September with the warmth of August

Well we are finally into September, but things are still warm and interesting!

We have had an amazing season of sightings – jellyfish, basking sharks, and 100′s of common dolphins. The large numbers usually slow down in September, but there is still plenty to see – and with the temperatures still good and the warm Gulf Stream coming up from Florida – we are looking forward to spotting a wide variety of sea life and birds.

We will be running our usual trips over the Autumn, or alternatively give Rory a call on 07971 540 280 and discuss what you’re looking for – and he’ll see what’s possible. Elemental Tours are still working closely with their partners at the Shark Trust and Cornwall Wildlife Trust to monitor sightings, behaviours and take part in rescues.

If you want to learn more about whales, dolphins, seals, sharks and ocean sunfish – why not join the Wildlife Trust for their Seaquest public sea watch at Hella Point near Porthgwarra on the 4th September. Don’t forget to take binoculars – both the wildlife and the view are amazing!

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

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What a day out?

Yesterday, our day out started with an Atlantic Grey Seal, continued with an Ocean Sunfish, exploded with a hundred or more Common Dolphins, leaping and bow riding around the boat, and climaxed with three of the second largest fish in the world, the mighty Basking Shark!

The best thing was seeing the dolphin formations at such close quarters for such a sustained amount of time. They were obviously feeding but seemed to take special time out to come and bow ride with us for periods. Young dolphins appeared to swim together as a creche group with adult out-riders swimming alongside on the mega pod’s outer fringes. The energy was electric with dozens of gannets swirling and plummeting all  around.

What a day’s wildlife sighting, and all on a trip we thought would never happen, as the wind was getting up. Cornwall throws up her bounty once again!

A big thank you too, to all our customers who’ve taken the time to give us a review on Trip Advisor or likes and comments on Facebook.  Been getting some great feedback which all helps to make sure we’re here for you if you’re looking for another wild sea adventure next season!

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.

Wow! Cetaceans galore.(Whales and Dolphins)

Breaching Orca whale

Breaching Orca - image source :

We’ve just had a visit from one of our local leading naturalist friends who came to report her sighting of a male Orca (killer whale) breaching off the South Coast this morning at about 9.30am. As one of Penwith’s most committed and experienced marine watchers she immediately knew what she had seen.

Despite the glare from the morning sun; the size, shape, colouration and almost vertical dorsal fin made the whale quite distinct, despite it only being a fleeting view. Frustratingly, although she scanned for quite some time afterwards she didn’t see any signs of it above the surface after the breach. If anyone else out, there saw an Orca this morning – we’d love to hear about it.

Orca (Orcinus orca)

Interesting fact. An Orca, commonly known as a Killer Whale or Orca Whale is in fact a is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family. Killer whales are found in all oceans, from the frigid Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas.