Survey Ship Stopped…By Dolphins

CEFAS EndeavourAn environmental survey in the waters around Scilly was delayed yesterday when some of the sealife it is designed to protect got in the way.

For the past three days, the Lowestoft based CEFAS Endeavour has been using sensitive multibeam sonar to create a 3D map of the seabed around the islands for Defra.

But yesterday, work was held up when a pod of around 60 dolphins moved in, north of St Martin’s.

It meant a delay for the fifteen scientists on board, who have been taking measurements at regular intervals so the conditions underwater can be monitored for any damage from natural phenomena like storms or human activities like fishing.

The major project used the services of two of Scilly’s pilots, Dale Clark and Steve Hicks, who worked six-hour shifts overnight.

Dale says the dolphins ruined hours of work because they interfere with the sensitive kit. And he says they refused to “clear off” and let the scientists get on with their work!

As well as the survey off St Martin’s yesterday, the ship also covered an area south of St Mary’s on Tuesday. In addition to mapping the seabed, the scientists on board took samples and detailed photos of the seabed.