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Travelling from England to Channel Islands by boat

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Old Tuesday 24th December 2013, 15:22   #1
Earnest lad
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Travelling from England to Channel Islands by boat

Dear fellow forum members.
Does anyone please know anything about journeying from the south coast to maybe Jersey by boat and doing some seabird watching (or even cetacean watching) on the way.
Are any of the services available in particular suitable for this sort of activity and also what birds are likely to be seen.
I know some of the boats are very fast; perhaps too fast to see the seabirds , but is there a slower boat or boats that afford decent views. Does anyone have any good experiences on this trip.
Any advice would be appreciated thank you.
Ian
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Old Sunday 29th December 2013, 22:15   #2
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Hi Ian
Condor Ferries run the Commodore Clipper from Portsmouth to the islands which is a conventional slow ferry, you can find the timetable on the Condor website - seems to mainly depart Portsmouth at 09:00 getting into Jersey early evening.

Depending on the time of year the Channel can be pretty quiet for birds (I did many trips in the past and was disappointed with what I saw). However, in recent times numbers of Balearic Shearwaters seen in the Channel and around Jersey have increased so they would be a good possibility as would Storm Petrels in summer. Great Skuas can be seen just about year round in the Channel. Otherwise the most numerous bird species to be seen would be: Gannet, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Razorbill and various gulls.

It would appear that cetaceans numbers and variety are also increasing and there would be a reasonable chance of Bottlenose Dolphin, Harbour Porpoise and Minke Whale. Common Dolphins also occasionally get that far up Channel along with White-beaked Dolphin and if you get really lucky Humpback Whale.

Not sure what the viewing places are like on the Clipper (photo attached) I suspect you won't be allowed on the very upper deck aft of the bridge but could be wrong, so viewing would be from on the decks around the lifeboats - probably giving views similar to any other ferry.

MARINElife http://www.marine-life.org.uk/ will be starting monthly surveys on this route this year so we'll have a much better idea of what can be seen in a few months time!

Cheers

Peter
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Old Tuesday 31st December 2013, 13:47   #3
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Marinelife have added a few routes recently. I'm due to survey Weymouth to Jersey in February with them.
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Old Thursday 30th January 2014, 17:07   #4
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Dear Peter and Peter
I am most grateful for this information. The balearic shearwater would be a good one to see, as would the storm petrel.
As for cetaceans, I havent much knowledge of these. However the ones mentioned - it would be delightful to see them.
Should the fruits of your studies with marine life in regard to this area be available and you are able to post to this thread then I would truly be grateful please
Ian
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Old Thursday 30th January 2014, 17:14   #5
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Hello Ian,
Marinelife's sightings page has a link to "Weymouth-Jersey"

http://www.marine-life.org.uk/sightings

Just the one survey so far,
Peter
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Old Thursday 27th February 2014, 18:06   #6
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I'm back from the February survey, details below:

http://www.marine-life.org.uk/weymou...sey/2014/02/16

A good day, with quite a few birds around the ports, and Harbour Porpoise the highlight. The ship really does motor though, so sightings in mid-channel were challenging..
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Old Friday 28th February 2014, 10:44   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter.jones View Post
I'm back from the February survey, details below:

http://www.marine-life.org.uk/weymou...sey/2014/02/16

A good day, with quite a few birds around the ports, and Harbour Porpoise the highlight. The ship really does motor though, so sightings in mid-channel were challenging..
I doubt the fast catamarans, such as the Condor Vitesse, are the best ships to sea watch from. You had access to the bridge for your survey, which the general birding public won't have, I'm not sure that the fast ferries have any outside deck space (if they're like the similar ones that used to operate from Dover to Boulogne in the 90s, then they won't have) and they are much faster than a conventional ship, as you say.
Personally, if I was going to do any sea watching on a cross-Channel route, I'd go on a conventional ferry such as Commodore Clipper, mentioned above, from Portsmouth. The pace is slower and she'll have outside deck space, more suitable for viewing and photography.
That said, it looks like you still had a good day.
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Old Friday 28th February 2014, 11:15   #8
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The Vitesse has outside deck access. Agree about the Clipper too.
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Old Monday 23rd June 2014, 08:59   #9
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jersey channel boat sightings

Dear all
Thanks for your kind replies, which were very informative
Best wishes
Ian
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Old Monday 23rd June 2014, 10:05   #10
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You've just reminded me, Condor Ferries / Marinelife are doing some sort of Wildlife watch on board for some of their sailings. Details below:

http://www.condorferries.co.uk/day-t...life-day-trips

May be useful,
Peter
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Old Tuesday 15th July 2014, 23:06   #11
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I know it's not quite the same thing, but a couple of months ago in the Travel section of the Sunday Times there was an article about sea kayaking. Might be of interest, you never know...........http://www.seakayakingcornwall.com/about-skc
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