Tuesday, 7 August 2007

No Sign Of The Shark

We had a great week down in Cornwall, luckily picking the best week of the year so far weather-wise.

We packed loads into our seven days. Probably our favourite "day out" was a boat trip from St. Ives harbour to Seal Island a few miles down the coast. Just getting aboard was an adventure in itself, with the tide going out we had to be rowed out to meet our boat in a small rowing boat. Twelve of us finally clambered aboard to join the skipper and off we went . There was plenty of bravado regarding the media's favourite summer silly story beforehand, but strangely things went rather quiet as we crossed the bay where the great white had allegedly been filmed. Suddenly a large fin was spotted in the water about 20yards from our boat. Whatever it was was huge, about 4ft between dorsal fin and tail, but it soon became obvious it was no shark, the fin was far too floppy. The skipper later confirmed it to be a sunfish.

Advertised as a "see the seals" trip I fully expected a few indistinct blobs in the distance. I was happy to be proved wrong. Approaching the island a large seal (I'd guess at 8-9ft long) was spotted basking on a rock. As we came closer it soon became apparent that it wasn't alone, around 30 or 40 huge seals (I had no idea they were so big) were serenely sunning themselves only 20 ft or so from our boat. Then, to everyone's surprise , out swam Alfie. Alfie is the only one of the group (what is the collective noun for seals ?) happy to approach the boats . It is thought he may have been injured and looked after at one of the local seal sanctuaries before being released back into the wild, hence his lack of fear of humans. He swam right out to our boat and one by one stared each and everyone of us in the eye. He clearly knew that there would be a few fish coming his way and all the kids aboard took turns throwing them out for him to dive for and basically show off to his latest audience.

This was definitely one of the highlights of our holiday - the boat trip itself was well worth the money, but seeing such a creature up close in it's natural habitat was a sight we''ll never forget. If you fancy meeting Alfie look out for the touts around St. Ives harbour - we went with Sea Horse boat trips but there may well be others. Apparently the best time to view the seals is as the tide is on it's way out exposing the rocks. We were lucky, we timed it right purely by chance but it may be worth checking the tide times to avoid disappointment.

My video of Alfie

1 comment:

  1. Collective Noun for Seal - Pod or Herd!




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