MARINElife Training Survey Report: Condor Ferries ‘Liberation’ Poole-Jersey 18 July 2018

Glynis Northwood-Long; MARINElife Wildlife Officer joined by WLO's Darren Hughes, Christine Roberts and Donna Bridgwood
Weather: Outward - sunny intervals with good visibility and wind SW 3 or 4.  Return - mainly sunny with slightly less wind W 1-3 and good visibility.

Marine Mammals:
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 18-20 including at least 3 calves
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 6

Seabirds:
Manx Shearwater
Guillemot
Gannet
Mediterranean Gull
Common Tern
Sandwich Tern
Black Headed Gull
Cormorant
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
European Shag

I met with Darren, Christine and Donna at the ferry terminal as they were joining me for a refresher/training day.

After a quick check-in, we were soon boarding the Liberation and headed up to the upper viewing deck to take advantage of the journey through Poole harbour.

As we sailed passed Brownsea Island lagoon we were able to point out a variety of seabirds and terrestrial birds. We left Poole Harbour, passing Old Harry Rocks and chatted to passengers about the wildlife that we may encounter.

Old Harry Rocks_Glynis NL

Old Harry Rocks (Glynis Northwood-Long)

Just north of Alderney, a shout of 'Dolphins!' went out and we pointed out a pod of Common Dolphin in the wake. From their varying sizes, we were able to identify 3 calves amongst the pod. As they disappeared from view, there was a buzz of excitement from the passengers on deck and nearer to Guernsey, their enthusiasm was rewarded once again when another smaller pod was spotted, this time they were Bottlenose Dolphin!

We arrived in Guernsey on time and in glorious sunshine. In fact, the weather was so good that in our time ashore we decided to explore the sea pools of La Valette, just a short walk away from the port. Christine enjoyed a swim just offshore, whilst we paddled in the sea pools themselves. What a treat! The water was warm and so clear with an abundance of marine life to see, even a lone blue jellyfish in one of the pools. Lunch followed in a cafe overlooking the pools and the harbour, then shopping and a relaxed stroll to the ship to begin the return leg of our journey.

La Valette Pools_Glynis NL

La Valette Pools (Glynis Northwood-Long)

Back on the Liberation, the Captain informed us that a pod of dolphin had been sighted as they approached from Jersey and because tidal conditions allowed, we would be departing from Guernsey back along the channel called Big Russell (Grand Roussell) in the hope of seeing them again. So, we headed back up to the viewing deck and were joined by more interested passengers. Unfortunately, the pod of dolphin proved elusive on this leg of the journey, but we did get some more spectacular views of the Gannet colony highlighted by the sun.

WLOs on Deck Glynis Northwood Long

Wildlife Officers (Glynis Northwood-Long)

The four of us remained hopeful of spotting more cetaceans on our return journey but as we sailed back passed Old Harry Rocks towards Poole, the sun set behind the clouds and the light faded.

Thanks to Condor Ferries and the crew of the Condor Liberation for making us welcome on board and for their support to MARINElife and also thanks to Darren, Christine and Donna for joining me.