Sunday, 19 November 2017

November Update

So far it has been really good throughout November and we have still been getting out on the water which is really good for the time of the year.
We are still seeing loads too and with the seal pupping season in full swing now its still worth going out.

We have seen a good few things over the last few weeks with a nice woodcock at the Longstone Island and of course we have seen the Black Guillemot a few times.
We have seen a single Bottlenose Dolphin as well and a pod of 30 which is always good. This has to be the best year for the dolphins and we are still seeing them too. I will leave that for another blog post.

We also saw a single puffin just as we approached the islands and we also spotted a single Great Northern Diver on the way out of the harbour. I do love the divers and its not very often we get to see them so close either. We have a good few lingering Guillemots at this time of the year to and we even saw one on the rocks the other day. Its also the time of the year for Little Auks but I have only managed to see a few so far this year.

I have also been taking divers out and they are having some great fun with the seals are they are very playful at this time of the year. What we don't tell the divers is that they are really horny too. Shhh I did not say that...

I suppose at this time of the year its all about the seal pups and the rangers have been out and about doing their seal counts. The last time they were out the numbers were up to 1497 so they are on the way to breaking the record but that will all depend on the weather and the seals themselves. Hopefully it will be a good season even if they don't break the farnes record.

Hopefully I will do a few more blog posts before I tell you all some exciting news. Watch (Read) this space.

Thank you once again for reading this blog and I do hope we are keeping you all up to date with what's happening around the Farnes.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Black Guillemot

What a week we have just had. It all started on the 24th October with a Humpback Whale, then on the 25th a Albino Seal and a Red-Necked Grebe and now a Black Guillemot. I know Northumberland is getting some good birds lately and a Black Guillemot is not at the top of the list but its really nice to see and its the first time Andy has seen one in winter plumage too.

Lets hope our good luck continues and we get a chance to see something mega just like the humpback whale

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Albino Seal

It started 3 years ago when we first saw this rare albino seal and now I'm starting to get really curious.
Where does it come from? Why does it return roughly the same time and the same place for the last 3 years?
I have so many questions that need answered, so I need to start investigating a little bit more into this one and if you are reading this post and know something then please get in touch.

Its funny as I was in the middle of my speech about the seals when I saw this white seal swimming under the surface and my first thoughts were that the visibility was very clear and it must be brilliant for the divers to play with the seals.

I looked across at Andy and he said the same thing. He also asked if I had seen the seal that was very white in colour. I was just about to say yes when it came to the surface.
We both looked at each other said its the albino seal at the same time and then we quickly told our guests about this beautiful mammal.

This was 3 years on the trot and it still amazes me that it has not past away, as I was always under the impression that albino's struggle to survive as they either get bullied or just pushed to one side, but this fella seemed to be very relaxed with all the other seals. In fact it was really relaxed with the boat too and I have to say that this was the first time that it came close to the boat with not a worry at all and gave myself and a few others great opportunities to get some good pictures.

If I don't see it again this year then I pray I will see it again next year and in the meantime I hope to find out as much as I can about the wonderful mammal.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Humpback Whale

On Tuesday 24th October we left the harbour at 10.15am with handful of passengers on board the boat.
Its the start of the seal season and children on board were excited to see the new born pups. Saying that I think some of the adults were just as excited as the kids were.
The weather was ok but you can feel that winter is not far away from us now as the temperature out at sea is starting to drop so the 1.5 hour trip is just enough for the kids before they start getting to cold.

We were on our way to see the seals which were on the north side of Big Harcar not far from the Longstone Lighthouse when all of a sudden Andy my crewman jumped out of his seat screaming a whale has just breached in front of us.
We both ran outside and told our guests that we have just seen a whale breach in front of the boat. I had hardly got the words out of my mouth when it happened again. It happened so quick that we did not even get a chance to get a picture or a video but we both looked at each other and said WOW.
In all my years at the Farnes I have never seen anything like it. To see anything kind of whale is amazing but to see a Humpback Whale breach clean out of the water in front of the boat was.... in fact is..... the best thing I have ever seen.
I was shaking like a leaf and I thought Andy was going to have a heart attack. Not all of our guests seen this wonder but most of them did and they were smiling from ear to ear.

To see such a wonderful creature in our waters around the Farne Islands will be something myself and Andy will never ever forget and when we talked about it today it was all over in about 30 seconds but it was the best 30 seconds ever.

This is not my picture but its just to show you what we saw and what a fantastic record for the Farnes

Monday, 9 October 2017

Pupping season begins

Today we not only saw the 1st seal pup on the rocks but we also spotted a 2nd one.

Finally the seal season is underway and lets hope it's another good one like last year.
A few weeks ago my brother spotted one on the Longstone Island but unfortunately it had pasted away, which was such a crying shame as it looked big too and the weather had not been bad at all but I suppose that's nature for you. 

Anyway the ones we saw today looked in better health and one was even feeding from its mother and the other looked a good bit bigger so it must be a good few days old.

Exciting times are now ahead of us and I love seeing the pups as they are really cute so lets hope they all go up and live long and healthy lives.

It will not be long before they are playing with the divers and showing off to our guests on board Serenity.

We also have been spotting a good few tags this year but once again they are not the best and the numbers rub off which is really annoying. Never mind we still have got a few. Andy my crewman spotted this one today which was a great spot too.

A few of last years pups were enjoying the little bit of sunshine too. These little fella's are about 10/11 months old now and enjoying life to its fullest. 

Once again thank you for reading this blog 


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Little and Large

Over the years I have seen the Great Skua beating up seabirds for their food and I have heard stories about the picking on other seabirds no matter what size, but I have never witnessed it myself until the other day when I spotted a Great Skua on the water then all of a sudden it launched itself into the air and started to attack a Gannet.

The size of a gannet to a skua is a bit like little and large but this great skua was just thinking about its next meal and the size of the gannet never seemed to bother it a all.
I have said in a few posts before how I admire the skuas for their cheek but to take on a gannet I have to take me hat off it this wonderful bird.
It was a bit like watching Frank Bruno and Mike Tyson in the heavy weight title fight and we just knew Tyson would win but this time the tables had turned and the Gannet put up a great fight and deafened his corner. With skill and determination the gannet was not to give up his food for no seabird, no matter how strong they were and this time the gannet won and the skua was shattered and have to give up.

After watching the action for a while we were heading into choppy water, so I turned the boat and steamed back into calm waters and by then the gannet was gone and the skua was just getting its breath back. As we reached calmer waters I had a little smile on my face and could not wait to see the pictures of the fight.

I hope my pictures show you what I mean, so enjoy.

Thank you once again for reading our blog and I do hope you enjoy it...


Thursday, 21 September 2017

Sunset Cruise 2017

We have now finally had our last sunset cruise for the season and boy was it a beauty. We had finished a week ago but the weather was not the best so when we saw the forecast for Tuesday we decided to give it another go and hopefully we will finish with a bang.
This season has been very mixed weather wise but the sunset cruises have sometimes been the best part of the day and this is one of the reason why its a special trip for me.
This season has been a little bit better as I have had a new crew member joining me twice a week for the sunset cruises and a few other trips of course and he is new to everything from boats to the seabirds. Teaching him has been a pleasure and he is very willing to learn too which is great and makes my job even more of an enjoyment. 
Our guests keep on asking where is he from as they don't want to their size nine's right in it. Yep he is an Ozzy and not from New Zealand and that's why most people ask first.
I keep on taking the piss and say that he got on the wrong boat but I think the best one he has had this year so far was a man asking him, how long have you been practicing the Ozzy accent. He just replied 27 years mate... To this day I think the man still thinks he was taking the piss out of him.

So with a new crewman on board the sunsets have been really kind to us and he has been blown away with some cracking ones this season and yes our last one was a mega one too.

We could not have finished on a higher note than we did. We had some lovely guests on board with first timers to the farnes and some locals too. Its really nice to see locals on board and I think more locals should come on board just to see whats its like. I would like to thank everyone who has joined us this year on the sunsets and a bigger thank you to all the people who have recommended their guests, friends or family to join us too.
I would also like to thank my Facebook and Twitter friends who keep on sharing my sunset pictures as if it where not for you people might not know we do it, so thank you.

Okay I have talked enough now so i will finish of with some of my favorite pictures from the season and please let me know which one you like the best. Mine are number 6 and 21.


Thank you once again for reading this blog and I hope I have wetted your appetite for next season.