Jill Tompkins and Sam Blampied, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Wind: west force four with no swell. Visibility good with a moderate cloud cover and little glare outward, visibility reduced on the return to Jersey.
Summary of species recorded:
Gannet Morus bassanus 12
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 11
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 9
This being our inaugural trip, Sam and I were keen to gain access to the bridge as soon as possible and after a short delay on the outward journey we introduced ourselves to the Captain and officers who where most welcoming and assured us that should they sight any cetaceans before us they would pass on the information quickly. In turn we assured them that we were familiar with bridge protocol before settling down on the starboard wing to start the survey.
Gannet (Archive photo: Carol Farmer-Wright)
Sadly despite the best efforts of all on the bridge, on both the outer and return journeys the seas were bereft of any mammals and few seabirds, other than Gannet, Sandwich Tern and Cormorant, were observed despite good visibility. The fine weather also meant a large number of smaller craft, mostly pleasure boats, were observed on both journeys.
We feel that the variation in sightings compared with our training trip is likely to be most directly influenced by the stage and size of tides, which in turn dictates the vessels course around the Minquiers reef system rather than the time of year and weather.
On the return journey we were introduced to one of Condor's senior captains who was well versed in the work undertaken by MARINElife and was very supportive of our efforts.