Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sealing the deal around Puffin Island

And so, to the main reason for the visit last Monday to Beaumaris on Anglesey: a boat trip around Puffin Island. Back in the 1970s, the island was infested with rats. As a result, the seabird population was being decimated. Since then, the situation has been turned around. The rats were killed off (with 4 tonnes of poison), the birds have returned and there is a strong seal colony as well. No one is allowed on the island, therefore preventing damage to the site by both humans and their travelling rat companions.

We took the boat called the Island Princess from the pier. At £8.50 a ticket, I thought this was a fair price, unlike some of the astronomical ticket prices we found being charged for tourist rides on the holiday. The boat was open topped. The guide/captain/skipper had the fortunate combination of being informative and amusing.

The trip took about an hour and went anticlockwise around the island. On leaving Beaumaris, we had a fantastic view of the North Wales coast. In the distance was the Great Orme at Llandudno.

As we got closer to the island, the sound of the seabirds grew. Alas, we were missing the sound of the puffins. Though this is a major breeding site for them, it seems they had left for their annual migration in late July. Cormorants however were there in large numbers.

I hadn't seen seals in the wild in the UK before so seeing them on the rocks on Puffin Island was a first for me.

The rock layers were clearly visible.

The signal station, part of a chain that ran along the entire North Wales coast to Liverpool before the invention of the electronic telegraph. Messages were relayed by flag semaphore.

Black Point on Anglesey, opposite Puffin Island.

Back in Beaumaris, I spotted that the business that owns the Island Princess, Starida, also run other boats for sea fishing. It's something I would love to try but we didn't have time on this holiday to attempt to fulfill that ambition.

Final note to self after the Puffin Island trip: take a hat. I caught the sun quite a bit!

Lots more photos of the Puffin Island trip are on my Flickr site.

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