First Basking Shark of 2013

The first basking shark of the year has been spotted in West Cornwall waters.   Arriving a little later than usual the gentle giant was seen swimming off Porthcurno last week.

Believed to be a young shark, stretching just two metres compared to up to 12 metres for a fully grown animal, it was a welcome sight for spotters.  “It is very exciting, every year I can’t wait to see them,” said Rory Goodall, from Elemental Tours in Penzance, who collates information on shark sightings.

“You see the same animals year after year and can tell them apart because each one has distinguishing marks.”   Mr Goodall said that thanks to the chilly winter it had taken a little longer than normal to see the tell tale fins appear in our waters. The first basking shark was seen in Cornwall on March 8 last year.   “The sea temperature has been down which has stopped the growth of plankton, the food they eat,” he said.   All basking shark sightings are added to a data base and handed over to the Shark Trust and Cornwall Wildlife Trust.   “It is all to do with conservation,” he said.   “Globally basking sharks are threatened so we like to make a note of each one we have seen so we know what they are doing, how many there are and things like that.”

If you spot a basking shark the best advice is not to disturb it but view it from a safe distance.   For more information and to log a sighting, visit www.baskingsharks.org

Read more: http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk

Winter is officially here

With winter definitely laying claim to the ocean – we have taken our R.I.B (Rigid Inflatable Boat) out of the water for its annual ‘care and repair’.

Sometimes I feel like I need one of those too.

She’ll be ship-shape and ready to be put back in the water in March. Until then the focus is much more on Overland Safaris and some lovely crispy explorations of the West Cornwall Coast.

Why not book one as a Christmas present…

The beat goes on….

So July heads out as it came in, variable, but mostly good weather, especially if compared to the previous two months. It kick-started the plankton, and set the pulse of the ocean racing again, setting off a plethora of fabulous wildlife sightings, which included Minke whales, Leatherback turtles, and a whole range of Jellyfish for them to feed on. Our resident Bottlenose dolphins where seen on a number of occasions, along with hundreds of Common dolphins, and their smaller cousins, the Harbour porpoise. Basking sharks made a good showing, albeit somewhat later than in other years, with almost daily sightings in the West Cornwall area. Ocean Sunfish numbers seemed to be up during the month, we recorded at least one and sometimes two on most trips!.

So dry review over……sounds bit like a shipping forecast doesn’t it …what else did we do? We’ve been so busy doing, it’s hard to keep up with the digital. Firstly we’re going to have to mention our great snorkelling encounters including one with Cat from the SharkTrust who came out to test and fine tune the Basking Shark Code of Conduct first hand. She managed to record a great little underwater film on the day. We haven’t managed to master the upload technology yet but watch this space…
meantime…here’re some happy customers from the same trip.

 

So boom boom, the beat goes on….how are things looking for August?..Well the weather forecast for the next few days does not bode well for the start of the month, but hey, there’s still plenty of time for improvement!
Fingers crossed for more great days out in Cornwall, and more, much more fantastic marine and land wildlife discovery.

Foodchain Frenzy

Here they come….wow, that was a bit quick…….ahh..beauty,.. Got it !!
Common Dolphins,  faster than the speed of my trigger challenged digital delay.

Fantastic sightings lately.

On a Shark Watch & Snorkeling Special  on Sunday it seemed the whole ecosystem kicked into action just for us, when the sun came out for a while, between heavy dark rain cloud and mist. Started with sighting large areas of plankton bloom on the surface of the waters around Lands End. This was followed by lots of larger species of jelly fish, followed closely with our first Basking Shark sighting, out of four on the day.  The animals appeared in relaxed mood and we were able to watch them for quite some time. On our return we were suddenly bowled over by what could have been a  feeding frenzy of enthusiastic proportions. Firstly 2 small pods of porpoise, then two separate pods of Common Dolphins, spread two miles apart. Up to twenty in each, jumping and spinning and bow riding the boat, with Gulls and Gannets wheeling overhead, to the beat of the ocean herders. And with an Ocean Sunfish too. We got it all!
The looks on our passengers faces as we cruised into port? Total bliss and wonder!