. A work mate, a grafter and a friend, but best of all he took it in his stride.

After we got home the rain eased and the skies cleared but at 12.15pm it started all over again. The sheet lightning light up the sky and then all of a sudden a massive bang. I heard dogs in the street barking like mad, and then the fork lightning started.

Should I go out or should I stay indoors. Ah stuff it, this might never happen again, so I jumped into the van and drove down the harbour.

The first thing I did was to open the booking office and put the kettle on as it was going to be a long night. The camera was set up and I was ready to go. A few clicks later I was happy with the results and then I started to click away.

A few pictures later a local man arrived. The kettle was back on and  after a hot cuppa and bit of crack we started to take some more pictures. It was 2.30am and I had to be up quick to move the boat in a few hours, so we said our goodbye's and off to bed.

It was not until 10pm that night that I got a chance to have a look at my pictures and I was happy with my first attempt at trying to catch the lightning affect. It was a bit far away but overall I was happy and I even managed to get a moonbow with a bit of lighting in it too. Lucky sod.

Here are the results from the storm.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Sunshine and Smiles

All it takes is a little bit of sunshine and then people have beautiful big smiles on their faces and today was one of those days.

We have waited weeks and weeks for some warm weather, calm sea's and some sunshine and we had it all today and about time too.

On our way home today we encountered some Bottlenose Dolphins and this was just the icing on the cake. After a great trip to the Inner Farne we were wowed us for 15 minutes before we arrived back to Seahouses and after a quick turn around we managed to catch up with them again and once again they did not disappoint us.

The smiles on our guests faces was enough to please me never mind the dolphins, but I must admit I can't get enough of them. Here are some pictures and a short film at the end.

Long may these encounter continue and thank you for reading.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

I believe I can fly

On our trip the other day we were at the Brownsman Island when we saw a couple of jumpling just about to take that leap of faith, but as we looked around there was not just a few, there was quite a lot.
We watched one after another jump of the cliff faces. Some were not afraid, while others used the brains and took little jumps all the way to the water. We got a but carried away and before we knew it, we had been there for 15 minutes watching them. Well so did I to be honest and I am the skipper so I could have moved the boat if I wanted to but to be honest I did not really want to go, and I could have watched them all day.

The weather conditions were perfect for them and is probably the reason why loads were leaving all at once. Whatever the reason this did not matter to us as we were enjoying every minute if it and why not as its not everyday you get to see much and wonderful sight.

Here is a selection of pictures which will show the bravery of the jumpling's.

3 legged Guillemot

Well maybe not. This little jumpling was behind his father.

It's not a big jump son. Come on you can do it.

Here I go....

Ahhhhh that's freezing.

Come on, you can do it.

Mother tries to give it a little encouraging nudge


Not in focus but you can get the idea.  
Off they go out into the north sea.
Don't worry as the season is not over just yet as we still have lots of other seabirds around and there is still loads of Guillemots to see over the next few weeks. 51,000 is a lot to leave in one go.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Dolphins again 20/06/15

As I was in the shop on Saturday morning buying some milk for a cuppa when I received a call from Ron saying that there was Bottlenose Dolphins just outside the harbour. I quickly paid for the milk, jumped back into the van and dashed down to the harbour.
I was moored on the outside of Ron so I had to move the boat so he could pick up his divers and it was a good excuse to slowly pop out and see if I could catch up with the dolphins.

The second I got out of the harbour the throttle was up and I was on a mission. I spotted them just past Seahouses and they were travelling really slowly along the shoreline, which was perfect for me. When I arrived some were jumping out of the water and others were going in circles. You could see they were feeding and then the pod became split into two groups. I decided to go with the group that was feeding as the other seemed to be on a mission further south.
As I got closer I did not know what to do, should I film it on my phone, use my camera with the small lense or big one or should I use the GoPro. I got myself in a bit of a flap, so I said stuff it I'm going to use them all. (Pure Greed)
If you had seen me, I was going around like a headless chicken. I thought to myself, "what the hell are you doing, put all your stuff down and just watch them". So I did but I was like a little kid in a sweet shop, so I went back to using the whole lot again. In the end I just used one camera with the small lense and got on with it.

They were along side of the boat for ages. Well it felt like ages and they put on a real show too. This kept me smiling for about half an hour until it was time to turn around and head back to the harbour.

All day I was smiling and this is why I think I have the best job in the world.

Later on the in day they were back again and the rest of the boats got a good show too. Lots of happy people today which is only a good thing.


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Dolphins 16/06/15

On Tuesday we were on our landing trip to the Inner Farne when I noticed another boat going really slow and in a place you would not expect him to be doing it. My first thoughts were, what's he seen and as I looked through my bins I noticed a dolphin jump clean out of the water.
After a quick look at the clock I realised I had enough time to get to the area, and get back in time to pick my guests up. With no time to waste, the engine was started and I was off. I phoned my brother who was not far away and we both headed to see the dolphins.

When we arrived they were throwing trout high into the air, catching it and swallowing it down in one shot. It was amazing to see, and when their belly's were full, they headed south going past Seahouses. My brother's guests witnessed them too and when he went back to the harbour to pick his next guests he was hoping to see them again but by the time he got out the were to far south. Such a pity but at least some of his guests saw them. They will be back no doubt and I will look foward to seeing them again. I know it's pot luck but I can always live in hope.

As I was going through my pictures to see which ones I was going to post I noticed good old Black and Decker. Great to see her again.

This adult female is in the "infrequently sighted" section but its been two years on the trot we have seen her now and she was showing no signs of old age. Great to see she is still fit and well.

This just shows you how close they were to the beach.