Summer Walk No 5, Farne Islands Sunset Cruise, Seahouses - Tuesday 5th July 2016.


On Tuesday 5th July 2016 Morpeth Camera Club members met at Seahouses harbour for a boat trip out to the
Farne Islands. The club had decided to try the sunset cruise with a tour of the islands when it's peaceful and
quiet, as during the breeding season you get to see more on the evening cruise than you do during the day as
the birds start to settle for the night. We boarded the Serenity II, a purpose built catamaran that is ideal for
photographers as its design allows for a 360 degree platform with enhanced stability and the ability to get very
close to the rocks and cliff faces.
Leaving the calm of the harbour at 7pm, we headed out to sea in a slight swell with fingers crossed for a fine
night in the hope of catching an evening sunset over Bamburgh Castle from the seaward side.
The Farne islands lie between one and a half miles and four miles off the Northumberland coast and we were
soon approaching the seabird colonies with our first views of Guillemots followed by Puffins flying past with
sand eels in their beaks. With amazing boat handling skills, the skipper then manoeuvred our vessel under
cliffs, into gullies and coves, within touching distance of the rocks as he found us the most amazing angles to
get close up images of the thousands of seabirds.
Razorbills, Cormorants, Terns, Eider ducks, Shag, Kittiwakes, the list was endless as they appeared in front of
us and several times we were able to witness the unique behaviour of ' jumplings '. These are baby Guillemots
and are nicknamed jumplings as in a leap of faith they jump off the cliff faces and head out to sea with their
fathers for the first time. These juveniles are unable to fly so it is literally sink or swim.
The islands are also the home to one of the largest colonies of Grey Seal and again we were able to photograph
and see them at very close quarters as they sat on rocks or dived into the water and swam next to the boat.
Every island had a different shape or terrain and together with the buildings and lighthouses there was so much
to take in and enjoy as the skipper explained the nature, history and superstitions of the area.
Over two hours had passed in no time and the weather had held, what had started out as a forecasted cloudy,
dull and rain threatened evening had turned into a fine and dry night and as we headed back to Seahouses we
were rewarded with our sunset over Bamburgh Castle.
A big thank you to those who attended and look forward to seeing the images from an excellent trip.
                                                                                                                                     Davy Bolam.