Destination Skomer Island, to view the puffins. We couldn't have picked a more perfect day. It made the wait for tickets down at the cove all the more tolerable.
This is the scene that met us when we arrived at 7:30 am hoping to get on the first ferry at 9:30am. Knowing full well that each trip across to the island would only take 50 people, it seemed pretty unlikely that we would be getting on that first ferry. By the time our turn for tickets came we found ourselves with tickets for the second ferry of the day at 10am. (There is a limit to the numbers of people they allow on the island to protect the nesting birds.) In the meantime we took a hike across the headland.
Here's our boat arriving. Make no mistake fitting 50 people onto this boat was a squash. As we neared the island we started to see puffins flying out to catch the small eels and fish they feed to their waiting young.
Taking the steps up to the cliff top where we were greeted by representative of the Wildlife Trust who briefed us on what to expect, where to go and what to see.
We knew we had arrived at the spot when we saw this group ahead. The puffins were nesting in holes in the ground just above the edge of the cliff.
It was so easy to get close-up photographs of them. They were very willing subjects only keeping a watchful eye out for the Great Black-backed gulls who would really like to make a meal out of them. We also saw nesting Razorbills, Fulmars and Kittiwakes. No Manx Shearwaters. They were safe in their burrows. The Shearwaters ride the ocean winds all day, only coming ashore under the safety cloak of night. They are unable to walk well, crash landing on the ground, and must hurry to their burrow to avoid becoming the meal of the marauding black backed gulls. Moonlit nights are a problem for them and we saw much evidence of those who had not been so lucky to make it back to the nest.
Our visit was short but we saw what we came to see. Now we must get back tot he mainland and get on the road to Worcester. We had dinner plans with the friends with whom we were staying.