MARINElife blog: Seatruck Ferries ‘Seatruck Pennant’ & ‘Seatruck Panorama’ Heysham-Warrenpoint 1-2 September 2016

Vince Green and Pete Crossley; Research Surveyor for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather: Westbound: wind light south-westerly, sea state mainly 1-3, visibility good
Eastbound: wind light to moderate south-westerly, sea state mainly 1-3 visibility good

Summary of sightings

Cetaceans and Seals:
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 1
Unidentified Dolphin  1
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 25

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 150
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 5693
Gannet Morus bassanus 173
Cormorant Phalocrocorax carbo 116
Shag Phalocrocorax aristotelis 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 24
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 17
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 8
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 25
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 3
Common Guillemot Uria aalge 182
Razorbill Alca torda 2
Unidentified Diver sp.  1
Unidentified Skua sp.  1
Unidentified Gull sp.  44

After a good nights sleep in the nearby seaside town of Morecambe, myself and Pete boarded the Seatruck Pennant earlier than expected and set off across the Irish Sea to Warrenpoint with a south westerly wind and good visibility.

We started to see gulls and Guillemot quite early into the journey. After a few hours numbers of Manx Shearwater started to appear in abundance alongside a mixture of Guillemot, the occasional Gannet and Fulmar. Nice prospects with the weather, it was a fairly encouraging crossing to the lovely Warrenpoint port.

Warrenpoint Vince Green 2016-09
Near Warrenpoint (Vince Green)

Once docked in Warrenpoint, We stayed locally in a small town called Rostrevor and we did a little bit of sight-seeing and took in a few sightings of waders and Cormorant on the shoreline.

Our return journey aboard the sister ship Seatruck Panorama, was also an early start because of the tides. We set off from Warrenpoint to Heysham and straight away we were seeing plenty of birds. And for the first time in a while I was able to observe many seals all together in one place - just on the exit of Carlingford Lough.

With amazing close ups of Cormorant, Grey Seal and the odd Common Tern, the rest of the journey was a great success.

Cormorant Peter Howlett 01
Cormorant (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

Included in the return journey we had a sighting of an unidentified dolphin quite a distance from the starboard side of the ship, and a brilliant close up of both Grey Seal and Harbour Porpoise.

For both me and my colleague it was very exciting as it was his first trip with us. Both Captains, Captain Cheeseman and Captain Olbison, looked after us well and the crew were great hosts to us, we really appreciated everything they did including the lovely meals on both the Pennant and Panorama vessels.  Both myself and Pete look forward to a return trip across to Warrenpoint with Seatruck Ferries.