Saturday, 16 June 2012

Volunteer experience; 2nd-9th June 2012

Oh Dear, the weather in Pembrokeshire knows how to show who’s boss.  On Saturday the Dale Princess managed to do one run to deliver volunteers and overnighters and collect volunteers and visitors. There was torrential rain in the evening which soaked the burrows and left the soil damp and fragile.
Stormy weather at The Wick - Jonathan Parsons

On Sunday the island became instant-soup-free when two volunteers were asked to sort out the Emergency Food store and the volunteers chucked old herbs and spices, myriad opened packets of pasta, soggy stock cubes, rock-hard bags of sugar, lumpy cocoa powder and what seemed like a ton of out-of-date skimmed milk powder.

On Monday six boat-loads of visitors arrived and left.  On Tuesday 87 visitors came and went, and most of them must have regretted their visit as they were soaked.

Welcoming visitors to Skomer - Sally Harris
Apart from a short shower in the morning, Wednesday was a glorious day.  Six boats and happy visitors. In the evening Chris Taylor took a turn around a flat calm North Haven in his yellow kayak accompanied by a young female seal which nudged his paddle and swum sinuously around his craft.  Two overnighters identified a Bar-tailed Godwit by the track and when the message spread everybody trotted down the track to view this comparative rarity.  Supper was a Pot-luck affair in the shelter with contributions from everybody, topped off by a magnificent cake studded with chunks of Dairy Milk from Tom the Guillimot researcher.

Muddy Puffins busy in the wind and rain - Sally Harris
Thursday was a terrible day; very high winds and rain and no boats.  The weather cleared in the afternoon and at the Wick the puffins were doing puffin-y things.  Socialising and gathering new bedding for their burrows and bringing in sand eels.  Two women chatting there had puffins walking confidently within inches of their feet as they went about their business.  There was an inaccurate sponge Birthday cake for tea filled with yummy chocolate crème patisserie.
Lots of minor but important tasks are carried out when the island is closed; mending signs, cutting back vegetation, unblocking u-bends, mending door handles, putting up shelves; the list is endless.

Cutting back vegetation - Sonia Gadd

Friday was dry, but very windy, so no boats again.  The overnighters who came for one or two nights were now on their third day, and have had a rummage in the Emergency Food Store for provisions.  Two of the volunteers went down to the Warden’s House to continue transcribing 50-year old journals into the computer.  In May 1961 it was observed in Welsh Way that the Jackdaws were pulling tufts of hair from Prince (the horse) for nesting material.  One day the Warden, David Saunders, was vexed to arrive in Martins Haven after the bread van had gone, but they caught it a few days later.  And, oh yes, the weather was vile 50 years ago too!

Another Skomer feast! - Sarah Harris
On Friday evening there was a Feast in the shelter for 20 people, with contributions from every kitchen on the island.  The evening ended with a delicious lemon drizzle cake from Holly.

Sadly Saturday was time to go home. There was a swell but boats were running.  Goodbye Skomer, hope to see you soon!

Pris Stewart
Skomer Volunteer

1 comment:

  1. Weather was fine when I visited on Wednesday. Came across a Manx Shearwater in daylight. How unusual is this? Pictures on my blog.