Portsmouth-Jersey survey 11 September
We parked our car on board and, as instructed, in an area not used for passengers disembarking, guided by the car parking marshals.
Becky, the Cabin Manager, warmly greeted us at reception and issued our cabin keys. She said that she would inform us as soon as the bridge became accessible for surveying. Before long we were given the all-clear and Captain Steven Leake and first officer Matt greeted us on the bridge.
Just as we had set up our paperwork, we immediately saw three Bottlenose Dolphin leaping high out of the water, a great start!
Meadow Pipit and Swallow were seen migrating although, during the first couple of hours, seabird sightings were sparse, apart from a few Gannet.
As Alderney came into view, we saw three separate large groups of Tuna.
In beautiful light we approached Guernsey, it had the look of a tropical Island! More Tuna were encountered giving the feel of much warmer seas. Just outside St Peter Port some slow-moving fins in a tight group revealed themselves to be ten Harbour Porpoise which included two juveniles. Three Arctic Skua were attacking a flock of Sandwich Tern and Balearic Shearwater were feeding over a Tuna boil, all quite spectacular.
The sea between Guernsey and Jersey was lovely and flat calm and as we neared Jersey two lots of Bottlenose Dolphin were seen, one group of ten put on a display in front of the bow. Lively Tuna again in evidence on this stretch.
We watched the captain manoeuvre the ship into the harbour and after thanking him made our way down from the bridge for dinner.
The overnight return crossing was in lovely smooth seas, and we arrived into Portsmouth on time at 6am.
Margaret and Steve Boswell Research Surveyors for MARINElife (Registered Charity No. 1110884; Registered Company No. 5057367)
Weather: light SW winds with no swell throughout
Summary of sightings:
Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 20
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 20
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 25
Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus 5
Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus 40
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 1
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
Gannet Morus bassanus 61
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 8
Guillemot Uria aalge 1
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 30
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 15
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis 13
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 2
Tern sp. 2
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis 7
Swallow Hirundo rustica 22