Our MARINElife/Lundy Adventures: 6 day workshop ran from the 28th June - 3rd July 2018. MARINElife Trainers Rick Morris and Glynis Northwood-Long, along with our patron, Maya Plass, were on hand to provide a marine-filled experience for our attendees....
We all met at Ilfracombe Harbour and proceeded to board the grand old lady, 'MS Oldenburg', now 60 years old and still going strong. Plenty of seabird species were seen on the crossing, as well as a small group of Common Dolphins, which always delights those passengers on board.
Arriving at the Landing Jetty in glorious sunshine, we made our way up to the village to await entry to our accommodation. Once the group had settled in, Rick introduced himself, Maya, Glynis, and Dean Woodfin Jones (Warden). After a brief about Lundy and the surrounding shore, the group were left to have some free time before heading over to the 'Battery' to watch the sunset.
After breakfast, we began the MARINElife/Lundy identification course on whales, dolphins, seals, and seabirds that may be seen around Lundy and the UK.
On the day of our arrival Rick spotted a familiar face; Andrew, Skipper of 'Obsession II' and so it was arranged for the group to have some at-sea training, kindly provided by Andrew. This was done after the classroom training in the evening, and the group enjoyed some fantastic close-ups of Seals, Puffins, Razorbills, Guillemots, and other seabirds, as well as outstanding views of Lundy from the sea.
In the morning, we took the group over to Jenny's Cove for a sea watch, and saw the nesting Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmars, and gulls. Back at base, and after a spot of lunch, Maya took the group for a rock pooling session down in Devil's Kitchen. Some species seen there included Barnacles, Limpets, and Dog Whelks, as well as Pipefish, Clingfish, Starfish, and five species of crab.
Rick stayed behind due to a knee problem, and processed some of the images taken from the previous days 'round island' boat trip. These were put into a presentation, and shown to the group after our evening meal. As we ran through the slides, we asked the group to identify the species seen, which they did very well.
In the evening, we waited for the last light to disappear, and headed down to the 'Ugly', which is a great spot to sit quietly and wait for the Manx Shearwaters to come to their nesting sites. You don't see these birds, as they wait until nightfall as they'll be predated on in daylight, but instead you listen to their eerie calls as they fly near, and sometimes, overhead.
Although rain had been forecast, it started out dry, and so we went down to the 'Old Castle' for another sea watch, and to give advice on binoculars and spotting scopes, and on how we conduct our survey's, and the use of the rangefinder sticks we make.
One of the group had purchased a Lundy Letterbox kit, and so as the rain came in, we packed the equipment away, and then most of the group went off to find some letterboxes.
Rick and Glynis went back to the accommodation to meet Dean, Lundy's warden who'd kindly offered to take our snorkelling kit down to the Landing Bay in the Landrover, as we needed to check sea conditions. Unfortunately, visibility in the water wasn't great, so we decided to hold off until the following day
Today was planned an all-day walk along the East coast to count seals, and then a continuation to the North end to take in the North Lighthouse and views. As we needed to get the snorkelling in, we decided to instead take a shorter walk, still along the East side, but only as far as 'Brazen Ward'. The tide was still fairly high for the seals to have hauled out during the walk, but we still managed to see 12 individuals along the way.
Regrouping back at the accommodation, we headed down to the Landing Bay in the afternoon to meet Dean for our snorkel safari.
Glynis had brought her inflatable kayak over especially for this, and after inflating, set about acting as extra safety for the group. Glynis also kindly offered the chance of a paddle on it afterwards to those who wanted to try it.
We had also arranged to have the MARINElife pub quiz in the Marisco Tavern at 9pm, and we had a very good attendance from others that were staying on the island. The pub quiz always goes down well, and this one was no exception, with all having a great time.
All too quickly we had arrived at the last day of our fabulous time on the island, and we spent it by taking in the views of the West side of the island; walking all the way up to the 'North Lighthouse'. Here, the group were afforded great views looking out to Wales, and of seals clearly seen swimming in the sea below. During the walk there and back, some of the last Lundy Letterboxes were discovered.
We had arranged for everyone to meet down at the 'Landing Jetty' at 5.30pm, but most went down earlier to have a final look around the rock pools, and to try to find one of the last letterboxes.
Under blue skies, we boarded the 'MS Oldenburg' at around 6pm for the journey back to Bideford. Although the sea state was fairly good, no dolphins or porpoises were seen, but there were good sightings of birds.
A coach was laid on for us, as we needed to get back to Ilfracombe to collect our cars, and once all the luggage was off the coach, we said our farewells.
This was an awesome trip with a truly brilliant group of participants, and we hope some will become involved in MARINElife's work.
Rick Morris, Maya Plass and Glynis Northwood-Long (Trainers)
You can also see a short clip video of the weekend's highlights over on our Facebook page here.
If this sounded like something you'd like to do too, then know that our unique Lundy Adventure in 2019 will run 29th June to 4th July. If you want to be the first to know when we're taking bookings, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to the Lundy preferential mailing list.