Ilfracombe - Padstow, 15/6/04
I've been to a lot of places along this bit of coast but mostly from the land. This was the first time I'd been past Hartland Point on a boat and the scenery was pretty amazing. We didn't get as close to Tintagel as I would've liked but it was still visible.
The main thing I remember from the trip was the Manx Shearwaters. There were literally thousands of these seabirds today. They were usually resting on the sea in groups of 1-300. If the boat came too near, first one or two, then more would pull themselves into the air, triggering other birds to rise as they flew past. Soon the whole flock would be wheeling and skimming over the sea..
Other highlights were Gannets diving, a couple of Porpoises swimming past, and my first ever sighting of a Basking Shark (cool!).
The entrance to the Camel Estuary is really spectacular. The line of cliffs is broken by this river mouth, perhaps a mile wide. It's guarded by various small islands, each with seabird colonies. Once past this wall the character changes: sandy coves, azure water, dunes, little villages dotted up the estuary. A most pleasing juxtaposition (as my old maths teacher might say!)
After a four hour cruise, we had about an hour in Padstow and then it was time to head back. The return journey was a bit cloudier which led to some interesting weather effects. The series of photos mirage1.jpg, mirage2.jpg, and mirage3.jpg show what I think most have been a mirage. They show a chunk of land missing from the north end of Lundy Island.