Trainers: Rick Morris, Maya Plass, Glynis Northwood-Long and assistant Annette Dutton.
Day One, Saturday:
Upon arriving in Ilfracombe, we met up with this year's MARINElife/Lundy six-days workshop/adventure on the quayside.
Whilst waiting to board, a couple of Harbour Porpoise were seen around 400m offshore in the very calm and near flat sea, so we were all optimistic of seeing cetaceans on the crossing.
Once all the baggage was loaded and all passengers were onboard, we made our way out of Ilfracombe Harbour and headed off to Lundy. Virtually straight away we were seeing Harbour Porpoise with further sightings throughout most of the trip totally some 20 + animals. We also had sightings of three small groups of Common Dolphin with one of the groups leaping high out of the water for all to see.
Harbour Porpoise (Rick Morris)
We were greeted on the island by Dean (warden) and then made our way up top to check in and once the group were settled into the 'Barn' Dean came up to give an informative presentation on Lundy followed by a presentation on coastal ecology by Maya.
A small group of us headed to the old lighthouse and although there was a sea mist rolling in at first, it cleared once we had climbed the steps to the top revealing the spectacular sight of the whole island.
'Old Lighthouse' (Rick Morris)
The whole group met up again at 22:30 and headed to the 'Ugly' to listen out for the incoming Manx Shearwater to finish off a brilliant first day.
Day Two, Sunday:
Today was the MARINElife ID course on marine wildlife focusing on cetaceans, seabirds and seals found around Lundy and the UK. Also joining the group were three of the island's volunteer workforce. After the wildlife presentation, Glynis gave a quick talk on the fauna that may be found on the island and provided an ID chart of the most common species around the island to take out on our walks.
We finished the presentations around 4.30pm giving all just enough time to walk down to the tavern to enjoy a talk by David Lindo - the Urban Birder.
After dinner, with beautiful blue skies, we decided to walk to the Old Battery to see the sunset. On the way there, we encountered sika deer out in the open fields, and we were able to take a few photos before they moved into the bracken.
Sika Deer (Rick
Most of us managed the long walk down the steep path to the Old Battery and whilst we were waiting for the sun to go down, we spotted Puffin, Guillemot, Shag and various gulls going out to sea to catch fish and coming back to feed their young. We were also lucky enough to see in the rocky cliffs a pair of Razorbill, and with their chick that looked as if it was ready to fledge. There were also several pairs of Shag, and we managed to see one of their young peeping out from its craggy nesting place. After our photo-shoot watching the glorious sunset, we enjoyed the walk back home.
Sunset at the 'Old Battery' (Rick Morris)
Day Three, Monday:
After breakfast we regrouped in the Barn in readiness for the 10 O'clock Guillemot talk by Grant Sherman of Lundy Island. Grant gave a very informative talk with lots of slides and video clips on the islands Guillemot population, which everyone enjoyed and found very interesting.
Around midday, we headed off down to the Landing Bay, looking out for birds that frequent the wooded areas of Millcombe Valley along the way.
Once at the Jetty we boarded 'Obsession II' skippered by the very experienced Andrew Bengey for our 1 o'clock 'round Lundy Island' boat trip. Seeing the island from sea is a fantastic way of looking at the seabirds on the ledges and rafting at sea. It is also great for seeing Lundy's Grey Seal population that are all around the island, we saw around 150+ of them just along the East side with sporadic sightings around the West, North and South. Many of which were hauled out on rocks giving great views to all on the boat.
Grey Seal (Rick Morris)
Once back up top and having a break, some of the group went for a walk along the South path from the 'Old Castle' to look for more 'Letter Boxes', basically you have clues to solve and this leads you to a Lundy stamp of where you found it, there are 27 to find, so we look for them on our walkabouts as an extra for a bit of fun!
Day Four, Tuesday:
This was our 'wet day' and so after breakfast we headed off down to the Landing Bay where Maya took the group rock pooling out in 'Devil's Kitchen' with the tide going out. The group saw many different inter tidal species, including crabs, sucker fish, Coral, Anemones, different seaweeds and more.
After a rest and bite to eat, it was time for the Snorkel Safari. This is a warden led activity and Dean come down to do this for us. this is a great way of seeing the Kelp swaying back and forth in the current and the creatures that live there! The group also had some great view of Grey Seal snoozing on the bottom and some coming close to have a look at us.
Rock pooling and snorkelling in the 'Devil's Kitchen' (Rick Morris)
Maya had to depart on the afternoon sailing, and so we stayed at the Jetty with her until the boat left for Ilfracombe. It also gave some of us the chance for another chat with David Lindo (The Urban Birder) as he was waiting to board the boat as well.
After tea, some of us went off for another walk, this time to the 'Old Light' and the West side then back over to the 'Ugly' for a bit more 'Letter Boxing', finished off with a welcome night cap in the Marisco Tavern - well it would be rude not to pop in as we were passing!
Day Five, Wednesday:
Our penultimate day on Lundy, and we headed over to 'Jenny's Cove' after breakfast to spend time looking at the many Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill and Fulmar on the ledges. We set up the spotting scope to give good views for all our group and some of Lundy's visitors. It's always good to have some public engagement and give out useful information.
Puffin at Jenny's Cove (Rick Morris)
A few of the group also found the 'Letter Box' whilst we were there. It was then time to leave this stunning Bay as we had planned to go up to the North end to see the lighthouse before heading back.
The group suggested we have a meal together in the tavern, and so we met up around six pm for our evening meal and talk about the time we had just had on Lundy.
Day Six, Thursday:
Alas, all good things come to an end! So after packing up and vacating our properties, the rest of the day was free time for our attendees. Some of the group went to the East side to find some more letterboxes and view the Old Quarry and memorial site before heading down to the 'Landing Bay' where the 'MS Oldenburg' gave a 'round the island' trip. Rick and Glynis volunteered to do the wildlife guiding and Kevin from our group gave a great commentary from the bridge on the way round.
The winds were now very light and the sea around the island, very calm. We rounded the South end looking at hauled out seals and headed along the West side where we encountered 5 Bottlenose Dolphin immediately after by some 20+ Common Dolphin, one of which came in to bow. Leaving the dolphins, we headed into Jenny's Cove to give those on board great views of the seabird colonies, especially the puffins. We continued to the North end then back along the East side taking in the sights and more seals and wildlife.
Distant Common Dolphin (Rick Morris)
We stayed on the boat in readiness for the sailing to Bideford and once everyone had boarded, left Lundy behind us. The return was spent with us looking for wildlife and although bird numbers were low, we did see Auks, Kittiwake, gulls, Gannet and Manx Shearwater. 3 Harbour Porpoise were seen and then shortly before reaching the sandbar at the Torridge and Taw estuary, around 6 Common Dolphin were seen at distance, some leaping clear of the water.
As we headed up the river Torridge, a Peregrine Falcon could be seen on one of the road bridge supports and Little Egret were seen roosting in the trees.
As we reached our mooring we said our farewells to the crew and made our way to the awaiting coach to take us back to Ilfracombe for the conclusion of this year's Lundy Adventure.
We thank all the attendees and staff/volunteers on Lundy, the shore office and crew of the 'Oldenburg'. A special thanks to Jason (Captain) for the support.
We hope to see some if not all of you in the future!
Rick, Glynis, Maya and Annette.
MARINElife would like to thank all the staff and volunteers, especially Dean (warden) for looking after us so well.
Rick Morris and Glynis Northwood-Long (Trainers). Maya Plass (ML Patron) and Annette Dutton (Assistant).