MARINElife Blog: P&O Ferries (Pride of Bruges) Hull to Zeebrugge 28 – 30 July 2018

Vince Green and Jade Chenery, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: Outward - slightly overcast with good visibility, wind force up to 6/7.  Return - overcast, hazy on the horizon with strong glare to stern with wind force up to 5/6

Gull species - 107
Black headed gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus - 3
Herring Gull Larus argentatus - 36
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus -18
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus - 24
Guillemot Uria aalge - 2
Gannet Morus bassanust - 23
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla - 18
Common Tern Sterna hirundo - 32
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis - 14
Tern Species - 30

Terrestrial Birds
Swallow Hirundo rustica - 1

After boarding the Pride of Bruges for the outward crossing we headed up to the bridge for our evening watch out on the North Sea. It took a while to get out of the Humber and we caught sight of Spurn Point as we headed out of the river mouth.

As we entered into the open water we were greeted with a sea state of around 4 (increasing to 6 at times) which made it difficult to see the tiny fin of any Harbour Porpoise, however the abundant birdlife kept us occupied.

Spurn Point Jade Chenery

Spurn Point (Jade Chenery)

Bruges was absolutely beautiful and there wasn't a single street that didn't have a shop or food stand selling chocolate or chips! The city had lots of churches to explore and several canal systems. We also visited the 'Skyscraper' plastic whale which was a sight to behold and very sobering. Before we knew it were wondering back aimlessly towards the bus stop with our Bruges mementos and travelled back to the ship.

After a quick but delicious dinner in the onboard restaurant we awaited our escort on to the bridge. The weather conditions had improved slightly during the day, however there were still lots of white caps on the sea surface. Whilst we were scanning for cetaceans we were treated to a series of rainbows, time flew by and we were soon packing up our equipment whilst watching the sunset.

Rainbow Jade Chenery

Rainbow over North Sea (Jade Chenery)

The following morning, we awoke with optimism as we headed to the bridge for the final survey of our journey. Whilst we were setting up the equipment one of the crew members came over to share some photos and footage of a female Grey Seal that is often seen when the ship is docking in Hull. On the previous trip the seal had got into the dock and luckily made an escape up and over the wall as the ship was docking! As we cruised along the British coastline heading we continually added seabirds to our sighting sheet and it was lovely to be greeted once again by Spurn Point indicating we were back in the Humber and signalling the final leg.

Once again, our thanks go to Captain Alfred Jonkman and the staff and crew of the Pride of Bruges who made this a very enjoyable crossing.

Vince Green and Jade Chenery, Research Surveyors for MARINElife