MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report: ‘Condor Liberation’ Poole-Guernsey 31 May 2017

MARINElife WLO: Chris Gleed-Owen

Weather: Mainly sunny but with sea fog on outward journey, with visibility down to 20m. Light winds, sea state 1-2.

Summary of sightings:

Seabirds
Fulmar
Gannet
Cormorant
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Black-headed Gull
Sandwich Tern
Guillemot

Following a cool overcast passage through Poole Harbour, the view of Old Harry and the Purbeck coastline drew the usual crowds to the viewing deck. The wildlife sightings were uneventful though, with only the occasional Gannet to keep us company.

There was quite a lot of interest from the passengers, and indeed from a team of Condor staff on a corporate trip to the Channel Islands. As always, I explained that seeing dolphins wasn't guaranteed, and they could easily be missed even if present.Liberation passengers Chris GleedOwen 01
Passengers enjoying the Dorset coast (Chris Gleed-Owen)

One lady described an extreme close-up of a large bird flying alongside her window below-deck for five minutes, and came to ask what type of bird it was (a Gannet). Another couple described how they'd seen a pod of dolphins following the ship for five minutes in February 2017. Similarly, Melissa from Condor had seen dolphins recently off Brittany, and most people had seen dolphins before, but by no means all.

We were enjoying blue skies and sunshine, until we hit a bank of sea fog after about an hour. This lasted for the next hour and a half, and there was little to see during most of the crossing. We even passed Alderney, the Casquets and the other smaller rocks without noticing them in the fog. The visibility only cleared reasonably well on the final ten-minute approach to Guernsey. No cetaceans seen, but a few Gannets and gulls about. Sea state was very pleasant for the whole crossing.

A pleasant sunny afternoon ashore was spent up the hill, in St Peter Port's Candie Park; a peaceful option if you want a change from the bustling town centre.

English Channel Chris GleedOwen 01
A beautiful day to cross the Channel (Chris Gleed-Owen)

The return leg began in sunshine with a favourable sea state. The usual range of seabirds accompanied the crossing, with an impressive display of Gannets around Ortac Rock. Unfortunately no cetaceans were seen though.

Many thanks to Condor Ferries for its hospitality once again.

If you like the sound of joining one of our trips down to Guernsey from Poole, then you can book online here. What's more, Condor Ferries will kindly donate £5 of the cost of your ticket to MARINElife!