Thursday 10 January 2019

last weeks of the 2018 on Skomer

It is quite astonishing how time slows down when you are only really focused on what's happening right here, right now and when the days are longer and how it changes when you need to think/plan/organise your next steps in order to leave the island as secured, as clean and as prepared for the 2019 as possible. It is also extremely important to remember about all the things that need to be done over winter and have a decent plan made for the next year. All those include: research projects, our new projects, management plan (monitoring of seabirds, breeding birds, other wildlife, vegetation etc), infrastructure plans, budgeting, volunteers tasks/projects planning, things to buy, day visitors trips, working hours, administration, communication, any training, safety checks, report writing, any corrections, data management, emergency procedures and many more. The list is very long.
Saying that, the more you start planning and thinking ahead you notice that the time is slipping away, it disappears, and time is energy. Therefore, the key to be able to tackle all those above and to be able to enjoy the work you do is to be in the present moment. Yes, planning is important but that can be done whilst you are enjoying yourself and you may even notice that suddenly you've got it all under control because time has surprisingly slowed down again for you. Some will say, oh hey but time is always the same, can't speed it up and can't slow it down. Is it though? Ha, time is relative. I am pretty sure that our life experiences and attitude towards it can perfectly reflect how time really does ''change''.
This is how the 3 months on Skomer were like, first month almost felt like forever. There was so much to absorb and to learn that there was absolutely no time to think about what comes next or about future plans. It was difficult at times but that focus on the now is the key to happiness and fulfillment.
October seemed like a mix of the two, there were days which lasted for a veeery long time and days that felt like hours have passed.
November was like a ride on roller coaster! Days were much shorter and colder, there still were many tasks that needed to be either started for 2019 or completed before we left the island.

Both Sarah and Sarah left towards the end of October and then there were four of us. We stayed until the 23rd of November and pretty much until mid December in Pembrokeshire. We were warmly welcomed by our local and not so very local friends at their houses and we are very grateful for that.

Sarah J and Sarah K leaving Skomer (October) to be back in 2019

Bee waving us goodbye  ;-)

Arrival to mainland (November)

And now Christmas has already passed and we are into a new year, which is very exciting! We hope that 2019 is going to bring us a lot of fun, many great achievements on the island, friendships and that we will be able to continue a great work of many wardens before us.

I am trying to reflect on 2018 and all I can think of is that it is not the goal we are so badly working to achieve, it is the journey, everything we go through in order to reach the destiny. This is the important part, because the moment of achievement is only temporary. We tend to remember more from the time, whether it's difficult or not on our way to accomplishment anyway. It is so important to try and enjoy the entire process of getting there, this is happiness.

And this is what we want to wish you for 2019, to enjoy the journey and every moment you live before the final destination, whatever it is.
We are looking forward to seeing you on Skomer later this year!

and a few words from Ed and Bee:

For Bee and I, the last few weeks and months on Skomer felt like the end of a chapter, with none of the planning or mentally preparing for next season that Sylwia and Nathan have been going through and surprisingly little reflection. Like Sylwia and Nathan we were simply living in the present, monitoring the seals, helping with shutting the island down and trying to stay warm and dry. We really hope that our planning and hard work over the last six years has left the island in a good state. It feels great to have (just about) seen the completion of the new tractor shed at the Farm as well as a new water tank in the garden there. Thanks to everyone who has helped with either project, be it helping on work parties or simply helping with organising and logistics.
Skomer is a massive operation really and is only going to get bigger. Managing overnight guests, commercial operators and day trippers requires a huge amount of work and cooperation and we are proud of the way we have improved the ticketing system so that it works as well as possible. We are also very happy to have worked with Chrissie and Gary at Lockley Lodge and Dale Sailing without whome the system would never run so smoothly and professionally. The work of the Visitor Officer has also helped to manage the system for wildlife and people as well as possible.   
On top of that, the islands wildlife is the top priority and the monitoring and research work that goes on is also paramount. What a brilliant place for wildlife Skomer is.
My (wildlife) highlights over the last six years have been four harriers in a single season in 2013, counting seabirds in June, the autumn colours and finally (on my last evening on the island this year) a bumper roost of Hen Harriers (7 ringtails and an adult male).