Fantastic Year For Scillonian III Wildlife Spotting After Slow Start To Season

rissos dolphinThis year has been one of the best ever for spotting wildlife from the deck of the Scillonian III ferry.

That’s the view of wildlife expert Paul Semmens.

Twice a week from April to the end of October, Paul makes the journey from Penzance to St Mary’s recording the marine life that he sees.

Over the past five years he’s built a valuable database charting the ups and downs of animals such as dolphins, whales, basking sharks and sunfish.

Paul says this year he’s seen over 1,400 common dolphins, a massive number, including 400 he spotted on a single day trip.

That’s despite a poor start to the season where Paul says there was nothing to see for days on end.

He says passengers were almost guaranteed a glimpse of a dolphin during August, September and October.

He thinks they’ve been attracted by increased numbers of pilchards and herring in the waters around Scilly.

Paul also saw a leatherback turtle, although it dived too quickly to get a photo.

Another was spotted days later by the crew while Paul wasn’t on board.

Numbers of ocean sunfish have also been good this year.

But sightings of basking sharks are well down on previous years, probably due to the colder waters this year, and minky whales have also been scarce.

Paul says that even though he makes the journey so many times, he never gets bored.

And he says you can feel the excitement among the passengers when a call goes out that dolphins are swimming around the ship.

Paul says there are a dedicated group of travellers who even books their journey’s to coincide with the time he’s on the ship.

And for next year, Paul’s hoping to see a killer whale.

He spotted one in the distance seven years ago, but would love to get a photo.