8 am departure from St. Ives harbour. Destination Sennen Cove, twenty miles down the coast. Becky and Cush were picking me up at the other end so I didn’t have to work out how to do the shuttle (which would have gone badly wrong). Thanks to them.
The most committing paddle in SW England, with nowhere to land for fifteen miles. But today it was about as calm as it could be with no wind and small swell, so it was completely and utterly relaxing. Loads of seals:
And some BIG scenery, including England’s only Cape. Cape Cornwall
I did actually find a tiny beach on which I supped coffee and crunched a custard cream (or two).
The old Tin Mining Engine Houses of Levant mines draw the eye.
As do the chimneys:
There were just a few pairs of Guillemots and Razorbills scattered about on the cliffs, and I passed a couple of Mediterranean Gulls (one of which was ringed) and saw three Choughs fly along the cliffs with their animated calls.
Under the surface this Compass Jellyfish was accompanied by a little fish that sought refuge amongst the jelly’s long stinging tentacles.
I wasn’t expecting to see dolphins because I was following the coast fairly closely, but as I rounded Cape Cornwall I couldn’t resist the temptation to paddle around the Brison’s rocks half-a-mile offshore, especially as the surface conditions were so benign. I could then stay well out to sea for the remaining three miles to Sennen Cove.
I could not believe my luck when, far ahead, I saw a couple of big fins slowly slicing across the surface. My first thought was basking shark, but as I drew closer they were clearly big dolphins…probably Bottlenose. I was absolutely thrilled to see one was almost completely white….Rissos Dolphins! A pod of about eight.
I cautiously approached and was rather surprised at the bulk of these dolphins, roughly four times the weight of the more familiar (to me) Common Dolphins and up to fourteen foot long. Some have very long thin dorsal fins.
I am usually thrilled to see a pair of Puffins alone. But to have two Puffins and two Risso’s dolphins in the same image is a first for me!
This was an exceptional encounter on an exceptionally calm day. There are not many times you can loaf about in such a relaxed manner a mile off Land’s End. Over the course of about an hour the Risso’s Dolphins ran through just about their entire repertoire: logging at the surface staring at me, spyhopping, clapping (lying on their backs just under the surface and clapping their pectoral fins together), breaching and lobtailing.
I felt very sheepish when my phone rang during the lobtailing. It’s as bad as it going off during the cinema. Apologies to the dolphin.
One thing I wasn’t expecting was for them to swim over and have a look at me. I know that Risso’s are quite shy and don’t usually approach boats, unlike most other dolphin species. However I was in for a bit of a surprise.
Wow, Right up there with my best ever cetacean-from-kayak encounters. If you factor in the beautiful sunshine, windless conditions, azure sea, crystal clear water and beautiful Cornish coast….it probably WAS the best ever.