Best year yet for marine wildlife sightings off the Scillonian!
During the 2012 summer season, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust have had a marine wildlife guide, Paul Semmens, onboard the Scillonian. Paul is onboard at least once a week between April and the end of October 2012. He surveys the route from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly, looking for the wonderful sharks, dolphins and whales that visit our Cornish waters, as well as showing the passengers these brilliant creatures. And great news, there was lots to see! During the 2012 season 1554 animals were recorded, a record year so far! These records consisted of ;
379 Harbour Porpoise
1064 Common Dolphin
19 Bottlenose Dolphin
23 Risso's Dolphin
19 Minke Whale
2 unidentified cetacean species
3 Leatherback Turtle
24 Basking Shark
21 Ocean Sunfish
Paul states 'In the 4 years during which I have been onboard it was great to have my best year yet. This was particularly special in a summer with very unsettled weather. There was a huge increase in harbour porpoises, a species that are not easy to spot in all but the calmest conditions. There has been a definite inshore movement of this species, as well common dolphins, probably in response to shoals of small bait fish. '
Paul continues 'It was great to see leatherback turtles this year. Huge beasts that can grow to seven foot long. It has been a record year in Cornish waters for this species with many sightings all around the coast. As we approached autumn we had regular sightings of minke whales and Risso's dolphins especially as we drew near the Isles of Scilly. I would like to thank the crew and Isles of Scilly Travel staff for their continuing support of this project as we continue to build up a substantial database on the distribution of marine megafauna. The Scillonian is a great platform from which to look for these exciting animals and it is unusual not to see dolphins or porpoises on a crossing.'
Jackie Hayman, Marketing Manager at the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company said, ďThe wildlife watching tips with Paul are always extremely popular so we are thrilled to be launching a series of sailings throughout 2013.
ďItís 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 youíre sure to spot some great wildlife on the trip. Make sure you book early so you donít miss out.Ē
For more information about Paulís sightings and to view his blog please see http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/livingseas/scillonian_III_wildlife_sightings