Monday, 8 July 2013

A long haul north with Seabirds and Seals

Yesterday I had the chance of a long trip north on the Dunter III of Seabirds and Seals. It was an early 7am start from Bressay to go up to collect passengers from Toft Pier for what was to be a fantastic sightseeing and wildlife spotting trip up the east coast of Yell and Unst on the way to Muckle Flugga at the far north of Shetland and the UK.

Sadly we didn't actually make Muckle Flugga as the Skaw Röst was a bit much for some of those on board, which included a young baby, so the sensible decision was to call it aday half way round the Skaw headland; we'd only have to come back through the tidal race with big seas on the west of Shetland. Never the less we had a cracking day popping into countless bays and geos to look at seabirds and seals close up in their natural habitat and we did see the Flugga from  distance.  We slowly cruised along deserted beaches and un-inhabited islands with the very knowledgable commentry of the boats owner, Jonathan Wills, filling us in on both the social and natural history of the many places we visited. By the time I got back to Lerwick at nearly 8pm I was exhausted, wind and salt burned, but elated. What a day!

Here's Hoo stack as we motored up to Toft to pick up the clients. I didn't take many scenic photos as the wind and spray weren't conducive when we were motoring along, but the scenery is outstanding and the lounge of the boat is spacious enough to enjoy it in comfort if you don't want the wind in your hair...


My friend Tom taking his turn at the wheel on the long trip...


Part of the trip involved counting seals on the various skerries, island and beaches we passed and there were lots to count...


Puffins, razor bills,gannets, black, bridled and normal guillemots were everywhere ,as were shags, various divers and a range of gulls along with great and arctic skuas.

Here's a few guillemots and razorbills looking like they could be chatting about the best fishing spots...


Shags still had some young to fledge...


And it was nice to see that the kittiwakes did too with a few busy colonies along the coast...



Gannets soared around looking for fish and doing their dramatic dives...


And  flocks of terns fished in the shallows. This one is green with reflections off the shallow water at the narrows of The Yei that almost connects the isle of Huney to the east coast of Unst. The water was so inviting...


It was a busy weekend that was finsihed off with this day out. I'll have to work in reverse to report on the Noss Open Day and also Scalloway Gala, of which Beren's nursery, Hame Fae Hame, won the prize for best float...

No comments:

Post a Comment