MARINElife Survey Report: Condor Ferries ‘ Condor Rapide’ Jersey-St Malo 17 October 2015

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

Weather: Cloudy with occasional sunny spells, wind NNE light-moderate, visibility good.

Summary of sightings

Marine Mammals
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 2

Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 1
Razorbill Alca torda 16
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 3
Gannet Morus bassanus 6
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 1

The cabin staff, Andrane and Luc greeted us warmly and called the bridge straight away to inform Captain Ben Roper of our arrival. We were taken to the bridge to meet the Captain who ran through the protocol for the trip covering both the outward and return journeys. We set up our paperwork and returned to the passenger deck whilst red-zone was enforced.

Back on the bridge we commenced surveying and recording at 09:00. Initially the sea was very calm but as we progressed it became a little choppy, however the visibility remained excellent throughout despite the near 100% cloud cover.

During this leg of the journey there were few bird sightings, just a single Herring Gull, a couple of Gannet and Cormorant plus a flock of 8 Razorbill. This disappointment was made up by a clear view of two Bottlenose Dolphin appearing on the starboard side of the ship.

BND Peter Howlett 04
Bottlenose Dolphin (Archive photo: Peter Howlett)

It was a rather cool but dry day in St Malo and we sheltered from the NNE wind and continued to bird watch for a while and then set off to a more unfashionable area in search for lunch. The aptly named ' Le Pie qui Boit' turned out to be a quaint and value for money little bistro and a place to remember for future visits.

Captain Roper welcomed us back and very kindly fetched us coffees. We set up and waited on deck until red-zone was cleared at 17:50 when we started recording straight away.

Again the smooth seas developed into rougher waters, as a weak, southerly-moving front passed over. The bird sightings picked up slightly during the second part of the trip, with predominantly Gannet and Razorbill and a great view of a Manx Shearwater as it flew off the bow of the vessel for a good few minutes. There was a distinct lack of gulls and alas no cetacean sightings this time.

We would like to thank all the staff aboard the Condor Rapide, who made us feel most welcome and helped us throughout the day.