Wildlife watching trips onboard Scillonian III
Cornwall Wildlife Trust will again be hosting guided wildlife watching trips on board Scillonian III this spring and summer, in partnership with the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company. A vast array of marine species were spotted during last year’s successful day trips, and it is hoped that this year will prove just as spectacular. The sailings to the Isles of Scilly are running on one Saturday per month (except July) starting on 21st April.
Naturalist Paul Semmens, who has worked with Cornwall Wildlife Trust for more than 20 years, will be your marine guide on these special trips, looking out for wildlife on the crossing. Springtime visitors may see puffins as well as the more common Manx shearwaters and storm petrels. Harbour porpoises, common and bottle-nose dolphins, sun fish and sea birds are regularly spotted from the ship and occasionally minke whales. If the seas are warm and calm you may even spot basking sharks.
“Scillonian III is a wonderful vessel to view wildlife from. Whether it is close encounters with a good variety of seabirds or the chance to see some of our marine megafauna. This year will be my fourth year as a surveyor for Cornwall Wildlife Trust and so far I have recorded more than 3000 dolphin sightings!”
“The season got off to a good start so far with a few harbour porpoises and a large school of common dolphins numbering between 100 and 150 animals. The sea is a lot warmer than it was this time last year so that should hopefully bring more sightings.”
These special trips sail from Penzance and take in the Cornish coastline as quaint fishing coves, the world renowned open air Minack Theatre, and the Land’s End peninsula slip quietly by. As the ship heads out to Scilly, wildlife spotters can be treated to a huge variety of birds including; Manx shearwaters, razorbills, guillemots, puffin.
The coast between Mousehole and Gwennap Head is a hotspot for basking shark sightings as the sea warms up. At more than 10 metres in length they are an impressive sight. A scan of Mousehole Island at low tide and you should guarantee a view of the grey seals resting on the rocks. Heading out past Land’s End, schools of common dolphins are often encountered. Harbour porpoises, Risso’s dolphins and orcas are also spotted, plus storm petrels and ocean sunfish.
“These strange looking fish can be in excess of two metres across in these waters and one of the best ways to spot them is to look for gulls swimming. They often peck parasites from the fish as it swims just below the surface.”
Shelley Fletcher, Marketing Manager at the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company said, “The wildlife watching tips with Paul are always extremely popular so we are thrilled to be launching a series of sailings throughout 2012.
“It’s a great way to make the most of your time at sea during your journey to the Isles of Scilly and Paul always makes the trips informative. He is extremely knowledgeable and has a keen eye so you’re sure to spot some great wildlife on the trip. Make sure you book early so you don’t miss out.”
The Trust is working with Isles of Scilly Steamship Company to offer a special discount on their ever-popular wildlife watching trips.
Dates of wildlife trips 2012
- Saturday 21st April, departing Penzance at 9.15am and departing St Mary's at 4.30pm
- Saturday 12th May, departing Penzance at 9.15am and departing St Mary's at 4.30pm
- Saturday 9th June, departing Penzance at 6.30am and departing St Mary's at 5pm
- Saturday 18th August, departing Penzance at 10.30am and departing St Mary's at 3pm
- Saturday 15th September, departing Penzance at 9.15am and departing St Mary's at 4.30pm
- Saturday 13th October, departing Penzance at 9.15am and departing St Mary's at 4.30pm
To book your ticket please call 0845 710 5555 and quote WL001 to qualify for the discounted price of £30 return (normally £35). Visit www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/whatson for more information.
The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company are proud supporters of the Trust’s Basking Shark project and Wild Penwith project. During 2012 anyone travelling on Skybus or Scillonian III for more than a day trip can benefit from a year’s free membership to either Cornwall Wildlife Trust or The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust.