Sadly high winds mean the Mermaid II is not always able to put to sea! This is doubly unfortunate as these rough conditions produce unique opportunities to see rare or seldom encountered wildlife that normally passes the UK miles off-shore to within sight of the Cornish headlands. Although these species would be fantastic to see from the boat the accompanying high-seas would make for a little excitement!
The next best thing is therefore to watch for these species from land and Mermaid Pleasure Trips are pleased to offer guided sea-watching excursions with our local expert guides. Strong winds at this time of year produce an amazing spectacle of 1000s of sea-birds passing off-shore; among the commoner – but still spectacular – British breeding Manx Shearwaters and Northern Gannets there is the chance to see exotic species from much further afield! These include Balearic Shearwater (IUCN red-list category – critically endangered ) of which a large proportion of the world population visit UK waters from late summer to winter from the western Mediterranean, Cory’s Shearwaters from the Azores and Madeira, and both Sooty and Great Shearwaters which breed in the South Atlantic! There is a good chance that many Arctic breeding species can also be seen such as Skuas, Auks, Terns and even the enigmatic Grey Phalarope and Sabine’s Gull. Sea-watching from headlands is also a good way to find other marine wildlife such as dolphins, seals, Basking Sharks (in years they are present) and Ocean Sunfish.
True- watching from a gale-lashed cliff is not as intimate as watching from a boat at close range, but the sheer numbers of birds involved and the possibility of finding the rarer species, can be really exciting. There are 2 main sites we will visit depending on weather conditions; Porthgwarra/ Gwennap Head if the winds are south to south-west, and Pendeen Watch if the winds veer west to north-west. In extremely strong north-westerlies we may try St Ives, or for those who prefer more comfortable conditions, Mousehole can sometimes be worth a visit in south- south-westerlies.
Participants will need to use their own transport, bring water-proof clothing (essential), at least some form of optical aid (binoculars, and if possible telescope), and something to sit on( sit-mat or folding chair). A fee of £10 per head will last you as long as you wish to stay but timings and sites can only be arranged by contacting Martin on 07875295457 the evening before each session as local weather reports are critically important! Good luck! And good sea-watching!!