MARINElife Wildlife Officer trip from Ilfracombe to Lundy Island 7th of May 2016.

I arrived in Ilfracombe at 9:30am for my second Lundy trip of 2016 where the weather was dry and cloudy. I collected my ticket from the Landmark Trust office and proceeded to board the MS Oldenburg. Upon making my way up to the bridge I was welcomed on-board by Jason the ship’s Captain. 

Entering the bridge’s office I met up with Fiona and Liz who were on board to do this month’s survey. Following introductions I left and proceeded to start my tour around the upper and lower decks introducing myself to the passengers. 

As the Oldenburg got under way I started to chat to many passengers about the possibility of seeing cetaceans. It’s always a great moment when you explain to passengers that there is a good chance of spotting Dolphin, Porpoise, Seal and much more. The ones I did speak to were very interested in the work of MARINElife and took a leaflet with a view to logging on to the website and to hopefully support the charity in the future.

One of the passengers was Charles who also volunteers for MARINElife whom I met last year when he did a Lundy survey. Charles was going to the island and staying for a number of days to do university research work relating to the Lundy Seals, a lucky opportunity indeed.

Assisting passengers with Cetaceans awareness
As the ship passed Morte Point on the mainland we had our first sightings of Harbour Porpoises. Two animals about five minutes apart. During the crossing there was lots of trees and large branches floating by, one in the distance even looked like a tail fluke which got everyone’s attention for a few seconds, sadly if was just another remains of a tree! 

Birds of note were Manx Shearwater and Gannet along with Guillemot and Razorbill rafting as the ship passed them by. The usual common gulls were seen along with Kittiwake and Fulmar.

Manx Shearwaters
 As the Oldenburg made its way slowly towards the landing bay there was no sign of any Seals on the rocks, however I did see one before returning to the ship. As the 208 passengers disembarked, they began making their way up to the higher levels. I joined up with Fiona and Liz and we had lunch outside the island’s shop. As Liz hadn’t seen Puffins before we took the central track towards halfway wall, arriving at Jenny’s Cove, I got my scope on to a total of fifteen Puffins both on the rocks and rafting on the sea. While we enjoyed the many birds and the stunning view we managed to assist over sixteen people in getting to see their very first Puffin. 

After a good hours spotting we began our walk back to meet up with Fiona for a cold drink in the Marisco Tavern, as we did, we saw Skylark, Meadow Pipit and many beautiful Wheatear.

Whilst walking back, the islands Sika Deer were spotted in a small group, the Lundy Ponies were grazing as to were the Highland Cattle. Other animals observed were the usual sheep and wild goats. 

Sika Deer
 The crossing back to Ilfracombe was a pleasant one and I got to chat to more people about MARINElife and I’m sure that there will certainly be a few Lundy day trippers looking to attend one of the training days that are organised for 2016.

Grey Seal
 Before disembarking I thanked Jason the Captain for his and his crews’ continued support for MARINElife. I look forward to my next trip in June.

Sea species seen were;

Common Dolphin 1, Harbour Porpoise 4, Grey Seal 1.

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