We had wanted to go back on Skomer since May, to see the Puffins feeding their young with Sand Eels, it is an amazing sight to see and Mike and I wanted to capture it on film. So knowing that there was only about 2 weeks left before the summer school holidays (which is when the Puffins leave the island, apparently they know when the school holidays are…?), we planned to go over on our next 2 days off. Pam and John were having work done on their house and we all decided that the Wednesday would be perfect as the builders were laying the concrete flooring and wanted them out the house.
We always knew that we would need to get to Marloes early, so at 6am John and Pam duly turned up at site to collect us. The day, shall we say was a little under the weather…. it was pouring with rain and the dark skies did nothing to our spirits of getting up so early. We did contemplate whether or not to go but knew this was the last chance (besides they couldn’t stay in their house..).
Picnics packed we left site and made our way to Marloes, when we got there (7:00am) we were the 2nd in the car park!!! Everyone else presumably taking note of the miserable weather. You cannot book the little ferry across and have to turn up on speck which always means an early start, so the boys went down to the booking office and waited in line (5 people) for it to open, whilst Pam and I caught up on some sleep. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
At 8am, we both woke up and thought we would take over the waiting in line duty, so Pam went down to the lads, I went back to sleep. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
They all came back about 8:45am proudly waving 4 tickets and saying that we were on the first boat over to the island. Looking around the car park it was hard to imagine there would be another boat load anyway. The rain was falling heavier now, so we decided to have the breakfast that we had forgone back at site. So steaming hot coffee from the flask and lovely croissants were the order of the day.
Fully refreshed we donned our walking boots, rain jackets, hats, etc and wandered down to the shore. Where we waited for the 10:30am boat. The crossing although very wet was calm and we made it to the island with no problems.
After listening to the warden explaining the usual safety and rules of the island it was time to see the Puffins. The weather was really drawing in now, and we were surrounded in mist and murk…. We had decided that we wouldn’t walk around the island but would just go see the puffins at the Wick. So making our way through the paths we walked to where the Puffins are most easily seen and photographed. The island is covered with yellow Rag-Wort, a plant which on site we discourage and try and pull up as soon as it is discovered, but here on Skomer it is everywhere. The yellow is amazing and hurts the eyes even on the dullest of days. Then we noticed that there were thousands of caterpillars on the stems, and like locusts they eat the Rag-Wort. These caterpillars will turn into the cinnabar moth. When I spoke to one of the wardens about the caterpillars she said that they have swarmed on the island this year and will decimate the Rag-Wort, it was agreed that there were more this year than they had ever seen.
We watched the puffins for ages alongside the professional and amateur photographers that had stayed on the island for a course. Watching the puffins strut their stuff and showing off their catch. Feeding their young and generally doing ‘puffinny’ things.
After about an hour we were getting cold and were all soaked through, so we decided to go to the lodge where we could eat our picnic, the forecast was that it would get drier by about 2pm. So we made our way back through the middle of the island, the campion was still holding on in places but nothing to suggest the colour in May. The ferns were hip high and the grasses were dripping with rain but it was still a wonderful walk.
After lunch the skies had lightened a little and stamp size bits of blue sky appeared breaking up the grey and mist. We decided to wander back to The Wick and watch the puffins again.
I am making one of the videos to place in here but haven’t as yet finished it but when I do I will pop back and edit the post.
We caught the 3:30pm ferry back to Marloes and changed our walking boots and made our way to Little Haven, by which time the sun was shining and blue skies returned.
We all had a great meal, lots of laughs and had made more memories today again. What a lovely way to spend a day off.