Monday, 27 May 2013

From warm and sunny to wrapping up once again…

A blustery Bank Holiday:
Following the small heat wave here yesterday which saw three hundred day trippers coming over to enjoy the birds and bluebells, we awoke this morning to another wet and blustery day and the need for boots and waterproofs again. Winds of 35 knots and above are producing spectacular seas around the island, but mean unfortunately that day trips are not possible today.

Despite the poor weather, there is still plenty to do to keep the island running smoothly. We’re having a bash at a couple of indoor practical tasks, ably assisted by yet another set of hard working and talented short term volunteers. Last week’s volunteers left us on Saturday, and we’d like to thank them for all their efforts and DIY work around the buildings during the windy weather; all your work and enthusiasm to get stuck in was much appreciated.

Wet and windy weather today means great conditions for seeing Manx Shearwaters at their most spectacular. Those braving the elements have been rewarded with impressive sights of thousands of these beautiful birds “shearing” over the waves offshore from the island. It’s very exciting and thoroughly enjoyable to be out there enjoying such a magnificent sight. Surely there must be some other interesting birds out there as well… maybe even some Skuas? Must have another look this afternoon!

The Skomer Tractor:

Important practical island news is that our trusty New Holland tractor is now back up and running. All staff and volunteers are greatly relieved, as although we started the season enjoying the challenge, the novelty of using wheelbarrows was starting to wear a bit thin! We look forward to meeting all visitors from now on with the tractor.

And to finish… a belated tale of a visiting sailing vessel:

Keewaydin anchored in North Haven
A couple of weeks ago, the afternoon was drawing to a close and we were preparing to see the last day visitors safely off the island, when a beautiful sailing vessel entered North Haven under sail and anchored over near Rye Rocks. The crew came ashore for a look around the island, and through talking to them and doing some research online it came to light what an amazing life she has had.

Named “Keewaydin”, registered in Lowestoft with the registration of LT1192, she was built in Rye as a Herring Drifter in 1913 (one of the last few sailing trawlers built at a time when steam drifters were taking over from sail), making her one-hundred years old this year.

Keewaydin preparing for a short evening voyage to Ramsey Island
She fished the North Sea until 1937 when she went to the Baltic to transport cargo. She served in both World Wars, carrying refugees from Denmark to neutral Sweden, and in one trip carried a total of 420 commandos.

She was converted to a yacht in 1963, and in 1972 she completed a full globe circumnavigation in the first Whitbread Round The World Race. She was rescued from Malta by the Welch family in 1997, sailed to Brixham and underwent extensive refurbishment. She now sails out of Falmouth offering people the chance to experience life at sea on a traditional vessel.

Yet another example showing what a tremendous place Skomer Island is, as you never know what to expect, but guaranteed there will be something of interest or beauty to enjoy. We look forward to welcoming all guests and day visitors as soon as the wind eases.

Will (Hostel Warden)






1 comment:

  1. What an astonishing life history for a boat! A lovely sight in North Haven, too.