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All at Sea - Peter Stickler

Blog post   •   Sep 03, 2010 17:23 BST

Atlantic Contrasts – August 7th – 22nd

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Nature manages to put on quite a show, with a flight of fulmars always effortlessly gliding and mesmerising. A bit beyond the shearwaters glide, no jealousy when a fellow rambler reported seeing sooty, greater and a manx all in the same field of view,

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I think it was better to see them on their own! It was as if I was seeing the whole population of greater shearwaters on their journey from Tristan da Cunha in the South to up here in the North Atlantic. Young birds sitting in the water and flapping off, as the ship bore down on them. Puffins floating on the water. As Rockall reared above the horizon we saw gannets of all ages. It was brilliant.

Blackwatch 022Then there were the whales – a spout in the distance – they are coming closer, sometimes to dive before a good view, but some just remain on the surface as we steam by. Minkie, pilot and sperm whale all put in an appearance. I saw a double blow and a blue whale – but maybe wishful thinkingBlackwatch 006Blackwatch 016


A flash of splashing, hurtling towards the ship, mostly common dolphin but arguments raged as to what we had actually seen – but what a sight. Not every day do you sit, having a meal and dolphins or indeed whales parade by your window.

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With so many eyes scanning the waters, even if you are not a good spotter, you will see something. With so many keen naturalists, both in the Ramblers group, and on the ship, never too much of a problem deciding upon a positive identification, or chat about what might be seen or the habits of what you do see.

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So many other things to do, swim, walk around the deck or consult The Daily Times for details of lectures, recital details or a deck game –  plus, of course, briefings from Norman our Ramblers Leader – there is something to do at any time. Time is, of course, kept by the regular and ample provision of food.

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