17 Aug 2011

Scilly's Pelagics. Sunday. Day 3.

Up early again and raring to go I received a phone call from Jan with some very bad news. Molly had had a stroke. Joe was on his way back from York but it looked as if this was finally the end of the road for the poor old girl. With a heavy heart I couldn't join in the banter around the tents and even considered not going on the days trip. Jase gave me a typically blunt talking to and I reluctantly decided to go. There was nothing  I could do to from the Scilly's and Jan didn't think she was going to last more than a few hours. She was just waiting for Joe to arrive before calling the vet. Devastating news and my heart really wasn't in it.

The weather was perfect for holidaying but not so good for the birds. Drifting and chumming produced very little - not even a European Storm Petrel but we did get good views of a marauding Bonxie and Joe took the opportunity to set out some shark lines in the hope of catching some Blue Sharks for tagging and releasing.

A large Blue Shark was seen around the boat and we caught a tiddler. Just as we were about to give up drifting and chumming and head towards a distant trawler in the hope of finding more birds the big one took the bait and after a monumental struggle was landed and found to be 8ft long and in excess of 140 lbs. Sinking its teeth in to the Sapphires wood work it wasn't in any mood to let got and had to be man -handled back in to the sea.

It took an hour or so to reach the trawler and even from a distance we could see there were plenty of birds including this gull trying to swallow a Gurnard.

By now the weather was really hotting up and layers were being stripped off. The first good bird we saw was a Sooty Shearwater sat on the sea so Joe stopped the boat and drifted closer to allow us all to get a closer look.

Great stuff and it got better. A Great Shearwater appeared and had obviously applied for and got an equity card  as it gave a show none of us will forget.

Heading for St Mary's my phone bleeped. I'd left it on to receive messages from home but out at sea there's no reception. We must have gone through a small area of reception as it was a message from Joe to say Molly had passed away peacefully at 10.58. Just as I was reading this sad message  the shout went up 'Dolphins' and a pod of around 20 -30 of these amazing cetaceans frolicked in the bow wave for a good 30 minutes. I couldn't bring myself to photograph them but sat watching them in the sunshine reflecting on a great loss and feeling upset that Jan had had to deal with the situation alone.

 Bob Flood proving he could probaalby sleep on a washing line.

Chris Griffin and Jase Atkinson. Jase telling me how many Wilson's we'd seen Friday night.

On reaching shire my first priority was to ring home.

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