The weather in Newquay has been rather challenging this week but it didn't put off a group of stags who stayed the course and caught a dozen Pollack , a dozen Cod , plus plenty of Mackerel for a fishtastic Bar-B-Que later .Hope this is a good omen for a long and happy marriage. Thanks to Matt ( Howler) for putting the trip together.
What an awesome day today…Summer was here!! Three cheers for sunny days I met up with St Agnes VMCA volunteers and Cornwall Wildlife Trust staff, Matt Slater and Nicki , to help spread the word about how amazing our Cornish Marine Life is. We shared the fun of Rockpool Rambles, making Marine Art from beach litter, marine art craft, Cornwall Seal Group and Story telling and too much more to mention. Blue skies and warm Cornish sunshine blessed us as families and friends learned about the local fishermen who pot for Lobsters and Cornish Crab. Matt and John delivered a superb lecture about the sustainability of the Cornish potting fleet and how we should all support this wonderful industry thet provides fresh food for us with minimal impact to the marine environment. At present much of the Spider crab is sold abroad as there is a keen market for it there, BUT its a sweet tasting crustacean…kind of a cross between crab and lobster and Matt suggested we try it and champion it as our own home grown Cornish delicacy…..yummy, I know I love it!!…Try It. and support our local fleet.
The Rockpool Ramble found….Cushion Stars, Strawberry Sea Anenomes,Bull Huss Mermaid's Purses, Five Beard Rocklings of various ages,Brittle Stars, Purple Top Shells, and multiple crab varieties as well as spiney Star Fish, a Flat Fish, Sea Slaters , all varieties of seaweeds and loads more.
Families and friends created Marine Art made from marine litter, Marine crafts from Jean's excellent selection of interesting things, listened to story telling and Cornwall seal group Sue sayer and Kate, taught us the perils of netting rubbish to grey seals and how they live painfully with net entanglement..good reason to pick up beach garbage as we go along…thanks to all today for helping to premote how amazing our marine environment is and how we can protect it but most of all to support the Marien Conservation Zones , so that future generations can enjoy days like today.
A special thanks to Chris …the new VMCA Ranger who fit us inbetween his night shift….now there's dedication!!
Spring has definitely sprung….A pod of 11 Bottlenose dolphins complete with three juveniles frollacked in the early morning Cornish Spring Sunshine in Newquay bay…”The Coast of Dreams ” early this morning. “Atlantic Diver” was out filming with the BBC for the upcoming Basking Shark season when a pod of our Celtic Bottlenose Dolphins surfaced, leaping out of the water, bubble blowing and tail slapping as they hunted in the bay.
They came over and surfed the Catamaran’s twin hulls before returning to the rest of the pod who were seriously hunting fish. The three youngsters then played across our bow while we were stopped while the adults were busy at the job of foraging for food. The inshore pod played with us yestsrday morning as our son Ben fished for lobster and crab off his catamaran “Atlantic Voyager” and followed him all the way out to a popular reef. Delighted sea safari passengers saw them again off Newquay Headland when one of the larger males powered over to us mid hunt aand still had a fish in his mouth…”Er….that would be …finish your food before you leave the table then !”..it was fintastic!!!! I
This little dolphin was already rake marked
LOOOve dolphins . All of our sightings are recored and sent to Cornwall Wildlife Trust .
For more of what we do during the winter please read on…The above pic is of a seal Chris , Kate, Kate’s mum and I rescued earlier this winter season. He was named “Basil Fawlty “by the Animal Care Team Staff at Gweek National Seal Sanctuary who have done a superb job of caring for him. He was called this because of his enormous swollen head( faulty head) he had from head injuries he received perhaps from rough seas and rocks or possible bite injury. Click here to see how he is progressing and hear more of his story…
Chris and I are both British Divers Marine Life Rescue Marine Mammal Medics and throughout the year but particuarly in the Winter season (which is Grey Seal Pupping time) we are on call as volunteers ,alongside a whole team of superb medics in the Cornwall area to attend Marine Mammal rescues. Here follows one day in our diary ….On a freezing cold day in January on a windy beach a lone seal pup hauls out at the high tide line and lies exhausted and dehydrated …too tired to make it back to the sea. He is now vulnerable to dog attack and major disturbance…Fortunately a member of the public call British Divers Marine Life Rescue and describe the state of the pup then wait for medics to arrive., keeping themselves and dogs back out of the way so they do not scare the pup. Philip and Lewis, 2 new recruits ,arrive first, amid a heavy shower of hail stones and assess the seal’s condition. Phillip takes the sharp end whist we take his temperature and assess his wounds. Dave Jarvis our senior medic indicates the seal needs treatment. We very carefully place the seal into a specially designed BDMLR seal bag being careful not to get bitten and carry him back across the beach.(NB..NEVER attempt to rescue a seal yourselves this could be very dangerous for both you and the seal…please follow the BDMLR advice:
to call BDMLR: BDMLR hotline: 01825 765546 (office hours) or 07787 433412 (out of hours)
Once safely removed from beach the seal pup is made more comfortable in a larger transportation box , so he doesn’t overheat. Lewis and Phillip British Divers Marine Life Rescue Marine Mammal Medics check he is fit for travel . Then off to meet the vet….
After a long arduous journey back from the vet …the little grey seal pup Phillip Phollop flops down into the sea, stops to rest for a minute, then disappears back into his own watery environment!
Unbelievably adrenaline rushing viewing during a shark cage dive with the best cage diving company in the UK. Eleven shark divers set off from Newquay Harbour yesterday onbaord "Atlantic Diver" to do one of the" top 10 things to do in Newquay" or even the UK. Doubters of the thrill of UK cage diving should feast their eyes on this footage as we experienced 4 Blue sharks, all female ranging from sizes…2.5m, 3m 3.5m and 2m.
Excited Shark Divers met at our "Newquay Marine Centre" overlooking the Harbour, to learn about the plight, biology and behaviour of the blue sharks which only feed in our British Sea when the water temperature is 12 degrees plus.
We Sped 10 miles out to sea ,Aboard "Atlantic Diver" and set up the chum to attract the sharks to the cage.
After a two and a half hour wait…they appeared…thrashing around the chum …two female Blue Sharks . They gradually grew in confidence and made repeated drives passed the (by now adrenalined) Shark Divers!!!
Another Shark rolled up , then another ….shark Fest!!!
you tube video here
All in all we enjoyed watching their amazing hunting and reasoning skills as they swam around the cage, chum bags and boat. All on board were totally blown away by their beauty, grace and stealth. These iconic creatures are being taken in their millions for their fins and meat…a top predator rapidly declining. The Uk has catch limits for many of our sharks but this is not the case in Europe, as a Shark Trust Trustee I am in support of TACs for europe as is applies here in the uk, which our fishermen adhere to.
Tourists in Newquay would never be treated to such an amazing spetacular display of nature as the blue sharks forage far offshore away from bathers and they are only accessable by boat. Historically these sharks were in plentiful supply and indeed we did used to angle for them but today we prefer to view them and encourage others to take care of our ocean and top predators by educating visiting wildlife tourists, as well as locals.
To Book These Cage Dives…please call Skipper Chris or Annabelle Lowe on
Unbelievably awesome Common Dolphin activity this week as we were recording cetacean for Whales and Dolphin Watching Week. We came across no fewer than six pods of Common Dolphins on one day alone , let alone Bottlenose Dolphins on two consecutive days complete with juveniles and Harbour porpoise. It was a great week until the british weather moved in but out there again today.
The dolphins were feeding on sand eels which were in turn feeding on phytoplankton which was trapped at the sea surface. The Dolphins were coraling the shoals up tightly at the surface by porpoising closely together …gathering the shoal , whilst others under the shoal blew air bubbles upwards to keep the fish from swimming down. Then annnd here come sthe amazing part ….the dolphins now having trapped the sand eels ata the surface Hydro Planed , beaks open wide and scooped the eels up in lines of ridgid backed sinchronised rows of dolphins. The spalsh they created doing this was phenominal.
We sat and watched at a distance for ages as they fed in a huge area around us.
Couldn’t resist posting this picture of Grey Seal called “Feathers/Shrek” eating a conger eel in Newquay Harbour today
Gone…totally content seal….got to just love these gorgeous seals…it was like watching somebody eating noodles.
In the backround the Newquay Fish Festival setting up is well underway.All starts down here on Friday 11th-13th…trips running as usual from our shark’s head booking kiosk..come on down and enjoy the fun.
We shall be helping at the Newquay Marine Group stand on the Beach.
there is an awesome program of fish and famous chefs, fishing talks, old newquay, food stalls….BOAT TRIPS and lots of Cornish Fishing Fun.
Fantastically calm conditions at sea yesterday enabled us to see hundreds of Common Dolphins and every sea bird around for miles ,as we powered out to deep ocean 20miles offshore. The shark cage was an easy slide in as the mill pond conditions continued throughout the stunning August day. Pod after pod of common dolphin fed alongside diving gannets until the trip became a dolphin not sharking trip. Juvenile and dolphin calves played inquisitively close to the cage until ushered by the adults to rejoin the pod. We watched and listened to the dolphins tail slap as they rounded up the fish in an amazing display of team work fishing. The team work continued aboard Atlantic Diver as would be shark divers Karen and James vied for top fishing position ( sorry Karen ,James won). despite copious oily chum and a slick to die for no shark was brave enough to show its face around the mass of dolphins. The spectacular show continued after we shut up shop and headed home as pod after pod still feeding leapt and porpoised out of the sea, with a few occassionally breaking the ranks to dance and play in our bow wave. Not exactly the choice of marine wildlife today but one of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever had at sea…thanks to the dolphins and our passengers who made the day such fun.
20th April ..Sun , sea and seals. A bunch of seal enthusiasts took to the high seas aboard Atlantic Diver on a stunningly hot April’s day to record seals along the spectacular North Cornwall coastline.
Male, female and some gorgeous hauled out juvenile grey seals were dotted about.
Two Cornish Choughs also flew Jurassic Park style across the rugged cliff tops.. Hurray! Our Cornish birds be back.
The first Basking Shark was sighted about 8 miles off Newquay this week, spotted by Daniel ..a Commercial Potter ( with thanks) feeding open mouthed at the surface. Other sightings have also been coming in as 1 in falmouth, 2 off Porth Kerris, 1 off Landsend and 2 in Lundy..the warmer weather has helped the Zooplankton to rise ,so the harmless plankton feeding sharks are feeding at surface. Today a happy angler also caught a very large Tope , weighing in at 22lbs and 1.8m in length. The male shark circled around the boat and entangled the anglers' lines, reminiscent of a scene from "Jaws", before being brought onboard "Atlantic Diver" to be measured and recorded for the Shark Trust and Substance. It was then very carefully released…keeping these sharks in a horizontal position helps to protect the soft internal organs so that a successfull release is possible. These sharks are known as the "Soup Fin" shark and don't eat people but instead eat fish, crustacean,endinderms and worms. They are usually bottom feeders. Our fishing and sea safaris are running daily aboard our two top, large catamarans. Mackerel are coming in well today.