MARINElife blog: Condor Ferries ‘Commodore Goodwill’ Jersey-Portsmouth 6 December 2017

Carol Farmer-Wright; Research Surveyor for MARINElife
Weather: Wind SSW force 5-6. Visibility good, conditions dry but overcast.  Sea state 5-6 decreasing to 4 as we gained shelter from the Isle of Wight.

Summary of Sightings:
Marine Mammals
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 1

Seabirds
Gannet Morus bassanus 8
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 7
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 3
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 10
Guillemot Uria aalge 27

I arrived at Portsmouth Continental Ferry Terminal on Tuesday evening, had my ticket issued and was driven aboard the Commodore Goodwill. Having eaten a substantial dinner, I chatted with the other passengers on board before heading to my cabin for the outward crossing overnight.

Cormorant Peter Howlett 01

Cormorant (Peter Howlett)

We left St. Helier and headed out into the bay and I recorded Cormorant, a small group of Guillemot and a handful of Gannet and Kittiwake.  Sightings were sparse, the wind, a brisk south-south westerly started to create some white water, but the seas stayed at state 5 to 6 throughout the crossing.

An hour and a quarter in provided the only cetacean sighting of the day when I briefly glimpsed a dorsal fin proceeding down the port side of the ship, most likely a Bottlenose Dolphin.

A few more Guillemot were seen and some of the adults had already moulted into their breeding plumage.

Guillemot Peter Howlett 09

Guillemot (Peter Howlett)

With the shorter winter days, I concluded the survey in Sandown Bay and thanked Captain Wojciech Pielich, his officers and crew for their hospitality before heading ashore.