MARINElife Survey Report: Condor Ferries ‘ Condor Rapide’ Jersey-St Malo 27 June 2015

Neil Singleton and Allison Caldeira, Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)

Weather: A lovely day throughout. Mostly sunny with occasional cloud, wind 1-2. Sea state, slight. Sea temperature 14C, air temperature 20C

Summary of sightings

Gannet Morus bassanus 13
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 5
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 81
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 6
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 12
Razorbill Alca torda 4

We arrived at a very busy Elizabeth Ferry Terminal, St Helier at 08:00 on a beautiful summer's morning. Today's trip coincided with the arrival of a number of competitors for the 2015 NatWest Island Games, which runs from 27 June-3 July 2015.

GBB Gull Peter Howlett 07
Great Black-backed Gull (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

We met Cabin Manager Sarah Honebon at 08:50, who took us straight to the bridge to meet Captain Mark South and his team. Mark welcomed us aboard and we soon settled into our positions on the starboard side of the bridge. Mark always shows a great deal of interest in our work and keeps a look out for cetaceans on all his trips. He advised that there had been very few cetacean sightings recently. We briefly spoke with the Chief Officer (Dave) who was also very interested in the work we are doing. Sarah very kindly brought us much appreciated coffees and water.

We left St Helier on schedule at 09:00 for St Malo. We had a slight glare from the morning sunshine, but only on the port side, which made no impact on our viewing. There was very little wind with just a few wavelets forming at times, with blue skies and some cloud developing towards the end of the journey.

We saw a continuous stream of birdlife throughout the trip, mostly gulls and Gannet plus a single Razorbill. Approaching the French coast we were pleased to see a good number of gulls feeding alongside  a small fishing boat. Although conditions were good, we saw no cetaceans. The port of St Malo and surrounding area was extremely busy with pleasure crafts of all types, which is quite normal for this time of year. We disembarked at 11:30 (French time) and whiled away a pleasant few hours in the bustling walled city of St Malo.

Herring Gull Peter Howlett 04
Herring Gull (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

On the return journey we were taken to the bridge by Cabin Manager Albane Le Troudec and were again welcomed by Captain Mark South. We departed the French port at 17:10 local time. There was a prime sailing breeze at St Malo port but that soon dwindled to slack seas for the majority of the trip. Visibility was good throughout  but did not produce any cetacean sightings.

Again there was a steady trickle of seabirds, comprising gulls and gannets, plus a few cormorants this time. We arrived back in St Helier, Jersey promptly at 17:15.

We would like to thank all the staff aboard the Condor Rapide, who helped us throughout the day.